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Big City Man sharp and strong
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Nad Al Sheba 22 Jan: Race by race review, with running analyses, career details and form assessments of all nine races staged on day two of the Dubai International Racing Carnival, when the lightly raced US import Big City Man landed the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3).

THE AL SHINDAGHA SPRINT (G3), won by Asiatic Boy twelve months ago, brought together an interesting, and mixed field of 12 sprinters. The North American import Big City Man justified favouritsm, as he ran out a near length winner from the consistent sprinter Star Crowned.

“We will give him a break now, up to March 5”, his trainer Jerry Barton said after the success, which was Big City Man’s fifth in six starts. He has not been beaten since finishing second on his debut as a juvenile at Calder back in May 2007. Later that year, the son of Northern Afleet landed a stakes double in the Criterium and Dr Fager Stakes at the same venue but he did not run at all in 2008. Clearly a smart sprinter, he broke well from gate six and was part on the speed throughout. Star Crowned threw down a serious challenge but Big City Man, who had won over this course and distance two weeks ago, had all the answers. He’s had his problems, and was bandaged all round but Big City Man looks the best local sprinter now, and his big target is the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on Dubai World Cup night. Mike de Kock saw his dirt debutant Diana’s Choice take third, but she was well beaten. Barbecue Eddie was a major disappointment. Soon beaten, he ran as if something was amiss.

Big City Man is out of Mini Appeal (Valid Appeal). He was bred by Four Horsemen’s Ranch in Florida. His dam was a minor winner at four. She comes from the same family as the smart US dirt sprinter Mr. Nickerson, winner of the Boojum Hcap (G2), True North H (G2) etc.


Hunting Tower, a G1 winner in South Africa and racing off HC 108, ran out quite a comfortable winner of the opener, the Jaguar XK Trophy Handicap over 1300 metres on the turf course. Breaking from stall four under Mike de Kock’s first jockey Kevin Shea, the son of Fort Wood raced in third early on – as the pace was rather soft - and he kicked past the leader to take command about 15 strides from the winning post. No threats emerged.

Instant Recall kept on gamely for second, while Grantley Adams took third just ahead of So Will I. The slow pace did not at all suit the favourite Hatta Fort, who raced to freely at the back early and found trouble in running in the home staright. He finished fifth and could have been closer. That said, the winner also pulled in the early exchanges, but was given a much more positive ride by Shea, who is in cracking form. Hunting Tower was cutting back in distance here, from having raced over 8 to 11 furlongs in his last five starts. His best form at home last year was probably when third to Pocket Power in the J & B Met Mile (G1) at Kenilworth just under a year ago.

Bred in South Africa by Mrs Bridget D. Oppenheimer, Hunting Tower has now won 9 of 36 career starts. He is a seven year-old-gelding. His sire Fort Wood has been a leading stallion in South Africa. A son of Sadler’s Wells from the famous Fall Aspen family, Fort Wood represents some of the finest bloodlines in the world.


Desert Party and Frankie Dettori led a Godolphin one-two in the 16-runner Ford Flex Trophy, a contest for 3yo’s and 4yo’s. The pace was generous in this event but the first three home had actually been the first three the whole way, albeit in a shuffled order. Desert Party, winner of the Sanford Stakes (G2) over a muddy track at Saratoga last year (on his second start), outstayed his stable companion Regal Ransom, another North American import. The early leader Redding Colliery, trained by Herman Brown, held third while Mike de Kock’s Blues And Roch was a one-paced fourth.

The winner, a $2,1 million 2yo at Fasig-Tipton Sales, is a son of Dubai World Cup (G1) and Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) winner Street Cry, out of the Tabasco Cat daughter Sage Cat. After winning the Sanford, he was sixth to Vineyard Haven (who had been 3rd in the Sanford) in the Hopeful Stakes (G1), also at Saratoga.

He won this quite readily but seemed to get a harder race than the runner-up, Regal Ransom, who can also be described as a colt with more scope for improvement. A son of Distorted Humor, Regal Ransom is a May foal and this was only his third career start. He won a Saratoga maiden for Kiaran McLaughlin last August, before being shipped to Santa Anita for the Norfolk Stakes (G1) – only to be beaten over ten lengths into eighth behind Street Hero. Regal Ransom was also purchased at Fasig-Tipton, where he cost $675,000.


Saving ground by the rail, never more than about four to five lengths off the pace, the 7yo Munaddam, an Erwan Charpy trained son of Aljabr, won the Land Rover Trophy Handicap over 1300 metres on turf, by beating the Irish trained Leandros (who ran on but carried his head bit high). Miss Gorica, a game winner here a week ago, faded in the closing stages but managed to hold third.

Munaddam, winner of this event also in 2006, was successful for the sixth time here, from 20 career starts. He has also been placed five times. He was bred in Kentucky by Shadwell Farm LLC and he is sporting the siks of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum. Richard Hills rode a perfect race.


