URC Dubai World Cup day has drawn a quality collection of horses from a variety of sires and the Sheema Classic to be contested at 12 furlongs on the turf is no exception. This is a deep race where the handicapper has to go 6 deep when looking at potential winners.
Sealandia Sava represents New Zealand and Savabeel. The 9/2 favorite has attained the highest level of success in the field achieving a G2 victory on an off track at Longchamps at this distance. Has contested in graded company the last 6 races, 4 straight at today’s 12 furlongs. Finished 2018 running a 116, in the G1 Japan Classic, which was good enough for 4th giving prospective graded runners a prelude to the times needed to win top tier races. Carried over his speed into 2019 with a 115, though again not enough to win this time a 2nd in G3 contest. Was beaten badly last out dropping SP down to 101. Career defining race in many ways, was last outing a harbinger of where the 5 year old is headed or will a return to open stakes get him back to the winner’s circle? Pundits can claim either way was obvious after the race.
We get to my entry early today with Ragnarokkr pulling post two. City Zip son is on the verge of stardom riding a three race winning streak with last two dropping 113 and 114 SPs. I suspect 10 furlongs is his best distance but this race gives me a chance to find out testing quality competition. Plenty of prime racing to be found at either 12 or 10 and this race provides the sweet spot drop from 12 back to 10 if it does indeed prove a furlong too far. First two in the starting gate provide the bookends to the race as Sava will be on the lead and Ragnarokkr will do his running late.
Darci Brahma sends out his son Darci’s Kingdom who has it stacked against him at 43/1 odds. Claimed two back for 4K and has since been ambitiously entered in two turf open stakes finishing last and 10th at 9.5 furlongs then improving position wise taking 6th at 10f. That race was more a testament to trainer skill in finding a good spot to run versus horse improvement as times were only 4 SP apart. Would be a big success to finish 5th and pick up a paycheck.
Scratch bred Galileo Galaxy King is most lightly race in the field only going into the gate 8 times prior to today. SIM considers Galileo an older sire influence so the interstellar King maybe be set to improve by warp speed proportions. Two prior stakes tries ended in failure but last two Galaxy King demonstrated a different turn of foot when he posted a 109 and 114, both victories. The 114 at 13f was an eye popping effort where he led by 13+ lengths. Will benefit from the drop to 12 but a deadly speed duel hovers on the horizon between he and Sava.
Another scratch bred takes post 5 and this is our 2nd favorite, 5/1 shot Catalyst of Chaos. Daughter of Dalakhani had 4 race winning streak snapped last time out. Picked up a pair of stakes wins there allowing the 5yo to break through after a bevy of close calls in French restricted stakes. Has a checkered history at this distance, was probably hoping for an off track where he is 2/2. Would need to run a career high SP to win today, which seems an odd selection for second favorite.
Puzzling odds continue with Six Point Game a well raced daughter of Falco. She goes to post at 8/1 which is the same odds as Ragarokkr and better odds than Galaxy King. To her credit she has won 15 races which is a significant achievement in any horses career. Those came from 38 starts, her last being a win in a 20K starter allowance. Was claimed the race before for $12,500. Has never run 12, never even going 10 in point of fact although she has shown a propensity to close. However this venture into alien furlongs where she has never tread along with the massive jump in class versus some in here make things difficult to say the least.
5yo Nathaniel scratch bred son Sadira enters his second straight URC sponsored race. He ran in January’s initial running of the Pegasus Cup where he finished 5th running out of steam in the stretch. Not sure why Sadira came up short because he did win last season’s URC Breeder’s Cup Turf at 12 on an off track. That can’t fully be ascribed to the soft turf however because he does possess a stakes win at 11.5 furlong on firm ground. Sadira also boast an excellent record with 9 victories in 15 starts. More of a mid-pack horse will bridge the gap between Ragnarokkr in the rear and Galaxy King and Sava on the front. Beating a field of 20 to take URC Breeder’s Cup Turf race means he is certainly capable of winning today.
