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Dubai World Cup

Well Armed improved, though impossible to assess

by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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GLOBEFORM RATINGS REVIEW - Dubai World Cup night 2009:

By Geir Stabell

Globeform’s Ratings Review - Dubai World Cup night 2009:

In winning the last Dubai World Cup (G1) staged at Nad Al Sheba by 14 langths, Well Armed made himself an ‘impossible horse to assess’. If chief rivals like Asiatic Boy, Albertus Maximus and Casino drive had run anywhere near their true form, this run would have been a sensational performance. They did not. That, more than the unprecedented winning margin, makes compiling a rating for Well Armed’s big win almost impossible. At best it is educated guesswork, though there is no doubt that the son of Tiznow has improved greatly in recent weeks.

Form analysis of each race, with Globeform ratings achieved by all top five finishers at Nad Al Sheba.


1 – WELL ARMED / GF 129? (120)

2 – Gloria de Campeao / GF 100? (114)
3 – Paris Perfect / GF 91? (111?)
4 – Muller / GF 90? (112?)
5 – My Indy / GF 83? (116+)

A strange result, and the winner’s rating may have to be revised later on, but Well Armed definitely improved on his previous form, though by quite how much is anybody’s guess.

After winning by 14 lengths, he has been assessed to Globeform 129, moving up from 120 in his previous best race. He is no Dubai Millennium, Cigar or Curlin, but this year’s World Cup winner certainly deserves a high rating. Setting his own pace, one can argue that Well Armed did it the hard way. Still, it looked all so easy. It will be fascinating to follow him in the USA later in the season, though he has probably earned a long break now and his next outing is unlikely to come before the second half of the year.

Gloria de Campeao got second, while running well below his best. He was eighth last year, 16 ½ lengths behind Curlin. Albertus Maximus, so well fancied beforehand, threw away any chance by pulling way too hard through the first half of the race, and was a beaten horse turning for home. The explination came to light the following day, when his trainer reported that the Donn winner was suffering from an inflamed right tendon.

Asiatic Boy never got into the race at all, something that can also be said for the Japanese challenger Casino Drive.

Well Armed’s Dubai World Cup was a race where all the other big guns were silenced well before the final quarter, but that wasn’t his fault. He has become pretty good now, and this was a fine piece of training by Eoin Harty, who has brought him along steadily to a peak worth $3.5 million.


1 – TWO STEP SALSA / GF 119 (117)

2 – Gayego / GF 114 (120)
3 – Don Renato / GF 111 (111)
4 – Summer Doldrums / GF 111 (108)
5 – Brave Tin Soldier / GF 111 (105)

As our ratings had predicted before the race, this was dominated by the Godolphin duo. Two Step Salsa improved to Globeform 119, as he showed good early speed (on a day speed was to prove crucial over the dirt track), and ran on well to keep Gayego at bay.

The runner-up had produced GF 120 when beating Big City Man on Super Thursday, but did not quite fire here, though a mile should be an ideal distance for him and the trip probably had little to do with it. More likely; this was a day when it was difficult to come form off the pace on the dirt, and that seems to be Gayego’s style. Two Step Salsa, making full use of his stactivcal speed and excellent fitness, and Gayego have both now shown the level of form required to be competitive in big mile races in North America.

They both have the Shadwell Metropolitan Mile Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park on May 25 as their target.


1 – REGAL RANSOM / GF 119+ (103+)

2 – Desert Party / GF 118+ (113+)
3 – Soy Libriano / GF 92+ (102)
4 – So Shiny / GF 85+ (107+)
5 – Lelah Dorak / GF 81+ (?+)

Like the World Cup, the Derby is impossible to rate with any confidence. With a 15-length gap between the two Godolphin colts and the third placed Soy Libriano, the questions are; Have these two performed exceptionally well, or have all the others performed exceptionally badly? In all probability, the truth lies “somewhere in between”, but both Regal Ransom and Desert Party impressed enough to recommend a trip to the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs in five weeks’ time.

Don’t forget: If one of them had not run here, the other one would have won the UAE Derby, clocking a decent time, by a wider margin than Well Armed’s incredible World Cup romp. Should one knock such form? I don’t think so. Regal Ransom has always struck me as the one with more scope of the two and after their first meeting I predicted that he would turn the form around in a stamina test, so went for him in the Guineas. Well, changing your mind about a horse is sometimes a wise move. In this case it was not. True, he was on the lead and that was the place to be, but Desert Party was well ithin striking rate all the way and had every chance. Will he be the best over 1 ¼ miles? I am not so sure.


1 – BIG CITY MAN / GF 125 (117+)

2 – Indian Blessing / GF 117+ (121)
3 – Diabolical / GF 106 (116)
4 – Bamboo Ere / GF 104 (108)
5 – Force Freeze / GF 102 (112)

In nearly breaking the track record set by Big Jag in this event nine years ago, Big City Man moved up on the day that mattered the most. Having impressed with two wins over this course and distance early in the year, then lost the prep (to Gayego, with Diabolical a close third), the Jerry Barton trained speedster was trained to the minute for the Golden Shaheen, and he would certainly be able to compete with the best dirt sprinters in America.

Indian Blessing, uncharacteristically tardy from the gates, was not far behind her best US form in second, while the others ran below their best – something that often happens when horses are giving chase to a couple of rivals they simply cannot match strides with. Big City Man and Indian Blessing were so much better on the day and, while Diabolocal performed with credit to take third, he was nowhere near his personal best.


1 – GLADIATORUS / GF 124+ (119+)

2 – Presvis / GF 115+ (119+)
3 – Alexandros / GF 112 (112)
4 – Niconero / GF 106 (116)
5 – Bankable / GF 105 (117)

Billed as the toughest race on the night, the Duty Free was turned into a procession by the ex-Italian runner Gladiatorus, perfectly ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi, who clearly believed in his horse. This was an excellent performance by the powerful front-runner, and it puts Gladiatorus right up with the best turf horses in the world. He has rejoined Godolphin and will be seen in Europe later this year. Races like the Lockinge Stakes (G1) at Newbury and Queen Anne Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot are probably on his agenda.

Presvis also ran a great race, finishing best of all over what was a distance well short of his optimum. One might wonder what would have happened if he had gone for the Sheema instead. He certainly is none to follow when he reverts to 12 furlongs in Europe later on.

Alexandros ran on well for third, reproducing his previous best rting, while the other were below par. Vodka was particularly disappointing, as she was the one who had a position giving here every chance of pegging back the leader, but she faded right out of it in the straight.


1 – EASTERN ANTHEM / GF 120+ (113+)

2 – Spanish Moon / GF 119+ (115)
3 – Purple Moon / GF 119 (119)
4 – Youmzain / GF 115+ (124)
5 – Marsh Side / GF 110 (116)

Young Ajtebi is just as good on a horse coming from off the pace as he is on a front-running type, that’s for sure. Confidently ridden, and progressing from last in a race run at a moderate pace, his mount Eastern Anthem continued his climb up the ranks with this performance. He came out best in a three-way photo finish but did look a clear number one, after having ben forced wide on the home turn.

All bar Youmzain (who needs a strong pace to show his best) enjoyed a better run of the race than the winner – which says something for the value of this form. There’s probably more to come, and Eastern Anthem rejoins Godolphin to be a part of their powerful team this summer.

Last update: 2009-03-30 06:08:37 (First published: 2009-03-30 05:29:25 )

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