This handicapping piece is written in English to accommodate our American racing friends. The focus is of course Scandinavian/American.
Race 1. Handicap 6 furlongs (dirt)
Top weighted 1 I Kirk by Swedish champion sire Eishin Dunkirk (USA) is reportedly training very well. He has progressed nicely with age but is likely to need the run. Also, giving weight all-around won’t be easy. 5 Pop the Hood is now with Doug Watson. Pop the Hood is likely to break near the lead and rates well. Outsider. Fellow American, 2 Honorable Treasure has shown good form before shipping overseas. He is fast, but not overly fast and is able to press the pace. The distance is on the shorter side for him, but I was very impressed with him when second to Audible in the Cherokee Run Stakes. 4 Almanaara has the pace to be in control early. The 370 000 Guineas purchase is a brother to sire Dark Angel. Almanaara knows the track and has been very consistent albeit perhaps too high in the weights? Godolphin’s 8 Laieth is an unknown quantity here at Meydan. The Dubawi gelding could be a good one.
2 Honorable Treasure – 4 Almanaara – 8 Laieth
Race 2 Handicap 14 furlongs (turf)
The second race will promote stamina and 7 Suspicious Mind is a winner of the Danish St. Leger over the distance (not noted in the form at Emirates Racing). He also won the Derby in Denmark and is established in the Scandinavian elite when it comes to one and a half mile races. He is thought to need the race before performing at peak form. Godolphin’s two runners are both carrying top weight. 2 Ispolini by Dubawi is a consistent group horse . He is gelded and made his comeback here in the beginning of January. Expected to be brought forward he is one of the favorites. 1 Red Galileo is a name we know. By Dubawi out of a Galileo mare he has been a regular here at Meydan for the two last seasons and he won this race in 2017, but lost from today’s mark last year. Red Galileo was very impressive in the Gold Cup where he outran his odds not being beaten very far by Vazirabad. 3 Appeared is another one by the mighty Dubawi, but he is held by Ispolin though not very far. Jamie Osbourne had a winner at Meydan last week, but we would be surprised if 5 Jukebox Jive would be able to land a chunk of the prize money. Instead, the master handicap handler Ian Williams might be the one to upset the principals. 4 Speedo Boy has been hurdling lately but was rather fancied when sixth in the Cesarewitch. Stamina won’t be an issue and we will take our chances each way.
4 Speedo Boy – 1 Red Galileo – 2 Ispolini
Race 3 Handicap 1 mile (dirt)
6 Plata O Plomo (Paddy O’Prado) is a very good miler with Scandinavian standards. He might be a little high in the weights and really needed his first race last spring. 4 Galvanize won when fresh in december and seems to have improved a lot. Being raised 9 lb won’t make life easy but Doug Watson’s runner is in top form. 1 Secret Ambition is classy and this race is a stepping stone for group races. He has won a handicap from 91 but is rated 105 now. 2 Fitzgerald is dropping in class from group company and will find this task much easier. 3 Irish Freedom (Pioneerof The Nile) is a new recruit with Satish Seemar coming from Brad Cox. Irish Freedom was tried at a high level without any real success, but this handicap could be more to his liking. 7 Draco is totally unexposed and perhaps the best bet of the race. After winning his maiden at Gulfstream in September 2017 he next appeared at Jebel Ali this fall/winter and has been most impressive in two wins. It could be dangerous to ignore Godolphin’s 10 Desert Frost.
7 Draco – 1 Secret Ambition – 4 Galvanize. Outs: 3 Irish Freedom
Race 4 Group 2 One Mile (turf)
This race is very much about Godolphin and they could hit the trifecta all of them. 2 Poetic Charm is a sister to Teofilo and should normally be taken to the breeding shed as soon as possible. Poetic Charm thrives at a firm turf course and should win this rather weak Group 2. 3 Asoof steps down in distance and gets ”Soumi” aboard which is a plus. Promising jockey Kevin Stott will be partnering with 5 Victory Wave who is stepping up in class and in distance. She will be brought forward from her start here early January. The one horse likely to spoil the party for Godolphin is 1 Furia Cruzada. Last year she was competing with the likes of North America and Thunder Snow and was second in the Balanchine. She would be a banker over further but now she is likely to settle for second. The Turkish filly 7 Peri Lina has been competing at the highest level in Turkey and is of interest here.
2 Poetic Charm – 1 Furia Cruzada – 3 Asoof
Race 5 Handicap 1 mile and 2 furlongs (turf)
Godolphin has got five runners in this handicap and they are all prized to come in 1,2,3,4,5 by British bookmakers. My outsider is 1 Earnshaw a consistent group performer who has been dropped in the weights and will relish to race in a handicap over his favorite distance. Watch out!
1 Earnshaw – 3 Mountain Hunter – 10 Celestial Spheres. Outs. 8 Big Challenge
Race 6 Handicap 1 mile (turf)
Another handicap dominated by Godolphin with five runners in this race. Besides Godolphin’s runners (1 Key Victory being by far the best) 4 Fire Away is the one catching the eye. Now with Mike De Kock the War Front seven year old should be able to find success. His form from last summer is more than enough to succeed today but he has to improve his tactical pace.
1 Key Victory – 4 Fire Away – 9 Bedouin’s Story