Calming Influence was heavily backed with English bookmakers through the day, coming down from 4-1 to an incredibly low 6-5 by the time of the off, in the Jaguar XF Trophy Handicap. The 1500 metres turf race had last year’s Dubai Duty Free (G1) winner Jay Peg as the top weight, racing off HC 120 and ridden by Ryan Moore. Winning a handicap off such a mark, first time out, is not easy and, although Jay Peg raced to the lead from the gates, he was no factor in the home straight. We will see a different horse when he steps back into stakes races.

Gladiatorus, easily the pick of the paddock but also a horse having his first run for 466 days, slipped ahead and opened up a five-length lead coming into the straight. Beautifully ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi, he had plenty left when Calming Influence – looking somewhat reluctant – came with his challenge, and favourite backers were soon in trouble. Gladiatorus, an attractive 4yo son of Silic, ran on well to win on his comeback. This was his first run since he was runner-up to Scintillo in the 2006 Gran Criterium (G1) at San Siro as a juvenile, when he won 6 of his 9 races. He was bred in Kentucky by Az Agricola le Ferriere di Raponi Giampaolo.

Biarritz, who won a G3 event over 9 furlongs in South Africa in 2007 but had just one run in 2008 (unplaced in G1), finished third.


The pace made the race as the action switched to dirt in the 8.5-furlong Ford Mustang Trophy, and after a bit of a speed duel up front, the 5yo Gulch son Glen Nevis came with a sustained run from well off the pace to collar Aamaaq close home. The latter had taken over from early leader Quicksand with 350 metres to go and did look like a winner but could not quite last home.

This winner, trained by Ali Al Raihe and ridden by Royston Ffrench, had been sixth to Third Set on turf here seven days ago. Glen Nevis was bred by Nutbush Farm in Kentucky. This was his third win from only 11 runs, a light career for a horse of his age. He won over 10 furlongs here at the last Carnival, and stamina is clearly his game.

Rock Ascot was virtually pulled up in the straight in this race.


Sixteen horses went to post for the Range Rover Trophy Handicap . This 12-furlong turf event looked very open on paper, with several holding a chance. The English import Colony was a lukewarm favourite in the international pool five minutes before the off (9-2) while English bookmakers had Saeed bin Suroor’s first choice, Captain Webb at the head of the market (7-2) throughout the betting. He was backed late in the pool and took over as a 7-2 favourite before the gates opened. That looked like shrewd money when Captain Webb came from just off the pace – set by Detonator – to lead inside the last 200 metres, but Gravitas (who had been pulling early) stuck his head out and attacked in a very game fashion between horses. He was all out to get back to winning ways, though did so well, beating Captain Webb and Big Robert.

Mubarak bin Shayfa, enjoying a great start to his training career, completed a double with this win, having earlier saddled Gladiatorus. Both were superbly ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi, a young jockey going places. Gravitas is a 6yo British bred son of champion miler Mark of Esteem.


The Al Tayer Motors Trophy, race seven on this busy card, had a warm even money favourite in the Luca Cumani trained Presvis, making his first start back since taking the prestigious John Smith’s Handicap by 7 lengths at Newbury in England last September. A son of Godolphin’s outstanding ‘Arc’ winner Sakhee, this 5yo gelding is a son of the Swedish bred Never So Bold filly Forest Fire, a broodmare from a solid family of winners, making his pedigree truly international. Sticking to 10 furlongs and turf for his seasonal bow, he was up against 15 rivals. Held up by Ryan Moore, Presvis came with a smooth run down the middle of the straight, took over approaching the 200 metres-marker, and strode right away for an easy win. The game and genuine Yaddree ran on for second, beating Al Shemali for the exacta spot. Yaddree was stopped in his run and shuffled back at a crucial stage, as the winner quickened away, and could have been closer with a clear run.

Presvis has had just eight runs in his career, and he will almost certainly continue to improve. The Dubai City of Gold (G3) is a possible next target. He was bred in England by Mrs Mette Campbell Andenaes.


Alexandros rounded off another good day for Godolphin when being perfectly produced inside the final furlong by Frankie Dettori, to win the Al Tayer Motors 100 Handicap by a length and a half from Kal Barg. The first three were well clear in this competitive finale, as Prince Shaun was a game third, and the form looks quite solid. Alexandros, a Darley (UK) bred 4yo son of Kingmambo, beat the subsequent G3 winner Charlie Farnsbarns in a good Conditions Stakes at Bath last October, and was a close third to Virtual in the Ben Marshall Stakes (LR) at Newmarket the following month. He is a typical miler and he appears to be at his best on a turning track. This was his fifth win from 14 runs and it is likely that we will see him stepping up in class next time out. He returned 13-2 with English bookmakers but was a 3-1 shot in the international pool.

Geir Stabell


GULFSTREAM PARK winter / spring meeting – please go to Gulfstream Park 2009.

SANTA ANITA winter / spring meeting – please go to Santa Anita 2009.

DUBAI International Racing Carnival – please go to Dubai 2009.

US TRIPLE CROWN countdown special – please go to Triple Crown 2009.

Last update: 2009-01-27 06:12:47 (First published: 2009-01-22 10:23:15 )

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