Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekend Picks and Analysis - Dubai

Overview: The Dubai World Cup Meeting is always a highlight of the spring. Like any top class races these are attractive affairs to have a stab at. My policy for this space though is that any international races handicapped do not get included in the overall handicapping scorecard, which has been slumping severely in March. Perhaps this is just what I need to get on track. Six top class races and no accountability if I crash and burn! All the Past Performances have been consolidated into one file so to follow along or handicap the races yourself simply scroll though the file linked below.

Dubai World Cup Past Performances - Full Card

Godolphin Mile
It is always a highest priority for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stable to do well on World Cup night. Every year he attempts to stack his hand to produce a contender in each race. If he doesn't have one he buys one. But sometimes he buys a horse just to have one not because they're actually good enough to win. I think that is definitely the case with Blackat Blackitten in this race. He is an allowance quality horse and I would not go anywhere near him. He has had some success at the Carnival but in general the quality of racing is not that great. I expect him to lose by a greater margin to his stablemate than he did in his last. Elusive Warning is an exciting prospect for Godolphin. He has barely put a foot wrong thus far but he is terribly inexperienced. I think he has the talent to run the race but I wonder if he'll have the guts. Barcola will keep him keyed up from the outside and I think the pace could be quite quick. A quick pace should suit Diamond Stripes but I'm not sure I love his inability to close the deal. Diamond Stripes is a bit of an underachiever. While he is a must use in the exotics he doesn't have much value in the win column. I am generally biased towards American horses in international dirt events, generally they're much better than the rest. That is why I'm giving Barcola an extra look despite his outside post. He is the fastest horse in the race and only Elusive Warning looks capable of pressing him. He is the kind of horse that can get away even when setting a very quick pace, as long as he settles. He does not need to improve in order to beat this field. A mile is perfect for him and Barcola is my primary selection. I would use Elusive Warning just in case he is something special but most likely he'll chase the speed and fade in the final quarter. I do have an eye on a bomb in here. Don Renato is a solid horse at the distance. He is tough and consistent and although his form is Saudi Arabian he did run within a half length of Premuim Tap, who surprisingly has not entered this race as his pre-World Cup jog. The quality is not very high in this race and Don Renato has given a quality horse a very tough race. He may pick up a piece.

1) Barcola
2) Elusive Warning
3) Don Renato

UAE Derby
Saeed bin Suroor and Mike de Kock have dominated this race for years and between their 5 entrants they look set to do so again. de Kock has the very tough pair of Royal Vintage and Honour Devil. One of those two is the likely winner unless a Godolphin horse can improve. I thought the Al Bastakiya was a telling race and the principles from that race should dominate here again. Honour Devil suffered his first lifetime defeat that day going down to Royal Vintage by just a head. He looked as though he was struggling to finish out the race and I think he is less solid at 9f than his stablemate. Royal Vintage has also only lost once and that was to Honour Devil but he should widen the margin as the distance increases. Running back at the same distance this time means they should be close but I still favor Royal Vintage. I think he'll be the better horse once he puts it all together. Numaany is the big danger to the de Kock pair. Despite having the same number of career starts he is definitely more babyish. I loved his last race though. He is not suited that well by going to the front but he did the donkey work anyway and was not quitting. If they take him off the pace of Massive Drama he should be primed for a lifetime best effort. I'm not sure if it will be enough but it just might be.

1) Royal Vintage
2) Numaany
3) Honour Devil

Dubai Golden Shaheen
This is another situation where Godolphin has attempted to buy the race and this time I think they've done a great job. Diabolical was, in my opinion, the best 6f horse in America last year. He was purchased mid-season and taken out of training to point for this race and it looked as though it backfired when he ran the worst sprint of his life in his debut at Nad al Sheba. But that proved just to be a bit of rust. Last time out he showed that he's still got the stuff with a stylish victory. He was better than his American competition when he left but is he still better now? Americans do speed better than anyone else in the world and i think you have to restrict yourself to the US entrants (including Diabolical). Tactical speed has often done the trick in this race so perhaps Bushwacker, Barbecue Eddie and Esperamos might not all be best served tactically. Barbecue Eddie is the speed of the speed though and he has to be well respected because of that fact. He's a stubborn horse when he wants to be but traditional dirt might not be his best surface. Idiot Proof is solid and classy but has turned into a bit of a hanger in his last two races. I like him to hit the board but he's really just a poor man's Diabolical. Benny the Bull could not handle Diabolical or Idiot Proof when they met but he seems to have come of age in his last two races. He was thoroughly dominant in both races and he looks hard to deny here. I'm not sure what the straight course will do to him mentally as a lot of late runners settle in on the straights and don't start to rev themselves up until the turn. They get used to turns being the signal to get moving. He won't get that here and he may have traffic problems. I think it will be very tight between he and Diabolical at the line and I think the Godolphin star will just shade him in a photo.

1) Diabolical
2) Benny The Bull
3) Idiot Proof

1 comment:

peeptoad said...

The American horses look like a virtual lock in the Golden Shaheen. Diabolical's first start of the season saw him stumble at the start and he still managed to finish 4th. I thought to myself that if he rebounded and won his next start he'd be Godolphin's best shot at hitting the winner's circle on World Cup day. I still think he's their best hope...Idiot Proof adds blinks and should benefit from a fast dirt track. He'll be on the outside in the straightaway and should run well. And, of course, Benny the Bull off his last race looks formidable. The other horse that may be able to slip into the frame is Cobalt Blue, if he can close from off the pace. He'll have to avoid traffic and he may get pinned inside from the one-hole. Expecting a U.S. sweep here...
I like both the Godolphin runners in the Mile...and I respectfully disagree about Blackat Blackitten because he's improved dramatically since the switch to dirt. Both he and Elusive Warning should be in the frame. I also like Baharah and Barcola, although the latter will have to clear the field from the outside. Baharah switches to dirt from synth, but he has the breeding to be successful.
And the UAE looks like a toss between both De Kock runners. I prefer Royal Vintage however, because he's running third off the bench. I think Devil had the advantage over him two back due to being one up in starts on him. Vintage beat him in the subsequent race, and I expect a knockout performance from him here. Interested to see what Cocoa Beach does...she's been beating up on weaker, but may have the talent to do some damage. Wonder of she'll be sent to NA to run later in the year?