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Nad Al Sheba 26 Feb: A good day for favourites, and also a ‘mini Super Thursday’ in Dubai this week, as Archipenko made a solid come-back and set himself up for a crack at the Dubai Duty Free (G1) on World Cup night.
That particular race is shaping up to be the best on the big championship day, now just four weeks away. Archipenko will be among the favourites, as he meets the likes of Kip Deville and Vodka over 1777 metres over this smashing turf course on March 28. He was racing over 1600 in the Zabeel Mile (G3), and won well from the game five-year-old Vertigineux.
Mike de Kock saddled two winners on the night, as his classy sprinter J J The Jet Plane took the 6-furlong Al Quoz Sprint (G3) on turf, after a disappointing run on dirt two weeks ago. Devotee, so disappointing in her Guineas run, also bounced back to form, completing a double for Godolphin when taking the UAE Oaks (LR). Is she one for the Kentucky Oaks?
With these stakes winners in the limelight, one would think it hard to elevate one of the handicap winners on the night to near star status, but Luca Cumani’s Presvis was, once more, visually impressive as he won the finale and he is a very interesting turf horse.
ARCHIPENKO LOOKING GOOD
Making his first start since finishing an unlucky second to Spirit One in the Arlington Million (G1) last August, Archipenko (Kingmambo) won the Zabeel Mile (G3) and he is now ready for the Duty Free. He was third in that event last year. Archipenko shadowed his front-running stable companion Brave Tin Soldier from the outset, moved up to get to the lead 200 metres out and ran on well to hold late challenges from the French trained Vertigineux (Nombre Premier) and Hamdan Al Maktoum’s English import Kalahari Gold (Trans Island). These had both been saving ground while racing just off the pace all the way around, and both found a nice opening by the rail in the closing stages. They were almost inseparable at the wire, coming home ¾ length behind the winner, who was giving weight to both. Kalahari Gold, a good performer for Andrew Balding in England last year, showed a significant turn of foot and he looks one to follow this season. For Archipenko it will be ‘business as usual’. Mike de Kock explained after the race, which was Archipenko’s sixth success from 14 runs, that he will be part of the English team in the summer, and possibly aimed at valuable races in Hong Kong. Archipenko, beaten less than a length when third to Jay Peg in the Duty Free in 2008, went on to win the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Sha Tin in April, and added the Summer Mile (G2) at Ascot in July. He is effective over a mile though 1 ¼ miles seems to be his best trip. Archipenko has won on good to firm, good and good to soft ground.
STAMINA WINS THE DAY
Veracity (Lomitas) was one of the best young stayers in England in 2007 and 2008, and his stamina became decisive when he fended off a late challenge from Mourilyan (Desert Prince) inside the last furlong of the Dubai Racing Club Gold Cup Trophy, staged over 3200 metres (about two miles). Frankie Dettori rode a perfect race on the five-year-old, making his move on the home turn and allowing Veracity, a guaranteed stayer, to stretch out. This horse is what riders like to call a ‘lengthener’ as he just piles on the pressure from the front, but does not have much of a turn of foot. Mourilyan, trying this distance for the first time, does have a late kick, and he managed to cut into Veracity’s lead. For a stride or two, Mourilyan looked a serious threat, as he drew almost alongside the winner, but Veracity is so tough and game. He replied to win by half a length. Balsatico (Shantou) was third and beaten less than three lengths but this was a two-horse affair. None of the others stayed the trip, simple as that.
DEVOTEE’S SWEET REVENGE
She probably should have won te UAE 1,000 Guineas (LR) here three weeks ago, but Godolphin’s filly Devotee (Elusive Quality) suffered from an irregular heartbeat that day, possibly caused by stress, and was virtually pulled up as So Shiny won. All was good and well with Devotee this time, and she gained sweet revenge on seven filles who had all beaten her in the Guineas. Ridden in second place early, by the ever-confident Dettori, Devotee soon had the leader So Shiny (who was racing too keenly) in her sights. She lookled all over the winner as they turned in, led 400 metres out and had enough left in the tank when the Japanese trained Earth Living (Yonaguska) came with her run. Two game fillies, but Devotee was a notch better, winning by 1 ¼ lengths. This distance of 1800 metres (9 fur.) suited her well but it is by no means guaranteed that Devotee can hold Earth Living at bay if they meet again over further. Like Veracity’s race, this was a tale of just two, with the third placed Sos Brilliante (Dance Brightly) fully 11 lengths behind the runner-up. So Shiny faded right out of it and could manage only fourth. She needs to drop back to a mile and could even be a sprinter.
The Kentucky Oaks (G1), run over this distance on the similar surface at Churchill Downs in May, could be a target for Devotee now. She is a smart performer, but she will have to make unusual improvement to match strides with the likes of Stardom Bound and Maram in the US. Also, taking a filly that can become worked up in the preliminaries to Churchill on Kentucky Derby weekend will be a risky business.
JET PLANE ALL SPEED
Mike de Kock tried his top sprinter J J The Jet Plane (Jet Master) on dirt in the Insideout Trophy here two weeks ago, but that did not work out. Coming off an impressive win streak of five at home in South Africa, J J The Jet Plane trailed in sixth, more than ten lenghts behind Force Freeze. Any thoughts of the Golden Shaheen (G1) on World Cup night probably ended there and ten, and de Kock brought the five-year-old back to turf in the Al Quoz Sprint (G3). J J The Jet Plane, ridden by Kevin Shea, hit the ground running and favourite backers had little to worry about through the 6-furlong contest. He was up with pace, travelling well, and kicked ahead with about 200 metres to go. J J The Jet Plane had this race wrapped up well before the wire. He beat the staying-on Hatta Fort (Cape Cross) by 1 ¼ lengths and Dohasa (Bold Fact) finished third (for the third time at this Carnival).
J J The Jet Plane will be joining Archipenko on Mike de Kock’s English team in the summer and he looks set for a spring preparing for a crack at one of the top sprints at Royal Ascot. Beating Hatta Fort by a length or two does not make you a top sprinter, anywhere, but he was much the best and this horse won three G1 sprints in South Africa last summer. He completed a solid treble in the Computaform Sprint, Golden Horse Casino Sprint and Mercury Sprint. The first named is over 1000 metres, but J J The Jet Plane is unbtean in four runs over 1200, and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (G1) may suit him best when we get to Ascot in June.
CUMANI WITH TWO FOR TOP TURF RACE
Presvis was odds-on to win the Meydan Gateway Towers Trophy Handicap over 2000 metres, and the way he won again, to add to his easy win ovre course and distance five weeks ago, suggests that he is good enough to take his chance in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) next month. His trainer Luca Cumani already has Purple Moon pencilled in for that event (via a prep on Super Thursday) and he looks like being double handed. Presvis, a rapidly improving runner who will stay 2400 metres, came from last to first under Ryan Moore, to catch the leader Yarhab (Dalakhani) and beat him easily by 3 ¼ lengths. Once More Dubai (E Dubai) got up for second, just ahead of the previous Carnival winner Halicarnassus, but they were well behind Presvis, who quickened right away from the pack when asked to go about his business inside the last furlong. He was racing off HC 113 here, and I would not be the least bit surprised if he turns out to be a 120 plus horse. If Moore is given the choice between Presvis or Purple Moon on the big day it will not be an easy decision to make.
Presvis won the prestigious John Smith’s Handicap by 7 lengths at Newbury in England last September. By 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. Trained by an Italian, he was bred in England by Mrs Mette Campbell Andenaes, a native of Norway.
Published: 2009-02-27 07:42:39
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