Friday, 30 March 2012

Golden Shaheen preview

James Jack returns after his work on Cheltenham to preview the elite sprint race of the night - the Golden Shaheen. Follow him @Materialista27

The Shaheen is a Group 1 for 3yo+ run over 6 furlongs on the Tapeta surface. Prior to the move from Nad Al Sheba, this race was run on the turf, but due to the constraints of the track at Meydan, the Shaheen moved to the artificial surface. Nearly £775k is the winner's purse and we have Rocket Man in the field who tasted glory last year. Runners are previewed in order of gate position.

Rocket Man
9-0
OR 125
Felix Coetzee for Patrick Shaw


This globe-trotting gelding has predominantly spent the last year in the Far East, picking up two Group 1s at Kranji, however, at seven, time must be catching up with him and there wasn't a great deal of opposition in Singapore as he was sent off at 1/16 and 1/5. His penultimate start came in the Hong Kong Sprint and he finished a disappointing 12th of 14, behind the likes of Bated Breath, Sole Power and most importantly Lucky Nine, who we'll get to later. Tough ask to repeat last year's success, but if he can get to the front from gate 1, then he could steal this one from the front. Clearly a class horse, but not sure a justified 5/2 favourite in this field.

Happy Dubai
9-0 with tongue tie
OR 112
Johnny Murtagh for Ali Rashid Al Raihe

Been hit and miss largely during his career and was strong during last year's carnival, but since then has only won once and that was in a handicap here at Meydan. Been tried over 7f and last year trailed in 10th in the Al Quoz Sprint. 40/1 looks a generous quote for a horse that could easily be a triple figure price.

Giant Ryan
9-0 with tongue tie
OR 115
Willie Martinez for Bisnath Parboo


Strike a line through his miserable run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, the winner of a muddy ground Group 1 round Belmont and a Group 2 handicap, this horse will probably be Rocket Man's partner at the front of the race similar to Euroears' role in last year's race. Lightly raced for a six year old, but seems a solid performer, if not spectacular. Will be there or thereabouts and 12/1 is a tempting EW quote.

Russian Rock
9-0
OR 108
Wayne Smith for Musabah Al Muhairi

Rejuvenated since he came over from Roger Teal, however has only the single win over six furlongs and his last two starts have been over five at Jebel Ali. Most likely to try and sit just off the pace and kick in the home straight, however looks outclassed in this company and looks to be stuck between not having the pace to stay with the leaders and lacking the turn of foot to compete with the closers. 50/1 seems about right and success for this horse would be finishing 11th or better.

Krypton Factor
9-0 with blinkers
OR 117
Kieren Fallon for Fawzi Nass


Winner of the Mahab Al Shimal 3 weeks ago, he came from just off the pace and beat Hitchens and Iver Bridge Lad comfortably, and in doing so reversed placings with Hitchens. Although he looks scrappy at times in running, he has that turn of pace that puts a race to bed, and has won two of three over course and distance. Only four years old, and still looks to have a bit of improvement in him. Big chance, and 12/1 is far, far too big from this plum draw with the early pace inside him and the closers on the outside.

Hitchens
9-0
OR 113
Silvestre De Sousa for David Barron

Seven years old now, and form has become patchy. Finished 3rd in the July Cup last year, then finished well back in the Sprint Cup. Has pinched a couple of Group 3s, but still seems capable of lifting his game for a big-time effort, which will be required to have any chance. Will more than likely wait for the last 300m to time his effort and given De Sousa's anointment at Godolphin, he'll be looking to impress his new employer. Add that to his very impressive 22% strike rate at Meydan and you may have a bit of value at 18/1

The Factor
9-0 with tongue tie
OR 117
Rafael Bejarano for Bob Baffert

Eye-catching winner of the Malibu Stakes in December and Santa Anita's fast dirt is a good test for a run at Meydan, the only concern being that he hasn't won over six since his maiden and may be outpaced over six here. Re-united with Rafael Bejarano who rode him to that maiden victory, he'll be finishing fast, but not sure if he'll have the speed to get to the six furlong specialists. It would be an emotional win though as Bob Baffert was released from hospital yesterday. 5/1 looks short enough for a horse with plenty of questions and we'll see if he has the answers tomorrow.

