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Dubai 5 March: Race by race reports from the big Dubai World Cup prep day at Nad Al Sheba, posted as the meeting unfolds - please check back between each event.
AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE III: ASIATIC BOY TOO GOOD
He had to break sharply, so sharply he put his head a bit up in the air as if he was saying to rider Johnny Murtagh “hey, no hurry”, then he had to be driven to get a position from his wide post, even more so to keep his slot around the turn, when Asiatic Boy was racing in fourth / fifth just a few lengths off the pace. But when the chips were down at the finish, the favourite for the Al Maktoum Challenge III (G2) showed his class. Kirklees, who had raced up in the firing line for most of the way, committed early under Dettori but was soon a spent force. Then came Happy Boy, who had caught Asiatic Boy in a battle for second in round two of the series, but this time he could not match strides with the Argentine bred son of Not For Sale.
Asiatic Boy got to the grey horse inside the last furlong and, despite drifting out a bit to his right, he was asserting really well to win by daylight. Art Of War took third, some way behind the top two, collecting even more dollars for the powerful Mike de Kock stable. This was Asiatic Boy’s seventh win from 14 starts. He was bred by Arroyo de Luna, and his dam S.S. Asiatic is a daughter of Polish Navy.
Asiatic Boy, Mike de Kock’s leading contender for the Dubai World Cup (G1), ran a good prep for the $6 million race - but he also had a hard race. His win was yet another boost to My Indy, who beat him easily in the Maktoum Challenge II (G3), and that runner now looks certain to represent Godolphin in the big race on March 28.
Today’s big race hero was the top three-year-old at the 2006 Carnival, when landing both the Guineas and Derby at Nad Al Sheba and, though his form was less consistent last year, he came good at the right time; running second to Curlin in the World Cup. Many will look at that result and think that he was as good that day as he had been 12 months earlier, but he was not. Asiatic Boy was beaten almost eight lengths by Curlin, and did run below his career best. At his best, he has been capable of Globeform 123. Perhaps he is on his way back to that level now.
>>> Asiatic Boy was Globeform’s clear top rated runner <<<
JEBEL HATTA: BALIUS STEPS UP
A solid Duty Free prep rounded off an excellent day, and Balius (Mujahid) came out best in a close finish to the Jebel Hatta (G2). He was Globeform’s second best on ratings in this field, so it was no big surprise to see him win, especially not since the favourite Vodka suffered a terrible run and was boxed in. She could finish only fifth, after having been on the bridle virtually all the way under Yatake Take, who chose the inside route. Balius, ridden much better by course veteran Willie Supple, pounced from just off the pace down the middle of the track, and got up to beat the long time leader Jay Peg, who ran a dead heat with Russian Sage for second place. Imbogni took fourth.
Bred in Ireland by Stilvi Compania S A, Balius is a six-year-old son of Mujahid, out of the Nashwan mare Ahkla. He was winning for the ninth time in 23 starts, having his first run for trainer Abdulla bin Huzaim. 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.
The Dubai Duty Free (G1) is certainly the next stop for Balius, but Jay Peg (who was giving the winner 5lb) is likely to turn the tables on the big day. Many will also back Vodka to do better. She really looked an unlucky loser here.
>>> Balius was Globeform’s 2nd top rated runner <<<
DUBAI CITY OF GOLD: FRONT HOUSE BEATS THE BOYS
Having had Sun Classique last year, trainer Mike de Kock is now showing off another of his top fillies, the well-bred Front House. Racing prominetly throughout in this 12-furlong contest, she landed the Dubai City of Gold (G2) by half a length from the 2007 winner of this event, Quijano, who ran a big race under top weight. Perhaps he will be one of the best in the Sheema Classic (G1) this year, though Front House, improving all the time, will also be a force to be reconed with in three weeks’ time. Kevin Shea hit the front “a bit too soon”, according to the trainer, but he had no choice, as the speed faded, and he did the right thing. Purple Moon, King Of Rome, and finally Quijano, ridden by regular partner Andreas Starke, all had a crack at her in the straight, but Front House kept on finding more and she is obviously a very game filly. She had been runner-up twice previously at this Carnival, behind Deem in the one-mile Cape Verdi Stakes (G3) and behind My Central in the 9-furlong Balanchine Stakes (G3). A test of stamina is what she needs to show her best.
The winner is a daughter of Sadler’s Wells out of Adjalisa (Darshaan) who was among the best in her division in South Africa last year. Front House has now won 5 of her 9 races and she was placed in the other four. She landed the Gold Circle Oaks (G2) over a mile and a half at Clairwood last July. Front House was beating fillies six months older than herself that day, without getting a weight concession. The City of Gold winner was bred by Triermore Stud in Ireland.
