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Race-by-race reviews and analyses from the Dubai International Racing Carnival, posted directly during racing at Nad Al Sheba.
The Al Maktoum Challenge Round One (G3) attracted a mixed field of twelve runners, and the betting was headed by one of Mike de Kock’s four contenders, the South African bred five-year-old Royal Vintage. Runner-up to his stablecompanion Honour Devil both in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G2) and UAE Derby (G2) at last year’s Carnival, when he also won the Al Bastakiya (LR), Royal Vintage was the obvious pick on form and he was also the mount of Kevin Shea. He held a good position down the back stretch, but was never going as well as the eventual winner, Godolphin’s Argentine bred performer My Indy, who ran out quite an impressive winner here.
Confidently ridden by Dettori, the son of Indygo Shiner looked all over the winner as they turned for home - racing a few lengths off the pace - and he was produced to take the lead in mid-stretch. Striding smoothly away from the pack, he opened up a clear lead and, despite swishing his tail a couple of times close home, he finished the race off in a manner suggesting that another furlong will not be a problem. Green Coast, coming off a win over 7 furlongs over this course in December, and Don Renato, who had not raced since finishing third in the Goldolphin Mile (G2) last March, ran on for the places - but had no chance with the winner - who is clearly an improved performer this year.
My Indy, now aged four was making only his sixth lifetime start here, winning for the third time. He began his racing days with Juan Carlos Etchechoury in Argentina in 2007, when he won the Clasico Martinez (G2) by 4 lengths from Journal. My Indy was third to Honour Devil in last year’s UAE 2000 Guineas (G2), beaten just over four lengths, but he was further adrift when sixth to that same rival in the UAE Derby (G2) on World Cup night. Bred by La Quebrada, My Flag is out of the Southern Halo mare My Light. She is an unraced half-sister to Magic Sweet, a G1 winner over 7 furlongs as a juvenile, and she has previously produced Oystercatcher (Luhuk), a G3-winning sprinter.
Miss Glorica, a five-year-old daughter of Mull of Kintyre, trained in Ireland by Joanna Morgan and ridden by course specialist Ted Durcan, was a solid winner of the first thoroughbred event of the Carnival, the 7.5-furlong Muthathir Handicap.
After racing in fourth place early on, in a race badly hampered by a total lack of pace, Miss Gorica was produced to take the lead inside the last quarter, and she ran on gamely to beat the French trained Listed winner Lessing, with the English trained Clifton Dancer finishing well for third place.
The winner, who had three wins from 26 previous starts, was bred in Ireland by Miss A R Byrne. Her most recent success came in a handicap over 6 furlongs at Navan last june, while she was beaten only 1 ¼ lengths when fifth to Elletelle in the Sweet Mimosa Stakes (LR) over the same distance at the Curragh the following month. Today’s steady pace, set by the local veteran Jalmira, clearly suited Miss Gorica better than most of her six rivals. The favourite, Mike de Kock’s Inca Noble, pulled way too hard in the early stages and Herman Brown’s Happy Spirit was also too keen – both of these can do better in due course.
Sos Brilliante, a South American import from Saeed bin Suroor’s team, opened her season in a perfect way when she outstayed the odds-on favourite India Tiberina for a good win in the 7-furlong Nayef Fillies 1400 Conditions Stakes. These two were well clear and Sos Brilliante showed more stamina than the runner-up, who had become fractious before the race. Sos Brilliante, a daughter of Dance Brightly, was bred in Chile by Haras Carioca. She won her only start in 2008 by nearly twelve lengths, in a sharp time over 6 furlongs, and is clearly a smart performer. An attractive filly with plenty of scope, she may well be a strong contender for the UAE 1,000 Guineas. Stretching out to a mile will not be a problem for this filly, who had Frankie Dettori in the saddle.
A full field of twelve went to post for the Mujahid Handicap, a highly competitive 7.5-handicap on the turf course. Our selection Silver Mist (recommended at 6-1 this morning) came from off the pace under a confident Keven Shea to wear down Fateh Field in the closing stages, while there was daylight back to the third placed Seihali, who ran a sound race under top weight (HC 110). The very early story of the race was that Grand Vista was very slow from the gates, while the middle part of the contest was influenced by the free running Iguazi Falls, who went into a 6 to 8-length lead around the bend but faded, and the story of the business end was all about a game and determined Mike de Kock trained runner coming with a strong run to land the spoils. Silver Mist was winning for the eighth time here, in a valuable career of 33 starts. He was bred in South Africa by Midlands Equine Enterprises and is a son of the successful sire Western Winter.
A tough and battle-hardened performer, Silver Mist has finished only a couple of lengths behind the South African champion Pocket Power in four Group 1 events in his homeland. He was sixth in the prestigious Durban July Stakes (G1) at Greyville last summer, beaten only 2 ¾ lengths, and went on to fill the same place in the Champions Cup (G1) at Clairwood three weeks later.
Estrela do Oriente was a warm favourite for the Green Desert Handicap, run over 9 furlongs on the turf course, but after travelling well just off what was quite a strong pace, the Brazilian G1 winner faded and was one of the first beaten. From well off the pace came young rider Ahmed Ajtebi on the Mubarak bin Shafya trained six-year-old Third Set. He was carrying his head a bit high as he attacked down the middle of the course, but was also gaining with every stride, and he got up to beat Mike de Kock’s Irish import Brave Tin Soldier by about a length and a half. A length further adrift came Yasoodd, ridden by another up and coming star in the saddle, England’s joint champion apprentice William Buick.
Heartstead Maison, carrying a tough top weight and racing over a distance much too short for him was the big ‘eyecatcher’ of those finishing just behind the top three. The winner Third Set (Royal Applause) was bred in Ireland by A. Stroud and J. Hanly. He landed the Totesport Mile at Goodwood back in 2007, when trained by Roger Charlton in England. This was his seventh win from 17 career runs and he has been second / third five times. A thoroughly game and genuine performer, who could well reach the million-dollar mark before his career is over.
The favourite Sugar Ray set the pace in the finale, the 12-furlong Haafdh Handicap on turf. He was always stalked by Engrupido, who took over 400 metres from the winning post, but was worn down late by Crime Scene, who had been racing in fourth / fifth a few lengths off the pace throughout. Ridden by J Rosales, Crime Scene completed a double on the day for trainer Mubarak bin Shafya. This was Crime Scene’s fifth win over this distance, and his seventh overall. He ran fifth in the Attjari Islami Cup over 10 furlongs here in January 1, when well beaten behind Lucky Ra. Bred by Gainborough Stud Management in Ireland – a nation enjoying a good day with their flag bearers – Crime Scene won the St. Simon Stakes (G3) for Godolphin in England in 2007 but he was winless in three outings in 2008. He runs like a horse that may stay even further than this.
Engrupido was a game runner-up, while Age Of Reason stayed on at an even pace for third place – on what was his first start for 159 days.
Last update: 2009-01-15 14:37:09 (First published: 2009-01-15 11:41:15 )
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