Dubai: As was expected Thursday night’s bumper card at Meydan more than lived up to expectations with some terrific racing on display, perhaps none more than in the two feature races of the evening — the UAE 1000 Guineas and the Al Maktoum Challenge.
I think Godolphin illustrated the depth of talent available in their stables when claiming the first four positions in the Guineas. I can’t think of too many stables who have succeeded in achieving such a rare feat, but then again there are not too many stables around with the numbers that Godolphin can boast. But numbers is one thing, talent is another. And the stable appear to have both areas adequately covered as demonstrated by Lovely Pass who led home Shurug by a length with Music Chart, a flattering winner of the Trial two weeks earlier, in third and pace maker Mar Mar staying on for fourth.
Obviously this will augur well for the UAE Oaks three weeks from now and even though the much-hyped South African raider Emotif ran well in defeat, she will have her work cut out for her when she takes on team Godolphin in the second of the fillies’ Classics. However, her trainer Mike de Kock has repeatedly stressed that his horses will come on for their debut run, having had to endure a nightmarish passage from South Africa to Dubai, which entailed lengthy quarantine enforced stop-overs in Mauritius and the UK.
Emotif, a highly-regarded daughter of the great Giant’s Causeway was among those horses that apparently did not handle the ramble from South Africa to Dubai and also missed some crucial hours during morning track work. This was in evidence given the way she broke from the gates and was forced to run extra hard early to creep back into contention. She did appear to handle the Tapeta reasonably well but was perhaps caught out when it was time to find another gear. But then again she is very much a baby with only one previous racecourse appearance to fall back on.
Obviously she will have learnt a lot from her debut run but it remains to be seen if there is sufficient time for her to have made a full recovery from those exertions and give a better account of herself in the Oaks.
Whichever way you look at it, it looks like we’re in for a cracking race, with Godolphin’s Lovely Pass also sure to improve for her run in the Guineas. Her trainer Mahmoud Al Zarouni certainly thinks she can improve a lot further and he did not make any attempt to mask his liking for her, even when talking up her potential during the Trial which Music Chart won two weeks ago.
Hunter’s Light was by far one of the most impressive recent winners of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 and must now hold decent claims of getting in to the Dubai World Cup, provided he can reproduce his winning form in the final round of the series on Super Saturday. He looks like a horse who has finally found his feet and another positive performance will put him in the big race picture