Iver Bridge Lad
9-0 with blinkers
OR 108
Michael O'Connell for John Ryan


Heavily raced for a five year old and his only wins on the all weather have come at Kempton. Finished 8th to Krypton Factor in the aforementioned Mahab Al Shimal and seven and a quarter lengths is a lot to make up. He never really made much ground that day and never looked like doing it. 40/1 is probably quite kind, and he'll be duelling with Russian Rock to avoid the wooden spoon.

Sepoy
8-11
OR 123
Kerrin McEvoy for Peter Snowden

I wished I'd seen the last of McEvoy when he returned home four years ago. He returns to Meydan with his balloon-like head and capacity for ruining a good horse's big race. Peter Snowden with his first overseas runner has brought arguably Australia's third best sprinter over for a tilt against some proper opposition and can be forgiven a poor performance last time out as blowing away cobwebs. The horse has been in Dubai for three weeks to acclimatise and trainer and jockey seem happy with gallops, so I'd expect him to confirm his class and be very close at the finish. 9/2 is a bit skinny for a decent beat and if he wins it will be in spite of Kerrin McEvoy's efforts rather than because of his masterful and intellectual ride. G1 Coolmore Stakes replay

Inxile
9-0 with cheek pieces
OR 113
Adrian Nicholls for Dandy Nicholls


The fact that Dandy has a runner here at all is a big sign, but the horse has only won twice in England and once in France with his other seven wins coming in Ireland. He's only won twice over six furlongs, so the step-up is a little concern. If he breaks well, he should be a contender for the early lead and given the conditions of the Tapeta, the extra furlong will be a help rather than a hindrance as he plugged on in the Al Quoz Sprint last year. He could just hang on to a place when it comes to the finish and 40/1 seems huge.

Soul
9-0
OR 113
Frankie Dettori for Saeed Bin Suroor

It's a strange sight to see Frankie Dettori in Godolphin's second colours, but as his former apprentice is in the first colours with a much better chance, then it makes perfect sense. Soul beat Iver Bridge Lad at the start of the month, no big surprise there, on his first start for Bin Suroor after coming over from Peter Snowden. Probably not even in the top five Australian sprinters. Big task to take this and despite the Frankie factor and Saeed Bin Suroor's 100pt level stakes profit, chalk this up as a loser. 16/1 is plenty, but I won't be touching it.

Lucky Nine
9-0 with half blinkers
OR 118
Brett Prebble for Casper Fownes


Hong Kong Sprint winner, remember I said we'd get to that well here it is. Three time Group 1 winner and on his last start, he landed the Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup over seven at Sha Tin. Has been tried as far as nine furlongs and seems to have the rare ability of the speed for six and the stamina for a mile or more, a bit like a Hong Kong version of Black Caviar, but a typical Hong Kong knock-off, not quite as good as the original. The son of Dubawi is a half brother to Fox Hunt (see Gold Cup), Mickdaam (see UAE Derby) and Monterosso (see World Cup) so there is plenty class in his pedigree. I would imagine the delightfully named Brett Prebble will try to get across and join the early pace and stretch the race to use his mount's stamina, and it could be tough for anyone to get past him. 8/1 looks a good quote for his chances and I'll be having a bit of that.

Selections

2pt win Krypton Factor
1pt ew Krypton Factor
2pt win Lucky Nine
1pt ew Lucky Nine
1pt ew Inxile

Exotics
5 & 12
5 & 9
12 & 9
5 & 10
All 1pt exactas

5 & 12 with 6, 9 & 10
1pt trifecta banker

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