Variety Club / Gold Circle-DWC (p)
8 March 2014
Tomorrow’s ‘Super Saturday’ at Meydan, the dress-rehearsal for Dubai World Cup night in three weeks time, has attracted a host of top equine stars, notably Variety Club - twice South African Horse Of The Year.
Trained by Joey Ramsden, the son of Var created a massive impression on his Dubai debut in the Firebreak Stakes last month, demolishing his eight rivals in effortless fashion. The five-year-old is a confident selection to follow up in the Burj Nahaar over 1600m on Tapeta, a Group 3 race that is worth $120,000 to the winner.
Round III of the Maktoum Challenge, the opening Group 1 event, sees Saeed bin Suroor bid to extend his remarkable record in the contest. The Emarati trainer has landed the prize on no fewer than nine occasions and has sound claims of securing a 10th victory with African Story or Prince Bishop, winner of Round II. Preference is for the former because he was unlucky behind Prince Bishop last month, having met trouble in running before storming home late. He loves the Tapeta surface and looks the one to beat.
The international challenge is led by 2013 UAE Derby runner-up Elleval, trained by David Marnane. He has taken well to Tapeta and arrives in search of a quick double after a recent victory over this course and distance. He produced an impressive turn of foot to land the spoils, stopping the clock in slick time.
Hat-trick-chasing Sanshaawes, trained by Mike de Kock, ought to make his presence felt as the South African handler chases his first Maktoum Challenge Round III victory since Asiatic Boy won in 2009. Sanshaawes needs to raise his game, stepping up to Group 1 level, but warrants consideration in his current form.
Side Glance, winner of the Group 1 MacKinnon Stakes in Melbourne last year, must be respected, along with local hope Surfer, fourth in this race 12 months ago.
The other Group 1 race, the Jebel Hatta over 1800m on turf, has attracted a classy 14-runner field, with De Kock’s exciting charge, Vercingetorix, boasting solid credentials.
The Silvano colt has yet to meet defeat in five starts and impressed on his Dubai debut last month, quickening nicely to score from Code Of Honour.
The South African trainer has an impressive record in the Jebel Hatta, having won it four times, the last in 2012 with Master Of The Hounds.
In a strong renewal, David Simcock-trained British hope Trade Storm is one to consider under Jamie Spencer. Twice a winner at Meydan, he caught the eye on Saturday last week in the Zabeel Mile (Group 2) behind French winner Mshawish. Settled at the back of the field in a steadily run race, he ran on well in the closing stages and should be spot-on for this.
Last year Sajjhaa became only the second filly to win the Jebel Hatta and L’Amour De Ma Vie bids to follow in her hoof prints. She is the only filly in the line-up.
Trained in France by Pia Brandt, she ran out a decisive winner of the Balanchine Stakes over the same course and distance. The daughter of Dansili warrants consideration at decent odds.
The pair should dominate the 1000m event on turf but Shea Shea is fancied to take the prize for De Kock under regular rider Christophe Soumillon. He has finished in front of Sole Power in four of their five clashes, twice over this course and distance last year.
In the Mahab Al Shimaal, De Kock saddles classy Soft Falling Rain. The four-year-old, unbeaten in three starts at Meydan, returns from break and his hopes have been dealt a blow with a wide draw in the 14-runner event. He tackles a strong field of seasoned and experienced sprinters, many race-fit and in form, and doesn’t appeal at short odds.
Irish colt He’s No Saint can enhance his UAE Derby claims in the Al Bastakiya, the $250,000 Listed race. Returning from a break, he looked a much-improved horse when winning the Meydan Classic Trial last month on his Dubai debut. He’s No Saint is open to further improvement stepping up in trip and he hails from a yard enjoying a successful Dubai Carnival.
Godolphin, successful with Secret Number last year, are represented by Emirates Flyer, runner-up in the UAE 2000 Guineas. He looks a threat, despite concerns about the 1900m trip.
Lightly raced Asmar could emerge a bigger danger to the Irish colt, now he is stepping up in distance. He has progressed with each run and has left the impression he has more to offer.
Extract from Tab News