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Jebel Hatta: Preps don't come much tougher
by Franco Raimondi ( / Globeform ()
Last update: 2009-03-12 17:31:02 (First published: 2009-03-04 08:09:12 )

Two top class milers are set to clash in the Jebel Hatta (G2), run over just short of 9 furlongs (1777m) on turf and is a final prep for the Dubai Duty Free (G1) over the same trip on World Cup night.

Two top class milers are set to clash in the Jebel Hatta (G2), run over just short of 9 furlongs (1777m) on turf and is a final prep for the Dubai Duty Free (G1) over the same trip on World Cup night.

Last year's Duty Free winner, the South African star Jay Peg, goes head to head with one of Japan's best runners, the brilliant filly Vodka. Also in the mix are the experienced traveller Balius and the rapidly improving Third Set.

This is shaping up to be the race of the night.


Nad Al Sheba Thursday 5 Mar 2009
1600m / 8fur / 3yo+ / $250,000

Top ranked horse on 100, with others ranked down in pounds
worse off according to GF ratings and weights (1 length = 2lb).
Horses presented with sire, best Globeform rating, last placings
(most recent first / 0 = worse than 9th) / trainer and jockey.

A “+” after the horse indicates improvement expected.

100 – VODKA (Tanino Gimlet) GF 122 / 3121 / K Sumii / Y Take
..95 – BALIUS (Mujahid) GF 116 / 2132 / A bin Huzaim / W Supple
..94 – JAY PEG (Camden Park) GF 120 / 4112 / H Brown / W Marwing
..91 – TAM LIN (Selkirk) GF 115 / 7192 / S bin Suroor / L Dettori
..91 – VERTIGINEUX (Nombre Premier) GF 112 / 2311 / C Dufreche / P Sogorb
..91 – BLUE KSAR (Anabaa) GF 112 / 3353 / E Charpy / T O’Shea
..90 – THIRD SET (Royal Applause) GF 111 / 2103 / M bin Shayfa / A Ajtebi
..90 – STRATEGIC NEWS (Strategic) GF 111 / 2190 / H Brown / R Moore
..89 – IMBOGNI (Russian Revival) GF 113 / 4252 / M de Kock / K Shea
..88 – BIARRITZ (Count Dubois) GF 109 / 8230 / M de Kock / B Faydherbe
..88 – MASHAAHED (In The Wings) GF 109 / 6441 / E Charpy / R Hills
..87 – RUSSIAN SAGE (Jallad) GF 113 / 2712 / M de Kock / J Murtagh
..87 – VALEDICTUM (Umatilla) GF 108 / 1640 / D O’Brien / T Durcan
..87 – SEIHALI (Alzao) GF 108 / 5853 / D Selvaratnam / W Buick
..85 – PALLODIO (Medecis) GF 106 / 9112 / D Watson / A Garcia
..82 – WORLD RULER (Dansili) GF 106 / 6534 / D Watson / D O’Donoghue


..84 – SWOP (Shinko Forest) GF 105 / 1403 / L Cumani / tba
..81 – FURNACE (Green Desert) GF 102 / 1726 / M bin Shayfa / tba
..81 – KACHGAI (Kaldounevees) GF 102 / 2101 / L U Grajales / tba
..79 – HELLO MORNING (Poliglote) GF 100 / 0746 / E Charpy / tba

Jay Peg, winner of the Dubai Duty Free (G1) last year, will get a lot of attention, and when on song this South African champion is hard to beat. He ran below form on his seasonal debut here a few weeks ago but that was with top weight in a mile handicap, and no more than a starting point to the new season. Expect him to come much better prepared this time. Jay Peg beat Darjina, Archipenko, Vodka and Finceal Beo in a close finish to the Duty Free 13 months ago. He confirmed the form by landing the Singapore International Cup (G1) at Kranji in May, and Jay Peg is a proper Group 1 horse. He stays 1 ¼ miles and would not mind a strong pace.

What distance is preferable for Vodka, the Japanese challenger, is not so easy to say. This mare has been successful at G1 level over eight, ten and twelve furlongs in Japan and she is very game and consistent. Vodka has improved since last year and she must be taken seriously. She was particularly impressive when slamming Armada (a top miler from Hong Kong) in the prestigious Yasuda Kinen (G1) over a mile at Tokyo Racecourse last June, and she beat the four-time G1 winner Daiwa Scarlet by a nose in the Tenno Sho Autumn (G1) over 10 furlongs at the same venue in November. These are two of the very best races in Japan. Add in results like a win against the boys in the Japanese Derby (G1) back in 2007, and a game third to Screen Hero in last year’s Japan Cup (G1), and you will agree that Vodka is a lady with first rate credentials.

Smart runners will be opposing Jay Peg and Vodka, but realistically there should be only one possible danger, namely Balius, who was runner-up to Eagle Mountain in last year’s Hong Kong Cup (G1) at Sha Tin. This ex-French runner was also second to Archipenko in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) in Hong Kong last April, and he finished third to Jay Peg in the Singapore International (G1) the following month, so one can safely say he has been keeping good company. He has been especially prepared for an international spring campaign this year, beginning here, leading on to the Duty Free and the two races mentioned above. 1777 metres is a bit on the sharp side for him, and he can only be our third choice in this Jebel Hatta.

If you are looking for a longshot, Third Set could be a good alternative. His form is on an upward curve, with one good win at the Carnival, and an even better effort when second to Silver Mist in the Al Rashidiya (G3), where Kirklees finished third.




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