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Meydan Classic: Young turf talents on show
by Handicappers ( / Globeform (
Last update: 2009-03-12 17:31:16 (First published: 2009-03-04 13:57:26 )

City Style was deeply impressive on his seasonal debut, when slamming a decent field over 6.5 furlongs over this course. He is the likely favourite in the inaugural running of the Meydan Classic, a fascinating turf event for the younger brigade.

Coming from off the pace, he finished the race really well and should have no problems with this step up to 7.5 furlongs. He looks another Godolphin banker in this new event on Super Thursday. The one he has to fear the most is probably Naval Officer. His name is new on the Carnival menu, and he is an interesting contender.

Naval Officer is a US bred son of Tale of The Cat, out of the Red Ransom mare Wandering Star. Tale of The Cat is best known as the sire of Haskell Invitational (G1) and Hollywood Futurity (G1) winner Lion Heart, and his son Tale of The Cat won the Cigar Mile (G1) last year. Naval Officer’s dam, Wandering Star, won the 10-furlong E.P. Taylor Stakes (G2) at Woodbine and stretched her stamina to 12 furlongs in fine style to land the Long Island Handicap (G2) at Aqueduct (both races on turf), so Naval Officer may well possess more stamina than speed. Barton has had his horses in great shape at this meeting and Naval Officer’s French form stacks up well against City Style’s. You can argue that it is clearly better. He won three of his for races last year, closing the campaign with a neck verdict over King Of Sydney in the 9-furlong Prix de Conde (G3) at Longchamp in October, when he raced prominently throughout.

Liberation, trained by Mark Johnston in England last year, was a heavily backed favourite when scooting up by 5 lengths in a strong nursery handicap at Ascot last year, and thereafter went for the valuable Tattesalls Millions race at Newmarket, where he was again the top choice in the betting. He had to settle for fourth, after a tardy start, but when consider the top two from the race it becomes clear that it was another fine run. The event was won by Donativum, who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, from Crowded House, winner of the Racing Post Trophy (G1) on his next start and now favourite for the Epsom Derby (G1). Liberation joined Godolphin at the end of last season and he will be making his first start for the big team on Super Thursday. With Ted Durcan on board, he is hard to dismiss.




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