by Angus McNae, Racing UK
March 9, 2018
Super Saturday effectively mirrors World Cup Night without the additional and considerable international challenge. It is in effect a test for locally trained horses, a test that asks whether they can run fast enough to be competitive or even win on World Cup night and this year there are plenty of live World Cup night contenders to consider on a fiercely competitive card. Analysis of the card is skewed by the presence of horses trained by Salem Bin Ghadayer. He has had a tremendous World Cup Carnival with five winners but now a doping violation weighs heavily over him. He is allowed to have runners as this breach is the subject of an appeal but what are we to make of those runners? This is tricky for any analyst, particularly as he seems to have a few good chances on the card. From my point of view I believe it best to take their form at face value and leave the implications of the recent doping violation to the Emirates Racing Authority.
With two winners last week we are now up to 17 at the World Cup Carnival. Here are four more selections for you.
Race 1 (7:00AM ET) - Al Bastakiya Stakes - #10 Masar (IRE) (3/2)
This horse is a class act in this field. Admittedly his classy form comes on turf but the dam’s side of his pedigree - she won the UAE Derby on dirt - gives plenty of encouragement. His Solario win at Sandown and his Jean Luc Lagardere and Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf form mark him out as being very useful and if he handles the dirt he will win. He holds an entry in the UAE Derby.
Race 2 (7:35AM ET) - Mahab Al Shimaal (G3) - #8 Yalta (IRE) (4/1)
When this horse bolted up over six furlongs on dirt last time I stated that he was the best domestic sprinter we have seen so far in Dubai. Now he has a chance to cement that impression. He has blinding pace, ran a big time figure last time and even from stall eight should be able to bag the favoured inside rail. The only pace pressure he may get early in the race is from Jordan Sport, but he is a turf horse and this will be a different scenario. Two of his main rivals, Ravens Corner and My Catch, are drawn in the widest stalls which hinders their chances. Yalta can take advantage and go gate to wire.
Race 5 (9:20AM ET) - Jebel Hatta (G1) - #10 Benbatl (GB) (3/2)
This is the classiest horse we have seen so far at the Carnival. He has not yet run a big time figure but is surely capable of one. He is thriving in Dubai, having won the Singspiel Stakes and the Al Rashidiya and can now win the Jebel Hatta on his way to the Dubai Turf. He fired a remarkable sectional split for the last two furlongs of the Al Rashidiya, marking him out as a genuine Group One horse and he can prove it here.
Race 6 (10:55AM ET) - Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (G1) - #2 Thunder Snow (IRE) (8/5)
Thunder Snow is not a natural on dirt but he is a class act and his win in round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge is better than it looks on paper. He traveled wide that day and gave away plenty of ground and as I always say ground loss is a much ignored but vital factor when it comes to race analysis. He ground out a win there and in a field that is no stronger and over further he can book his place in the Dubai World Cup.