You could be forgiven for falling into that lull of boredom and inactivity between Cheltenham and Anitree, but the Irish flat season kicked off last Sunday, Doncaster kicks off the UK version tomorrow and we’ve a stacked card in the Arabian Gulf Saturday evening.
The big guns take centrestage as Meydan hosts the mega bucks Dubai World Cup meeting. Dubai? Oh-aye.
This market probably doesn’t cross your mind when you’re making a punting proposition, but unless you’re completely sure this race can’t be run to hamper Blue Point, you’re welcome to the heavy odds-on shot.
My focus is actually on a Stormy Liberal (10/1) for Peter Miller. The draw in 1 certainly dampens his chances, but you’re being reimbursed on that end by his inflation in price. He will certainly have to improve from his half-length loss to Jungle Cat to get competitive here, but his trainer has blamed himself for a couple of lacklustre showings.
His loss to Eddie Haskell in Santa Anita doesn’t tell the whole story and he looks to have the gears here to trouble the short-price favourite.
Now this is more like it. There wouldn’t be universal shock if any of the runners won this six-furlong contest. Even with the withdrawal of Roy H, this field is still full of quality and if a seasonal reappearance isn’t too much to overcome, Promises Fulfilled (5/1), might have too much for these.
Trainer Dale Romans is a dab hand when it comes to getting his horses to peak at the right time, and X Y Jet will be taken on for the early lead as this four-year-old likes to run from the front. If he gets the fractions right, he won’t be caught.
You do your very best to avoid any shortie in a race like this considering the depth of talent on show, but Christophe Lemaire, the lucky sod who gets to ride out on the Japanese superstar Almond Eye (1/1) believes this raider is a horse of a lifetime.
Sakae Kuneida’s charge will make a bold bid for the Arc at Longchamp, where the well-publicised Japanese curse with that particular race will look to end, and they’ve probably not had a horse as hyped going into the big one in some time. If you backed Solemia in 2012, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But that’s for good reason.
Almond Eye won the Fillies’ Triple Crown before putting up eye-catching time after time in Japan. This is the first stop on a long haul trip to French glory, and she’s probably just too good for these.
I will take any abuse for this if you believe it’s a real homer of a pick, but I just can’t quite give up on Magic Wand (5/1) yet. This is a horse who hasn’t won any race in her last five and I have her coming in here to nab the chief share of a six-million quid prize in the desert. I’ll gladly die on this hill, too. People generally understate how good Sistercharlie is and Magic Wand’s fourth-place finish to her at the Breeders Cup is strong. Ditto, her fifth in the Irish Oaks to Sea of Class.
So, it boils down to whether or not I think an Aidan O’Brien training performance can outsmart some clever types that sit in front of him in the market.
You bet your life I do.
The 12 furlong trip looks a bit sharp for Old Persian in this competitive a field and the St Leger will ultimately be the aim again. Rey de Oro’s Group 1’s win look nicer on paper, than they will come Saturday.
Magic Wand was last seen just losing out to the very impressive Bricks and Mortar in a bog Stateside. She’ll improve for that. Watch out.
*Prices correct at time of publishing