BUJR NAHAAR: SNAAFY IMPROVES AGAIN
The favourite Honour Devil, ridden for stamina over this mile, was soon in front and Johnny Murtagh kicked him into a clear lead 500 metres out. Stretching out, Honour Devil did look strong in front, but from off the pace came the improving Snaafy (Kingmambo), ridden by Richard Hills. Eating into Honour Devil’s lead for every stride, he joined the favourite inside the last furlong and, though Honour Devil tried to fight back, Snaafy was much the best. He passed the post going away by about two lengths. Green Coast, overcoming a wide draw, stayed on for a respectable third.
Snaafy (Kingmambo) was previously trained by Barry Hills in England, and his son Richard has been on board in each of the horse’s five career wins. Bred in Kentucky by Shadwell Farm LLC, Snaafy was winning for the third time on the bounce here, and it is likely that we will see him again in the Godolphin Mile (G2) on World Cup night. He is trained by Musabah Al Muhairi.
Honour Devil ran better her than on his seasonal debut but losing to Snafy hardly enhanced his reputation as a World Cup contender. Green Coast finishing third is a boost to My Indy’s form, as he had been second to the Godolphin colt in the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
MAHAB AL SHIMAAL: GAYEGO SO STRONG
Godolphin struck again in the Golden Shaheen trial, as their US import Gayego (Gilden Time) produced a solid performance to beat the favourite Big City Man and Diabolical. Coming from off a strong pace (partly set by Big City Man), the Ted Durcan ridden winner was quite impressive here. A winner of the Arkansas Derby (G2) last year, he was conceding weight all round, and this was a fine prep for World Cup night. Big City Man also ran another good race, while Diabolical, who seemed to travle best of all 200 metres out, ran like a horse in need of the race.
Gayego is a four-year-old Godolphin bought from trainer Paulo Lobo last year. He won the 6-furlong San Pedro Stakes (G3) on the old Cushion Track at Santa Anita in January last year, and went on to run second to Georgie Boy in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) over a mile in March. Stretching out to 9 furlongs, Gayego beat Z Fortune by three parts of a length in the Arkansas Derby (G2) – with Godolphin Mile contender Tres Borrachos third - before taking a real hammering both in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1). He returned to winning form in a decent 6.5-furlong allowance race on November 30 and today’s race was Gayego’s first run since.
>>> This was a combined 1-2-3 for Globeform. Trifecta 77-1 Exacta 13-1 <<<
MEYDAN CLASSIC: GODOLPHIN ONE-TWO
City Style (City Zip), confidently ridden by Dettori, was a heavily backed winner of this turf contest over 7.5 furlongs. Coming off a stylish win here on his seasonal bow, City Style sat second last down the back stretch, but worked his way nicely up, going a bit wide, to get into striking range as they had 500 metres left to go. He responded gamely to Frankie’s urgings, and ran out a game winner. Stable companion Liberation, who had been more prominent and arguably had a better trip, took second, ahead of the ex-French runner Naval Officer – who ran on best of the rest to take third and must be noted for future events over a bit more distance.
>>> This was a straight 1-2-3 for Globeform. Exacta: 7-1. Trifecta 33-1 <<<
The winner is a horse to follow this year, as are the two placed horses. City Style landed the Sunday Silence Stakes at Louisiana Downs last year, when prepping for the Breeders’ Cup. He was trained by Cheryl Asmussen at two.
Bred by Stonerside Stable, City Style is the first foal out of the stakes-winning Brattothecore (Katahaula County), bought privately by Stonerside after her racing career. Brattothecore raced for Jam Jar Racing Stable and won both her starts at two, including the restricted Ontario Lassie Stakes, before landing the restricted Labatt Bison City Stakes at three.
AL BASTAKIYA: LOW KEY OPENER
Soy Libriano (Ride the Rails) came from off the pace, with a one paced surge, to win what looked a moderate renewal of the 9-furlong Al Bastakiya (LR). Willie Supple rode the South American import for trainer Mubarak bin Shayfa, and the combination passed the post a little over two lengths in front of the favourite Jose Adan (Crypto Star), who suffered a troubled trip but was nevertheless disappointing. The third home, I Am The Best, who beat Soy Libriano here in December, kicked for home early in the straight (after Muy Ponderado had set the early pace) and Jose Adan was in pursuit (after having worked his way up following a tardy start). The favourite had to switch to get a clear run but he would not have bneen able to match strides with Soy Libriano under any circumstances.
The winner, bred in Argentina by Abolengo Stud, was making his ninth career start. He had three previous wins, most notably when beating Sing-a-Song by 5 lengths in the Clasico Ensayo (G3) over 7.5 furlongs at Maronas in Uruguay last June. This was his first start over further than that distance and it clearly suited him. He has a mountain to climb in the UAE Derby (G2) though, but connections seemed keen to go for that race next.
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Last update: 2009-03-12 17:22:50 (First published: 2009-03-05 09:29:43 )
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