Dubai World Cup Day
Saturday 26th Match 2016
R2 Godolphin Mile G2 – 1600m 8F Dirt – 11:20pm
* Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds. 1 length equals 3 pounds over this distance.
* Runners presented with best Globeform ratings, sires and jockeys.
118p – MARKING (Bernardini) / J Doyle
116 – SLOANE AVENUE (Candy Ride) / F Dettori
115 – ONE MAN BAND (Pivotal) / S Hitchcott
113 – COOL COWBOY (Kodiak Kowboy) / P Dobbs
113 – PRAYER FOR RELIEF (Jump Start) / W Smith
112 – MAFTOOL (Hard Spun) / P Hanagan
111 – LE BERNARDIN (Bernardini) / T O’Shea
111 – FAULKNER (Pivotal) / D O’Neill
111 – GOLD CITY (Pivotal) / R Mullen
? – GOD’S SPEED (Oratorio) / L Morales
The one to beat here. Nicely drawn in stall two, he will probably get a lead from the speedy One Man Band who is set to break from the rail post. One Man Band is one of the dangers though as he is hard to peg back if he gets loose on the lead. So his connections are not complaining about the draw either.
Marking was favourite for his UAE debut in February but went down on his knees and lost his rider as the stalls opened. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Godolphin runner made amends with a highly promising handicap win over 1200 metres two weeks later when he carried to top weight to victory over Kifaah who was swept aside as Marking hit top gear in the closing stages.
The winning margin was two lengths and the time was good. Marking again ran green and he looked to be in trouble turning for home. Stretching him out in distance makes a lot of sense.
Marking ran second to North America’s top sprinter Runhappy in last year’s Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita, having previously outclassed his rivals in a good allowance race in New York by open lengths.
McLaughlin entered him for the Cigar Mile after that win, but scratched as he was given a tough post (and looked likely to end up in a speed duel). That his trainer considered the Cigar tells us that he has had mile races in mind for Marking all along, and he really makes a lot of appeal in this event.
Was badly drawn when second in this race twelve months ago. Breaking from the outside post in a 15-runner field, he finished best of all to just fail in his attempt at catching the hot favourite Tamarkuz (who enjoyed post one). The Jeremy Noseda-trained contender has Stall 9 this time but with only ten runners it should be such a big problem.
He prepped for this task by running second to Captain Cat in a four-runner affair at Kempton Park in February. Sloane Avenue was a hot favourite that day but we should probably not read too much into this one-length defeat, as the race was run totally differently to what suits him the best.
Captain Cat, who is also a very smart performer, was able to dominate in front and Sloane Avenue could not quite cut him back. Sloane Avenue ideally wants a strongly run race with plenty of early speed, setting things nicely up for his closing style – and he is likely to get such a scenario here.
He is a lightly raced five-year-old with 3 wins from seven career starts. A typical miler, Sloane Avenue won a Listed event at Kempton Park as a three-year-old (beating last year’s Cape Verdi and Balanchine winner Cladocera by a neck).
Won four of his last five races, all over this course and distance, and this enthusiastic front-runner cannot be dismissed. He takes another step up in class here though his rating says he could well be up to it. He has improved with every run this winter and beat Heavy Metal by six lengths when taking a handicap over 1400 metres a month ago. He had previously finished second, two lengths behind Golden Shaheen runner Confrontation, in the Firebreak Stakes over 1600 metres.
Won the final prep for this contest in good style three weeks ago. Facing seven rivals, including Al Maktoum Challenge II winner Le Bernardin, Cool Cowboy produced solid 3 3/4-length win after leading all the way. The course was favouring speed on the day but it was still a fine performance by Cool Cowboy. Probably his best ever. He was comfortably in command throughout and had matters wrapped up well before the winning post.
German challenger Ross stayed on to take second, half a length in front of Le Bernardin. The Burj Nahaar was Cool Cowboy’s seventh win from career 17 starts. Breaking from Post 8, this Doug Watson’s contender will probably be sent forward, and he could be the one to put early pressure on One Man Band.
Holds each-way claims based on his best form, but his GF 113 was achieved when he ran third behind Lea and Confrontation in the Hal’s Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January, 2015. His best piece of form here at Meydan is his staying-on third in the Al Maktoum Challenge I, when he made his seasonal debut and came out worst in a three-way photo finish against Le Bernardin and Layl. He has since been fifth to Frosted in the second round of the series and eighth to Tryster in the Jebel Hatta on turf.
R3 Dubai Gold Cup G2 3200m 16F Turf – 11:55pm
120 – VAZIRABAD (Manduro) / C Soumillon (1)
117 – MANATEE (Monsun) / M Barzalona (8)
114 – BIG ORANGE (Duke Of Marmalade) / J Spencer (7)
114 – NEO BLACK DIA (Zenno Rob Roy) / S Akiyama (4)
112 – STAR EMPIRE (Second Empire) / W Smith (5)
111 – HAAFAGUINEA (Haafdh) / J Doyle (11)
107 – CERTERACH (Halling) / T O’Shea (6)
106 – MEADOW CREEK (Dansili) / P Dobbs (9)
106 – PARADISE (Samum) / M Demuro (2)
105 – TELLINA (Silvano) / R Moore (10)
105 – SUEGIOO (Manduro) / P Hanagan (3)
Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre in France and will be a tough nut to crack in this contest. This four-year-old son of Manduro notched up five straight wins at home last year culminating in a game one-length success in the Prix Royal-Oak over 3100 metres at Saint-Cloud in Paris where he beat older horses for the first time. Jockey Christophe Soumillon rode his normal patient and confident race on the gelding, biding his time at the back of the field early on.
He delivered the favourite with a relentless run taking him past horse by horse in the home straight and Vazirabad won by a length from Siljan’s Saga, who was also finishing well from off the pace. Mille Et Mille finished third and the well known globetrotter Cirrus des Aigles (who failed to see out the trip) came home in fourth place. A repeat of this level of form will probably be more than good enough to win the Dubai Gold Cup, note that Vazirabad is open to further improvement.
The danger in a race where we could easily see a French exacta. He shaped like an ‘Arc’ contender last spring, when he carried a tough weight to a a solid win over dual Group One winner Prince Gibraltar in the Grand Prix de Chantilly over 2400 metres on soft ground.
Jockey Mickael Barzalona had him in full flight as he took the lead with under 200 metres to go. Prince Gibraltar, winner of the Grosser Preis von Baden later on, stayed on for second though was always held as the winning margin was three parts of a length. Agent Murphy finished third and Spiritjim took fourth.
Manatee stepped right up in class four weeks later but had to settle for fourth in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, beaten by three high profile names; Treve, Flintshire and Dolniya. A break followed before he was really thrown into the deep end in the Prix de l’Arc. Manatee finished 11th of the 17 runners in the big race, beaten 7 ¼ lengths behind Golden Horn.
Manatee’s next task was a test of stamina as he went for the Prix Royal-Oak. The stayers’ classic was won by Vazirabad, while Manatee was fifth, once more beaten 7 ¼ lengths by the winner. Manatee prepped for his trip to Dubai with a game second in the Prix Darshaan over 1900 metres (too short for him) at Deauville three weeks ago. Beaten a length by Elliptique, he pipped Sheema Classic contender Gailo Chop for second place.
Won the Goodwood Cup over 2 miles in England last summer, beating Quest For More by a neck, with Trip To Paris back in third. He had previously won the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes over 12 furlongs at Newmarket – taking the scalp of G1 winner Second Step no less, and he is a very interesting recruit to the European staying ranks.
He ran no sort of a race at York three weeks after his Goodwood win but produced a very respectable performance to finish fifth to Prince of Penzance in the Melbourne Cup (beaten 2 ½ lengths while carrying 2.5kg more than the winner). Big Orange does live up to the first part of his name and the flat Meydan course will be to his liking.
Third and second in the last two editions of this race, is in with an each-way chance this time around. He recorded his first win for almost three years when beating Elleval in a 2000-metres handicap in January, but don’t be fooled by that stat as Star Empire is nothing but game and consistent. He has finished in the first three in eight of his last twelve races. Five of these runs came in Group company, while the rest were with tough handicap weights.
The slow early pace was against him in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy three weeks ago. Star Empire was a bit slow from the stalls and took up a position in midpack before fighting his way up to third place behind Sheikhzayedroad and Certerach. Star Empire actually carried too much weight on this occasion due to a saddling mistake. He comes here in good form.
Brings Japanese form to the table and he has run solid races in defeat against top notch performers. Most notably when beaten under two lengths in fifth behind Gold Ship in the Tenno Sho Spring over 3200 metres at Kyoto last May, and when beaten a little over three lengths when ninth to Lovely Day in the Takarazuka Kine over 2200 metres the following month.
R4 The UAE Derby G2 1900m 9,5F Dirt – 12:35am
115p – POLAR RIVER (Congrats) / P Dobbs (2)
?p – VALE DORI (Asiatic Boy) / C Soumillon (5)
99 – FRANK CONVERSATION (Quality Road) / M Gutierrez (1)
? – YU CHANGE (Swift Current) / J Moreira (4)
95 – LAZZAM (Archipenko) / F Dettori (7)
? – LANI (Tapit) / Y Take (3)
? – ON THE ROCKS (Samurai Heart) / M Demuro (6)
Will start odds-on favourite for this event after being way better than anything else seen in the classic fillies’ division at Meydan this season. She doesn’t have much to beat, in what is rather a disappointing field for such a big purse.
Polar River, a US bred daughter of Congrats trained by Doug Watson, most recently won the Oaks, to add to previous strolls in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial and UAE 1000 Guineas. She won the Guineas by 13 lengths from Promising Run who had been 4 ¾ lengths second to her in the trial. Polar River was in a different league on both occasions, and again in the Oaks, despite the winning margin here being just three parts of a length. Fellow Derby contender Vale Dori, a Group One winner in Argentina last year, challenged her inside the final furlong to erase a clear lead but that’s just part of the story.
The more important information to take on board is that jockey Pat Dobbs had geared the winner well down by then and Polar River won with plenty up her sleeve. Like the Derby, the Oaks is contested over 1900 metres, and Polar River handled the distance well. Not that the three-runner affair presented her with a true stamina test, but at least she has been through this trip now. She has plenty of speed but she rates kindly, and she may be open to quite a bit of improvement still. She is the banker on the day.
Ran a very promising race in the Oaks, her first start of the season and her first outing for Mike de Kock. Vale Dori was previously with trainer Antonio Marsiglia in Argentina, where she was an impressive winner of the Gran Premio Jorge de Atucha over 1500 metres. Vale Dori (10-1) was still immature in this Palermo contest, but came through to lead 200 metres out and win easily by 3 lengths from the favourite Stay Calm. She relished the distance in the UAE Oaks, she should come on for the run and looks good enough to ensure an all female exacta in this year’s Derby.
Represents the US and is a long way below the best three-year-olds on the other side of the pond. Still, he comes here in fine form and may make an impact. Foaled as late as May 13, he has probably needed time to fulfil his potential. He won the California Derby in January and the El Camino Real Derby in February – both staged over the Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields. Having finished fifth to Mor Sprit in the prestigious Los Alamitos Futurity on dirt last December, Frank Conversation won these races with little fuss beating Tusk readily by three parts of a length when stepping up to 9 furlongs in the El Camino Real.
He started favourite and raced nicely settled in a handy position throughout before moving up three wide to take command halfway down the home straight. His runner-up was coming off a third in allowance company at Santa Anita the third home, the ex-English Kasseopia had finished second to the Canadian star Riker in the Grey Stakes at Woodbine last autumn. Frank Conversation’s form can be best described as solid though not top class, but he may be a runner about to hit an upward curve.
R5 Al Quoz Sprint G1 1000m 5F Turf – 1:10am
120 – ERTIJAAL (IRE) (Oasis Dream) / P Hanagan
120 – BUFFERING (Mossman) / D Browne
119 – SOLE POWER (Kyllachy) / C Hayes
118 – PENIAPHOBIA (Dandy Man) / J Moreira
113p – LADY SHIPMAN (Midshipman) / I Ortiz Jr
114 – BEL CANTO (Sakura Bakushin) / Y Take
117 – GOLDREAM (Oasis Dream) / M Harley
117 – MUTHMIR (Invincible Spirit) / D O’Neill
115 – JUNGLE CAT (Iffraaj) / W Buick
115 – NOT LISTENIN’TOME (Dylan Thomas) / R Moore
112 – FITYAAN (Haafhd) / S De Sousa
112 – NAADIRR (Oasis Dream) / C Soumillon
110 – SIR MAXIMILIAN (Royal Applause) / P Dobbs
*Bel Canto, Lady Shipman; 2kg (4.4lb) sex weight allowance.
*Add 4.4 to their rating for direct comparison with the males
The Australian raider who has won on 6 of his last 12 Group One starts, is a serious threat – though this veteran prefers 1200 metres. Then again, he is a fast starter, and the early pace in this race could well be bordering on the extreme, meaning that Buffering’s stamina edge will come into play at the finish. He is coming off an easy win in the Magic Millions Plate over 1300 metres in January.
Buffering was a 1.30-favourite in that event, as he stood out as the class act in the field. As always, he was one of the fastest from the gates. Moving smoothly forward from a wide post, he led virtually throughout around the right-handed course to beat Mister Booze without being extended. His preceding start, a win in the Winterbottom Stakes on the left-handed Ascot course, was against much tougher opposition.
Buffering had won the race back in 2013, and this time he beat Ortensia’s stakes record by stopping the clocks in a sharp 1.08.17. Buffering used his excellent speed to get a clear advantage down the stretch, and he won safely by a length from the staying-on Watermans Bay, who franked the form when winning the Scahill Stakes over the same course a week later.
Won this event twelve months ago when beating Peniaphobia by half a length and the Irish trained warrior has a decent chance again. He had to settle for just a Group 2 win in Europe in the summer and was well beaten in seventh behind Peniaphobia in the Hong Kong Sprint in December, but bounced back to form with a good seasonal debut on Super Saturday – when he went down by just a head and a neck in a close finish against Fityaan and Jungle Cat. They both enjoyed race fitness advantage over Sole Power who came with his customary strong run from off the pace. He is likely to turn the tables on both these rivals in the Al Quoz.
Went straight to the lead and got first run on Gold-Fun, who had beaten by decisively in tre trail for the big sprint, when capturing last year’s Hong Kong Sprint – a race run over the same distance as the Al Quoz but around a left-handed turn. This Hong Kong based gelding opened his 2016 campaign by finishing third behind Aerovelicity and Gold-Fun in the Centenary Cup on January 31, beaten 1 ½ lengths and a neck after meeting trouble in running. Looks set for a good run here.
Representing the U.S, this filly has nine wins and four placings from 13 starts and is a sharp lady who might surprise a few on the big day. Making her first start for Kiaran McLaughlin having previously been with Kathleen O’Connor, she warmed up for this with a comfortable win in the Ladies’ Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park in February. She won the 5-furlong event by almost three lengths from course specialist Katie’s Kiss, with Jewel of a Cat (minor stakes winner & course specialist) a length further back in third place.
Lady Shipman was long odds-on to beat these fillies but quite impressive nevertheless. She showed her high tactical speed throughout, and gave the impression that she is a progressive sprinter. The daughter of Midshipman won 7 races in 2015, including four stakes wins on the trot (all over 5.5 furlongs on turf). She was also second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland. As always up with the pace straight away, she was a game runner-up to Mongolian Saturday, who beat her by a neck.
Green Mask, who ran third in last year’s Al Quoz, was a length and a half behind her in third. The 2014 winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Bobby’s Kitten came home in fourth and Roal Ascot winner Undrafted filled fifth spot. Lady Shipman will probably be one of the quickest out of the gates but her one disadvantage may be that this is a straight course, while she is used to racing around a bend at home.
One of the top sprinters in Europe, seemed to need the race when finishing seventh to Fityaan in the Meydan Sprint. He failed to finish his race off as we know he can in the trial, and came home 3 ¾ lengths behind the winner. He is much better than that showing suggests. His best form has come over 5 furlongs / 1000 metres.
Goldream tackled this distance successfully in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (beating Medicean Man in an incredibly close finish) and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, where he was a neck too good for Rangali, with Muthmir beaten two lengths in third).
Goldream seems best when allowed to adopt a ‘sit and pounce’ style, in other words when waited with just off the pace in the early stages. Such tactics have worked well for quite a few horses on Dubai’s main turf sprint course, but he will need to step up on his seasonal debut form to win this contest.
Won the Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly and King Keorge Stakes at Goodwood last year has sharp form over the minimum trip – but he has won twice over 6 furlongs in England, and gives the impression that it suits his just as well as five. He prepped for the Al Quoz by running a close third behind Lightscameraction and Take Cover over the all-weather track at Lingfield Park a month ago (while giving them weight). Lightscameraction runs in the All-Weather Sprint Championship at Lingfield this Friday.
A five-year-old mare flying the Japanese flag,won the Iibis Summer Dash over 1000 metres at Niigata last August when beating Symboli Disco by 2 lengths. She followed up in the Sho Kitakyushu Kinen (a G3 handicap) three weeks later, beating Big Arthur by 1 ½ lengths after racing prominently throughout. Bel Canto was beaten just a length when fifth to Snow Dragon in the 2014 Sprinters Stakes, but beat just two home when going for the same championship event last year.
Has been a vastly improved sprinter this year, and he goes into this contest as the favourite based on two impressive wins over course and distance. He showed smart form also in 2015, when winning a Listed event at Abu Dhabi and a handicap at Meydan, but he has now taken the step up to the elite. And only in Dubai can that be done via handicaps. Ertijaal ran off 108 on his reappearance, and outclassed his twelve rivals for an emphatic 4-length win.
Divine finished second, three parts of a length in front of Speed Hawk. Ertijaal went straight to the lead, quickened away soon after the halfway stage and was way too good for his rivals. Surprisingly, the handicapper only raised his mark to 113, something that tempted connections to another handicap run rather than a step up to stakes action.
Ertijaal won again of course, this time after having been nicely settle behind the early leader Caspian Prince (finished eighth) through the early stages. Paul Hanagan shook him up with about 300 metres to go, and Ertijaal responded with a strong finish. He won comfortably by 2 lengths from FITYAAN, who beat JUNGLE CAT by a nose to cause an upset in the Meydan Sprint on Super Saturday (Fityaan had two unplaced efforts in between these good runs).
This turf sprint looks quite open on ratings but Ertijaal is still a very obvious and logical selection. He has a lot going for here; right distance, right ground condition, home court advantage and, not to forget, every right to improve again.
Dubai World Cup Carnival on The Hub
Geir Stabell from www.Globeform.info will be providing analysis and ratings throughout feature races during the carnival. Geir is a leading international thoroughbred expert. The founder of Globeform also worked with Racing Post in London, where he held the position as international handicapper. Stabell’s in-depth racing analysis is regularly published in Europe, North America, Dubai and South Africa.