Race 6 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 G1
Meydan – 2000 m (10f) Dirt
Sunday March 6 2016, 1:55am
Telecast times: 10:30pm – 3:00am (First Race at 11:00pm)
— Adam Blencowe (@NoverreMan) March 2, 2016
- Runners presented with best Globeform ratings, sires, jockeys and post positions
- Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds
- 1 length equals two pounds over this distance
123 – KEEN ICE (Curlin) / Ryan Moore (11)
116 – MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi) / Christophe Soumillon (4)
113 – GUN PIT (Dubawi) / Joao Moreira (1)
112 – WATERSHED (Bernardini) / James Doyle (3)
112 – HAATHEQ (Seeking the Gold) / Dane O’Neill (5)
112 – SPECIAL FIGHTER (Teofilo) / Fernando Jara (6)
111 – GOLD CITY (Pivotal) / Richard Mullen (7)
110 – FAULKNER (Pivotal) / Pat Dobbs (8)
103 – MUNAASER (New Approach ) / Paul Hanagan (2)
102 – STORM BELT (More than Ready) / Sam Hitchcott (10)
100 – GOLDEN SOUL (Perfect Soul) / Wayne Smith (9)
…? – PYLON (Fort Wood) / Royston Ffrench (12)
11. KEEN ICE: Head and shoulders above all but one of his rivals Mubtaahij in this contest. The Dale Romans trainee is impossible to oppose. He produced Globeform 123 when beating American Pharoah in last year’s Travers Stakes, and his most recent run – in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park – indicated that he is on his way back to the same level of form.
The son of Curlin needed the run, was compromised by both the distance and the moderate pace, still ran to Globeform 116 as he was staying on well in sixth place, 4 ¼ lengths behind the race-fit Mshawish (who was receiving 2lb). Keen Ice is always ridden held up, and stall 11 is thus a perfect draw.
Jockey Ryan Moore is a very interesting booking. Can drop him in behind the field early on and find a comfortable spot for Keen Ice. We are not absolutely guaranteed a strong pace in this race, but with runners like Munaaser (prominent in his last two races), Watershed (steps markedly up in distance), Haatheq (often forwardly placed), Gold City (tracked leader when second to Frosted last time out) and the second favourite Mubtaahij in the mix the tempo should at least be quite honest.
I expect Keen Ice to stay past them all in the home straight. He was priced up at 9-4 by one bookmaker on Wednesday. That seems way too big to me.
4. MUBTAAHIJ: is the obvious second choice having run so well at this venue last season. He performed with credit in US triple crown races afterwards – but he ran way below his best when resurfacing at Meydan just over four weeks ago. The UAE Derby winner ran a dull race indeed as he was a never dangerous fifth to Confrontation in the Firebreak Stakes. He may have needed the outing and move forward this time, but it is also possible that a long, hard 2015 season has left its marks on this colt.
Six runners are evenly matched on ratings below the top two, and it is probably a waste of time trying to speculate which one of these may represent decent each-way value. They are all likely to be well out of their comfort zone at the business end of this World Cup prep.
It is tempting to back Keen Ice and lay Mubtaahij, though that should be pretty much the same bet.