- Perusing the race charts and pp’s, I haven’t seen anything too interesting during this midweek of racing; perhaps things are on hold because everyone who’s anyone is over in Dubai and we’re left with the second stringers. Kinda like the spring training games before the World Baseball Championships ended.
As for Dubai, these races are just guessing games really. You guys aren't really going to get up early and bet these things, are you? I have enough trouble with "normal" races; here you have horses from different countries, the incomplete running lines, Timeform ratings, turf horses trying dirt for the first time, etc., Here’s an excerpt from an Andy Beyer chat session in the Form before the Breeders’ Cup on how to compare the European figures with ours:
The popular rule of thumb is to subtract 12-14 points from the Timeform numbers to get the Beyer equivalent. It's not perfect (and it doesn't work well with poorer horses) but it's OK with the type who come to the Breeders' Cup. For timeform, a superhorse might get a rating of 140; for us, a 126 would be superhorse material.That’s about all the handicapping help you’re gonna get out of me – check out this page in the Form for free past performances and Alan Shuback’s analyses. John at Not to the Swift, brimming with confidence, bordering on cockiness, really, after his big scores last weekend, provides some picks and oh yeah, there’s also the excellent – and I mean excellent Dubai International Racing Carnival Blog, where you can read comments by a lot of trainers about how great their horses are doing.
Don’t think I’ll be doing much, if any serious wagering, but I will get up to watch for the quality of the telecast of nothing else. If we’re lucky, they’ll be a stewards inquiry like there was in the sprint last year, when we were treated to live coverage of the stewards advising the jockeys of their decision. I particularly like the sprint; six furlongs out of the chute, straight down the giant stretch – the longest quarter horse race in the world.
The UAE Derby is perhaps of the most interest here because of its potential to yield a Kentucky Derby candidate. I’ve been reading conflicting reports of whether or not Discreet Cat has any chance of running for the roses. Godolophin’s racing manager Simon Crisford told the Form:
"It's highly questionable whether a mile and an eighth is best for him....He may turn out to be a miler or a seven-furlong horse.Still, he didn’t rule it out "if he wins and wins well.” [Bloodhorse] Shuback likes Simpatico Bribon, who was seriously considered for the Dubai World Cup before [trainer Ian] Jory settled on this easier spot. He’s a Chilean colt who is actually four years old by Northern Hemisphere standards. He’s won seven in a row including a big race over the track in his last. Simpatico Bribon is by Election Day, a son of Sadlers Wells out of a mare by Sayaret, a son of Fappiano who is very closely (3x2) inbred to Dr. Fager.
"He's short on experience and long on the hype. He strikes us as a colt who will get better as the year goes on."
Ouija Board is back as a five year old to take on the boys in the mile and a half Sheema on the turf. Though it’s her first race since winning the Hong Kong Vase in December, trainer Ed Dunlop is treating the race as the "her last of last season,” and will give her a break afterwards before campaigning her towards the Breeders Cup. He seemed to be hedging on this race however.
"Many good horses have come here and run badly, because of the time of year or whatever.In the big race, for an obscene six million bucks, a lot of people seem to like the Japanese invader Kane Hekili, and for good reason. He has eight wins in 12 lifetimes starts, and has taken six of his last seven starts with Timeform ratings that are tops in the field, and, based on Beyer’s criteria, more than competitive with the American contenders. He’s by Fuji Kiseki, a son of Sunday Silence, out of a Deputy Minister mare who is a half sister to the stallion Silver Deputy and U.S. stakes winner Buzzy’s Gold.
"It is a class race and she is no certainty on the formbook either.
"But she does look extremely well and she is now at the same weight as she was for her last two races....We won't know until she runs whether she is the same or not but at least we can say that the signs are good.” [Sporting Life]
I followed Magna Graduate as he improved last fall, and I for one still have some capital to spend on him. He was crushed by Brass Hat in the sloppy Donn, but you can certainly excuse his performance (and explain Brass Hat’s big Beyer) based on the difficult conditions that day. Perhaps that could create some value on Magna Graduate on Saturday, and Pletcher expressed confidence, saying that the colt was “getting over the ground (at Nad al Sheba Racecourse) extremely well,” but pointing out that the best odds may be overseas.
“His American form fits very well with the other American horses here,” he added. “It looks like he might be a little bit of an outsider in the public’s eye, but he might be a shorter price at home.”
English bookmakers have rated Magna Graduate at 14-to-1, with Brass Hat tabbed at 11-to-2 and the third choice behind Godolphin’s even-money favorite Electrocutionist, who will be making only his second start on dirt, and Japanese champion Kane Hekili at 9-to-2. However, American fans would almost certainly not evaluate the 11-horse field and the five who will run under American flags in that manner. [Dubai Int’l Racing Carnival Blog]