DUBAI, UAE. – The 2005 Dubai Racing Carnival is now approaching its business end and tonight’s Super Saturday meeting at Nad Al Sheba is in many ways a dress rehearsal for World Cup night, 26 March, writes MIKE DE KOCK.
We are privileged to have eight top runners at this meeting and I will discuss them briefly in turn.
Yard-Arm has his date with destiny and dirt in the US$300 000 Al Maktoum Challenge (leg 3) over 2000m. This, of course, is the World Cup course and distance and the pressure is on for him to show his mettle on this surface.
We know that Yard-Arm won a Novice Plate on sand back home, but the track here is vastly different. That said, his work on has been exceptional – we gallop them on the actual racetrack here and Yard-Arm has looked very comfortable all along.
He’s a fit and mean-looking horse and he’s improved since winning his Dubai debut. We won the race with Victory Moon last year – he went on to finish third in the World Cup – and at this stage I’d say Yard-Arm is at least a prospect as good.
Yard-Arm will face strong opposition from Godolphin’s runner Cherry Mix, who finished second in the Arc d’Triomphe last year and at 125 is the highest rated horse in Dubai. Being stepped out on this race, we are assuming that Cherry Mix is Godolphin’s Cup hopeful and it will be interesting to see how Yard-Arm shapes up against him.
We are all excited about Yard-Arm, and we can’t wait for the race.
Grand Emporium and Emerald Beauty will represent the stable in the Burj Nahaar over 1600m on dirt and both are very well. Grand Emporium needs a good run to show that he’s got what it takes to line up in the Godolphin Mile on Cup night, and Emerald Beauty tries the sand for the first time. On her sand work, she’ll be a factor, for sure, and we’re giving the experienced Mick Kinane a leg up.
Candidato Roy and Hinterland will go to post in the Al Shamaal over 1200m on dirt. We are keeping Candidato Roy down the straight because he is still blowing after work and not working through. Candidato Roy arrived about seven weeks after our other runners and we’ve been battling to get him to peak fitness. He did us no favours by getting here late, but he’s in good condition and we’re confident he can show marked improvement on his last run.
Hinterland joined us from Mauritius two weeks ago – in excellent shape – and while I don’t know much about him, he is fit and looking good.
As prospects go, however, few are more exciting than Greys Inn, who I believe is a better horse now than when he won the Vodacom July last year.
Mrs Oppenheimer’s star will be giving 3kg and more away to higher-rated runners in the Dubai City Of Gold over 2400m, but his work has been terrific and I rate him the horse to beat.
He will face a similar same bunch at level weights in the Sheema Classic on World Cup night, and this race will be a definite pointer to his chances on 26 March.
Right Approach and Key Of Destiny will fly the flag in the Jebel Hatta over 1777m on turf and while Key Of Destiny is the slightly fitter horse, both should run well.
Key Of Destiny has come to his peak for this race and I’m sure he’ll give a good account of himself despite having to concede weight. I’ve had to listen to a few armchair shrewdies who believe he is an out-and-out sprinter, but he has beaten Eventuail over a 1800m in South Africa, and on that he has an undeniable chance.
Right Approach is all class, and while he is not far off his best, he will improve on this run wherever he manages to finish tomorrow night.