Unusual number of scratch breds in this contest and Lunkerhunter is another. Son of Dubawi lost (as did the Rams) in the Patriots Lose Back to Back 10f dirt stakes last out. Was unable to break 100 in the URC Arc and it seems distance is going to be a problem here despite being from a Caerleon mare. Has Dansili as the kicker in the DDS spot and probably should have sprinted at some point. 24 races into the career it is likely too late for that and will bank on hoping the switch from dirt to turf offers some extra juice. Will likely run mid-pack with Sadira and hope first triple digit SP past 10 is a big one.
Irish Snowdrop also is looking to utilize the dirt to turf training method. Ran a closing 3rd in 10f 4L last out with a 107. You would that is a big ask to get a stakes win, especially from a 3-19 runner and a son of sprinter Zoffany. However there are elements which point to long shot potential here. Won an allowance two back at 12 by a couple lengths. Alright you may say, well that was a 3L, true, but we know Irish can cover 12. His mom was a G3 winner loaded with stamina, Montjeu x Kingmambo x Buckpasser. 19 races is a lot of wear on a 4yo but there is bomb potential here and the wise guys like this runner betting him down to 11/1. I still much prefer Galaxy King at those odds but you can’t dismiss Irish Snowdrop. In his best races he stalks the pace.
Six year old Plectron is another old war horse who has run up a lot of wins over his career. Finding the winner’s circle 12 times from 36 starts the son of Conduit comes off a 25K Japanese restricted claiming win. Good news is we know he can run 12 furlongs. Bad news is he isn’t going to be able to run it fast enough against some of the big guns in here. Has run at 12 furlongs or more 28 times so he has the experience to pick up a part of the purse if things break his way. Deep closer will run near the back.
Aaron Judge is the second graded winner in the field picking up the G3 score at 10 furlongs. Ran 2nd to Sadira in the URC BC Turf. Has since fallen on rather dismal times finishing last and second to last at Gulfstream the last two getting beat by a combined 42 lengths. That’s a bad sign. Probably should head to the farm for a bit. The scratch bred son of Bal a Bali has raced a lot and it will be tough to turn it around today. Regardless, he has a great name.
Ultimately you can’t win a race if you don’t enter and I’m pretty sure there will be at least one horse in this race who looked bad on paper then put in a big run. That said this is a huge step for 4yo filly Tapit’s Wrath. First, she is a filly, second she just won her 2L last out, third she ran a 97 doing that and will need to improve about 15 points to win this race, fourth she tried this type of competition in the URC BC Turf where she finished 8th. Now, on the positive side, she did finish 8th out of 20 as a 3yo filly in that race. And her last race was won by 3 lengths so that 97 is more like a 104 (which is what she ran in the BC Turf). It’s proven she can go 12 and her dad is the mighty Tapit but this is a really big ask.
Last entry is 28/1 Baby Moohaa and of all the longshots (excluding Galaxy King I don’t consider him a longshot I consider that a morning line FUBAR) I sort of really like this horse. First, the son of Moohaajim has only 11 races under him as a 5yo which means the trainer took their time. Second, he’s been on the board in 8 of his 11 starts. He comes into the distance today off a drop from 16 furlongs which was too far and snapped a 3 race winning streak. OK, so 16 wasn’t his game but 12 certainly could be. Won by 4 1/2 at 14.5 almost 4 at 12 and almost 3 at 10. This horse is going to run big. Biggest problem for Baby Moohaa is that’s a front runner and with 3 quality horses now vying for the lead this race is going to have an hot, contested pace.
On paper, this race doesn’t look that complicated. Sealandia Sava, Galaxy King and Baby Moohaa are all going to vie for the lead, they all have tons of speed and can carry it the distance. Two of these three are going to get cooked by the pace with the winner of the duel pushing for the wire. He’ll either be caught there by Sadira or Ragnarokkr or he won’t. Expect one of the proven horses at 12 furlongs to have a good race and be in the mix for a spot on the board, especially if the distance proves too far for Ragnarokkr.