Friday, 26 March 2010

The Dubai Sheema Classic: Handicapping in a Vacuum

Shd, shd, ¼, ¼. Those are the winning margins of all stayer races run so far over Meydan's Turf course. In more detail:

February 4 (2800m): Age of Reason wins by a short head from Titurel (who, btw, won a Hcp C at Dresden last June), the third is Mojave Moon, distanced by another short head.

February 11 (2485m): Globetrotter Halicarnassus adds another track to his CV, beating Mourilyan by a short head.

February 25 (3200m): Sabotage goes clear by a full quarter of a length to take the DRC Gold Cup from Age of Reason.

March 4 (2485m): Campanologist beats Turkish sensation Pan River by ¼.

In all but one of these races, the 6th-place horse was beaten less than 2 ½ lengths by the winner. If we include all three races from the next distance run (1800m), it adds wins by 1 l., a short-head, and a whopping 3 ½ l. (by Alexandros on Feb 4, after what must be one of the most picture-perfect trips in the history of racing).

I learned all of this when I was trying to handicap tomorrow's 2400m Dubai Sheema Classic, probably the least predictable G1 race I have ever encountered. You get used to the fact that half the field in DWC races has not run in months, or has run a continent or two away as recently as two months back. But this year, even the Dubai forms are a clear case of "definitely maybe, if..." . I think I'll put my faith in Buena Vista. Or Spanish Moon? Dar Re Mi? Deem? