Dubai World Cup Day
Saturday 26th Match 2016
R6 Dubai Golden Shaheen G1 – 1200m 6F Dirt – 1:45am
* Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds. 1 length equals 3 pounds over this distance.
* Runners presented with best Globeform ratings, sires and jockeys.
126 – X Y JET (Kantharos) / E Jaramillo
123 – MUARRAB (Oasis Dream) / P Hanagan
118 – RICH TAPESTRY (Holy Roman Emperor) / G Mosse
117 – SUPER JOCKEY (Sandtrap) / J Moreira
116 – REYNALDOTHEWIZARD (Speightstown) / R Mullen
113 – CONFRONTATION (War Pass) / W Buick
109 – DOMINEER (Shamardal) / F Dettori
108 – MORAWIJ (Exceed And Excel) / C Hayes
106 – MASTER KOCHANGWONG (Commands) / D Whyte
105 – KIFAAH (Dubawi) / D O’Neill
Looks very much the one to beat here. A top class sprinter who missed much of 2015 due to injury sustained in the spring, X Y Jet been quite explosive at Gulfstream Park this winter and looks just the right type for this race. He returned from a near seven-month break to win at Monmouth Park last September, then shipped south and gained an easy win at Gulfstream in November before taking a step up in class in the Mr Prospector Handicap at the same venue in December, a race he won most impressively by over nine lengths from Grande Shores (who was third to DWC contender Mshawish on his next outing).
X Y Jet stopped the clocks in 1.08.4, running just a couple of lengths slower than the track record and doing so with ease. His next win in the Sunshine Millions Sprint over the same trip four weeks later was almost as fast and visually just as impressive.
Again, he quickened right away from his rivals coming into the straight and again he powered right away from them to beat Wildcat Red (a useful sprinter himself) by 4 ¼ lengths.
Despite not being the super fast from the stalls, X Y Jet is one of those few who goes straight to the lead and keeps on running faster than the rest all the way to the winning post. He will get his stiffest test to date in the Golden Shaheen, but is impossible to oppose.
His prep race, the 6.5-furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint on February 27, resulted in another solid win and he comes here at the top of his form. This is his optimum trip.
Impressed in the Mahab Al Shimaal three weeks ago. His easy success while clocking the excellent time of 1.10.2 for the 1200 metres made him a serious Golden Shaheen contender. He is the most likely danger to our selection. Muarrab met Rich Tapestry for a second time this season on Super Saturday having been put readily in his place by the Hong Kong sprinter in February.
This time the tables were turned if Muarrab breaking fast from the stalls and went to the lead. Rich Tapestry, a heavy favourite, was settled in second but when Muarrab kicked on as they entered the home straight, Rich Tapestry was unable to do the same. Muarrab and Paul Hanagan soon put the race to bed.
By the time they passed the winning post the gap back to the runner-up was an impressive 5 ¼ lengths. Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s second string Kifaah went past a tiring Rich Tapestry in the last few strides to take second.
The latter clearly ran below par but take nothing away from Muarrab, he ran a big race on the day. He did however, get things very much his own way on the lead. That is unlikely to happen here, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with pressure throughout – something X Y Jet is likely to make sure he gets.
Was third behind Secret Circle and Super Jockey in this race last year, made virtually all when beating Muarrab by 1 ½ lengths in the Al Shindagha Sprint over this distance in February. Was beaten 6 ½ lengths when third to the same rival in the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday.
Gerald Mosse settled Rich Tapestry just behind Muarrab on that occasion, clearly not wanting a speed duel and a hard race as Rich Tapestry failed to pick up in the straight. Perhaps the horse was simply unhappy not to be allowed to go to the lead.
This battle hardened Hong Kong sprinter should not be written off on the basis of his most recent run. Don’t forget that Rich Tapestry owns quite a CV, having beaten Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile champion Goldencents in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in 2014, when he was also runner-up in the Golden Shaheen (three parts of a length behind Sterling City).
Ran the race of his life here twelve months ago when making sure the Bob Baffert-trained winner had to work for his money. Super Jockey, ridden by Ryan Moore, came from midpack to challenge Secret Circle through the last 300 metres but failed by a head.
The New Zealand bred son of Sandtrap ran a good second to Al Quoz contender Not Listenin’tome in the National Day Cup over 1000 metres on turf at Sha Tin last October, but was below form in the Jockey Club Sprint (beat just one) in November and Centenary Sprint Cup in January (beat just two) – both at Sha Tin.
Won the 2013 edition of this race defeating Balmont Mast by a quarter of a length, with 2012 winner Krypton Factor back in third. The old fan favourite ran just twice last year, winning a Listed event before once more beating Krypton Factor in the Al Shindagha Sprint.
‘Reynaldo’ has had two races this season, coming back from an 11-month break to win the same Listed event in January (by almost three lengths from Godolphin Mile candidate Cool Cowboy), before running third to Rich Tapestry in the Al Shindagha on February 11. He bypassed the prep on Super Saturday and thus comes here fresh, something that has worked well in the past. A true course and distance specialist, he holds place claims.
Improved when winning the Firebreak Stakes over 1600 metres in early February. He had been out of action for almost seven months but showed no signs of being rusty as he came with a late surge to take the race by 2 lengths from Godolphin Mile contender One Man Band (an impressive winner on his next start).
Le Bernardin, who was coming off a win in the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, filled fourth place while the heavy favourite Mubtaahij had to settle for fifth.
This was Confrontation’s sixth success from 15 starts. He has also finished second on six occasions, giving him a remarkable 80% top-two strike rate. He was initially being aimed at the Godolphin Mile but switched to the Shaheen when stable companion Marking went the other way.
Confrontation seems to be on the upgrade but does he have enough speed for this contest?
R7 Dubai Turf G1 1800m (9F) Turf – 2:45am
122 – INTILAAQ (Dynaformer / P Hanagan
116 – VERY SPECIAL (Lope De Vega) / J Doyle
116 – EURO CHARLINE (Myboycharlie) /
119 – REAL STEEL (Deep Impact) / R Moore
114p – TRYSTER (Shamardal) / W Buick
117 – FLAMBOYANT (Peer Gynt) / B Blanc
115 – THE CORSICAN (Galileo) / J Spencer
115 – GABRIAL (Dark Angel) / S De Sousa
111 – FORRIES WALTZ (Greys Inn) / C Soumillon
111 – GHAAMER (Hard Spun) / T O’Shea
110 – FARRIER (Tapit) / R Mullen
110 – HARRY’S SON (Haradasun) / A Delpech
110 – ERTIJAAL (AUS) (Hard Spun) / D O’Neill
109 – BATASEEN (Teofilo) / P Dobbs
108 – FORJATT (Iffraaj) / C Hayes
The best horse going into this turf contest and is open to further improvement. A winner of three of his five starts, Intilaaq was beaten only once as a three-year-old last term when he finished down the field in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. Such a tough task probably came way too soon for him. He had raced only twice previously taking third in an Ascot maiden at two and winning a Newbury maiden on his reappearance at three.
Intilaaq was the talk of the town after his Newbury race, which he won by 8 lengths from the favourite Keble after making all and quickening right away from his rivals approaching the furlong-marker. He looked top class and connections went for a supplementary gamble into the Guineas. The gamble did not pay off but, passing the winning post 13 lengths behind winner Gleneagles while looking to be out of his comfort zone, Intilaaq was not at all disgraced in the mile classic.
A break of over two months followed and the Roger Varian trainee returned in a well contested Listed event over 10 furlongs at Newbury in July, which he won readily by 2 ½ lengths from Consort (who was coming off a third to Gleneagles at Royal Ascot). The two three-year-old were well clear at the finish. Dual Listed winner Firefighting was beaten almost ten lengths in third place.
He was third once more, beaten 6 ½ lengths, as Intilaaq followed up with a visually taking performance to win the the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock in August. Intilaaq won this event by 5 lengths from the in-form Master Carpenter. He was always prominent, went to the lead with under a mile to go and kicked away with half a mile to go. The Rose Of Lancaster is run over an extended ten-furlong trip, and the Dubai Turf distance is sure to suit Intilaaq.
His good tactical speed should help him get a good position early on, and his stamina will be valuable at the business end of the contest. He is the obvious selection.
Well in at the weights and could surprise a few here. Godolphin’s filly completed the Cape Verdi / Balanchine double. She led virtually throughout to beat Excilly easily by 3 lengths in the Cape Verdi over 1600 metres in February, and James Doyle employed the same tactics as she stepped up in class and distance in the Balanchine three weeks ago.
Very Special was really attacking from the front that day, and moved up a gear as she came into the home straight. Last year’s Dubai Turf fourth EURO CHARLINE was favourite but had no chance against Very Special, who ran on strongly to the line and beat her chief rival by 2 ½ lengths. She was even carrying 1,5kg (3lb) more than Euro Charline.
The latter was making her first start of the year, she raced too keenly and was undoubtedly compromised by the way the race was run. Nevertheless, Very Special was so much the best and she will will probably beat Euro Charline again as they represent the fairer sex in the Dubai Turf.
A four-year-old son of champion Deep Impact trained by Yoshito Yahagi, also holds a strong chance here. He is versatile but 1800 metres seems to be ideal for this Japanese challenger. He tackled this distance on his first start of the year, when running a brave race for third in the Nakayama Kinen on February 28. The race was won by Duramente – who is one of the favourites for the Sheema.
He made a taking comeback to hold a late charge from Ambitious by a neck, while Real Steel was just a half-length further adrift in third place. Real Steel was well fancied for this race and his performance was by no means a surprise.
He was runner-up in three hot events last year; to Duramente in the Japanese 2,000 Guineas over 2000 metres, to Lia Fail in the Japanese St. Leger Trial over 2400 metres, and to Kitasan Black in the St. Leger – a classic contested over 3,000 metres. Real Steel actually beat Duramente in a Group 3 race over 1800 metres early on in 2015. He is a very game and consistent runner and looks sure to go close here.
Has been priced up at 33-1 by some bookmakers and that makes him an each-way bet. US turf runners seldom cut much ice in races like this but Flamboyant is a bit different. He is an ex-French runner who showed smart form at Pornichet and Cagnes as a young horse, he produced some good performances in the US last year, and he has turned a corner at Santa Anita this winter, to win the San Ganriel Stakes over 9 furlongs and the San Marcos Stakes over 10 furlongs, both in good style.
Flamboyant was a 46-1 winner when finishing strongly to catch odds-son favourite Obviously in the San Gabriel in early January. It was no fluke. He came back to take the San Marcos the following month, this time beating the French G3 winner Gaga A readily by just under a length. Flamboyant comes here right at the top of his game, he will be well suited by the distance and the likely ground conditions. A strong pace will be to his advantage. But for Intilaaq, this 33-1 shot is right up there with the best of the rest on ratings.
Coming off two visuallly impressive off-the-pace wins over this turf course. He is sure to be the local favourite and looks like being the international favourite too. This race represents a step up in class for the Godolphin runner but he has a fine turn of foot, he has won his two races here at Meydan with such ease, and he is probably a fair bit better than his bare rating indicates. How good is this son of Shamardal? World Cup night should give us the answer. He came from last to first to win the Jebel Hatta, run over this trip three weeks ago.
Tryster was considered the banker of the day, having humiliated his rivals in the Dubai Millennium Stakes just over two weeks earlier, and it was impossible not to be taken by the manner of his victory.
He swooped past horses at the finish to win by 1 ½ lengths from Farrier, with Ertijaal (Aus) back in third. However, Tryster did not need to improve on his previous best to win that day and he has become a bit of a ‘hype’ horse in Dubai. He is up against a much stronger field this time and may be a favourite worth taking on.
R8 Dubai Sheema Classic G1 – 2400m 12f Dirt – 3:20am
121 – DURAMENTE (King Kamehameha) / M Demuro
120 – HIGHLAND REEL (Galileo) / R Moore
119 – POSTPONED (Dubawi) / A Atzeni
116 – DARIYAN (Shamardal) / C Soumillon
116 – LAST IMPACT (Deep Impact) / J Moreira
116 – GAILO CHOP (Deportivo) / T Jarnet
115 – ONE AND ONLY (Heart’s Cry) / Y Take
112 – SHEIKHZAYEDROAD (Dubawi) / M Harley
107 – THE BLUE EYE (Dubawi) / H Bentley
Was the top three-year-old in Japan in 2015, when he won the 2,000 Guineas (Satsuki Sho) at Nakayama in April and the Derby (Tokyo Yushun). He sustained injuries to both his forelegs and found himself on the sidelines when the big autumn races were staged. The son of King Kamehameha came back to racing action at Nakayama a month prior to World Cup night, when he beat Ambitious by a neck to win the Nakayama Kinen over 1800 metres.
Dubai Turf contender Real Steel finished third. Duramente’s Guineas success came at the chief expense of just Real Steel, who is also owned by Sunday Racing Co Ltd. Duramente won the 2,000-metres contest readily by 1 ½ lengths. Eventual St. Leger winner Kitasan Black was third. Duramente stepped successfully up to 2,400 metres in the Derby six weeks later.
Quite dominant once more, the Mirco Demuro ridden favourite obliged by almost two lengths from Satono Rasen, with Satono Crown back in third (both are G2 winners). Duramente takes the highest Globeform rating into the Sheema Classic, and he is likely to find further improvement. So he easy to like, though he is also a horse who has been injured and paused for a long time – something that is always a bit of a worry. Still, his comeback win was pretty faultless and he has a good chance.
Could improve as a four-year-old, having been rather highly strung and immature as a three-year-old, when he landed the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August and the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December. The latter run was by far his best performance to date and he has been rested since.
The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo was heavily backed with UK bookmakers before his run at Sha Tin, where he met last year’s winner of the Vase, the well established top flight runner Flintshire.
Highland Reel went by Flintshire in a matter of strides inside the last 200 metres, and beat him quite easily by 1 ½ lengths. Jockey Ryan Moore had Highland Reel in front from the outset (he led all the way in the Secretariat) but took him back to third at the halfway stage.
Highland Reel was definitely a mentally stronger, more grown up, performer when he came to Hong Kong – via Australia, where he had run third behind Winx and Criterion in the Cox Plate seven weeks earlier.
A very smart performer in England last year, winning the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot when trained by Luca Cumani. He had been beaten into third behind Snow Sky and Eagle Top at the Royal Ascot meeting five weeks earlier, but turned the tables on both when it mattered the most – albeit only just got the better of Eagle Top, who he beat by a nose.
It was Postponed’s fourth career win, and he gained a fifth by landing the Prix Foy at Longchamp in September. He beat Spiritjim by three parts of a length that day, with last year’s Sheema winner Dolniya back in fourth. Postponed is ideally suited by 2400 metres, and he goes well on any ground.
His prep run for the Sheema came in the City Of Gold Stakes on Super Saturday, when he was a visually impressive 3-length winner over Dariyan, who reopposes here. Postponed, now in the care of Roger Varian, is defintely a leading player. His smooth win here three weeks ago is the main factor as he is made our selection in this year’s Sheema Classic.
Was easily beaten by Postponed when runner-up in the City Of Gold, but. He could well be open to improvement but to close a gap like that in three weeks seems unlikely. He has also been beaten by Highland Reel, who had him back in third in last year’s Hong Kong Vase.
Dariyan, effective from 2000 to 2400 metres, seems to act on any ground. He is normally held up at the back of the field though has the speed to take up a more prominent position if needed.
Contributed to a surprise exacta when narrowly beaten by Shonan Pandora in the Japan Cup last November, when he was ridden by Ryan Moore. The son of champion Deep Impact ran the race of his life that day, as he had beat the favourite Lovely Day by a neck for second.
It was not a vintage renewal of the race though, and Last Impact will find it tougher in the Sheema. He was beaten three lengths when sixth to Duramente in the Nakayama Kine last month (when receiving 1.5kg / 3lb from the winner).
Produced his best form to date when he gained top level success beating Rising Romance by 1 ½ lengths in the Mackinnon Stakes over 2000 metres at Flemington in Australia last October (he led early, went clear and fought back really well after being slightly headed 200 metres out).
The ex-English Contributor was half a length further adrift in third. The French trained challenger needs to improve on that form to make the frame here. He ran well on his seasonal debut at Chantilly early this month, taking third behind the Fabre duo Elliptique and Manatee (Gold Cup runner) in the Prix Darshaan over 1900 metres.
R9 Dubai World Cup G1 – 2000m 10f Dirt – 4:00am
124 – CALIFORNIA CHROME (Lucky Pulpit) / V Espinoza
123 – KEEN ICE (Curlin) / R Moore
121 – FROSTED (Tapit) / W Buick
120 – MSHAWISH (Medaglia d’Oro) / F Dettori
118 – HOPPERTUNITY (Any Given Saturday) / F Prat
117 – SPECIAL FIGHTER (Teofilo) / F Jara
116 – MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi) / C Soumillon
115 – HOKKO TARUMAE (King Kamehameha) / H Miyuki
115 – VADAMOS (Monsun) / V Cheminaud
114 – TELETEXT (Empire Maker) / S De Sousa
114 – GUN PIT (Dubawi) / J Moreira
114 – CANDY BOY (Candy Ride) / P Dobbs
Looked in fine shape when winning a handicap under top weight at this venue in February. Covering the full World Cup distance he bossed the field for a comfortable 2-length win over Storm Belt (a 105-rated horse who was receiving 7kg / 15,5lb).
Storm Belt was next seen finishing eighth, beaten 14 ¼ lengths behind Special Fighter in the Al Maktoum Challenge III. California Chrome did not beat much in the handicap, though was giving plenty of weight to his rivals and created a favourable impression. North America’s hero of 2014 has certainly retained his enthusiasm for the game.
His come-back win in the San Pasqual Stakes over 8.5 furlong (1700 m.) at Santa Anita in January was not as visually impressive, but California Chrome was never in any real danger as he won by 1 ¼ lengths from Imperative with subsequent San Antonio winner Hoppertunity back in third.
The World Cup will be more a stamina test, something that will be to Hoppertunity’s liking, but there is no reason to believe that the Baffert horse can reverse the form with California Chrome, who had been off since the 2105 World Cup when winning the San Pasqual.
The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was runner-up in this $10million event twelve months ago when he failed to run up to his best. He seems to be sending out the right signals these days and has an obvious chance of going one better.
This is a tough field, however, and to make him a short priced favourite does not make much sense.
Was disappointing here on Super Saturday when he was beaten by six horses in the Al Maktoum Challenge III, most notably by Special Fighter – who was a shock winner and passed the winning post 12 lengths in front of Keen Ice. Jockey Ryan Moore was easy on him once it was obvious he could not make the frame, so it is fair to assume that Keen Ice could have finished closer.
Still, this run was way below his best and also way below the form he had shown when sixth to Mshawish in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in February. Keen Ice was staying on nicely at the end that day, and stamina is his forte.
He made full use of it when beating American Pharoah and Frosted in last year’s Travers Stakes at Saratoga, a race run over the same distance as the World Cup. He was also quite solid when fourth to Effinex in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs less than three weeks after the Breeders’ Cup, where he was badly compromised by the pace scenario and beaten a long way into fourth behind American Pharoah.
Pace is the key to this horse. The Meydan dirt track has been kind to speed horses meaning that a horse like Keen Ice really needs quick early fractions to have a chance.
If he gets that, well then he could beat them all. Some bookmakers pushed him out to as big as 25-1 after Super Saturday. That was an absolute over-reaction to one dull run – and well he is well worth a small each-way investment.
May be the one to side with in what looks quite an open World Cup. Not quite top class as a three-year-old, he did achieve G1 status when winning the Wood Memorial. He ran some fine races behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah last year and he improved on that form when winning at Meydan on his seasonal debut.
The Al Maktoum Challenge II, staged over 1900 metres (9.5 fur.) on February 4, was chosen as his seasonal debut. Frosted was slightly odds-on and he won the race very easily. William Buick had the grey colt nicely settled behind the early leader, Munaaser, and sent him on with about 300 metres to go.
Frosted soon asserted and he powered away for a 5-length win over Gold City (who was sixth in last year’s Godolphin Mile), with next-time-out-winner Faulkner just pipping Munaaser for fourth place.
Frosted returned Globeform 121. Another step up, which seems likely, would make him hard to beat in the World Cup. Stepping up to 2000 metres will not be a worry.
Frosted was second to American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont Stakes, having filled fourth place behind the same rival in the Kentucky Derby, and he showed a lot of grit also when third in the Travers Stakes (where he put pressure on American Pharoah throughout, and Keen Ice went by them both close home).
Frosted is a versatile runner. He can take up a prominent position, be placed in midpack, or held up at the rear (as he was both in the Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby). That his rider has such options is a big plus in a race like this. As is his experience with, and obvious liking for, the Meydan course. Frosted is our selection.
Began his career on turf and has progressed to become a very good one too. He won the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap last winter before running third to Solow in the Dubai Turf. This time Mshawish is set for the World Cup. Certainly the most ground versatile of the big race contenders, the son of Medaglia d’Oro is coming off a career best performance having captured the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream in February.
Mshawish travelled very strongly just off the pace and proved much too good for the reliable yardstick Valid, who he had beaten also when taking the Hal’s Hope Stakes at the same venue four weeks earlier.
Switching Mshawish to dirt has been a success and, although the competition will be stronger and the distance 200 metres longer, he may well step up again at Meydan. Recent form counts for a lot in racing, and the Donn has been a good guide to the World Cup in the past.
Mshawish has a lot going for him. The one question mark is the distance is if he will he stay 2,000 metres? The way he travelled in the Donn, very strongly throughout, suggested he might well get this trip.
Representing Bob Baffert, this contender is one that will be hoping for a really strong pace at Meydan. A five-year-old son of Any Given Saturday, he is coming off a game win in the San Antonio Stakes over 9 furlongs at Santa Anita in February when beat Imperative in a close photo finish.
Imperative had finished in front of Hoppertunity when these two filled second and third behind California Chrome in the San Pasqual four weeks earlier. The shorter distance, and the lack of pace, worked against Hoppertunity that day. It is also worth noting that he carried two pounds more than his rivals. He is a very game and tough runner, who joined the US elite with a win in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in 2014.
He ran second in that event last year (three parts of a length behind BC Classic runner-up Effinex), after having filled second also in the Awesome Again at Santa Anita (behind Smooth Roller) and Fayette Stakes at Keeneland (behind Race Day).
Hoppertunity has not been given the chance to tackle 10 furlongs more than twice and he was a nose from Grade 1 victory in one of these races (pipped by Hard Aces in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita). It will be interesting to see him at Meydan. He may be one of the longshots, but he has a bang in-form Baffert in his corner, and the champion trainer has had ‘DWC day’ ticked off in Hoppertunity’s diary for some time.
Caused one of the biggest upsets at the Carnival when running his rivals into the ground for a solid 4 ½-length win of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III on Super Saturday. Tackling the World Cup distance, he led throughout and quickened from the front early in the straight.
He ran on in great style under jockey Fernando Jara to win the race in a sharp 2.03.09 – a new track record. Gun Pit, an accomplished dirt runner from Hong Kong finished second, with another 2 ¾ lengths back to Faulkner in third. This trifecta was quite a surprise.
The two favourites Mubtaahij (fourth) and Keen Ice (seventh) both had a serious off day, but Special Fighter’s performance was still of a high level. Can he repeat it? After all it was markedly better than anything he had achieved in his 17 previous races.
Though it is worth bearing in mind that he won for fun when scooting up by 5 lengths in a handicap in January, and that he lost shoes when sixth behind Frosted in the second round of the Al Maktoum series. It’s a bit harder to see Special Fighter winning the World Cup than it is to write him off, but stranger things have happened.
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.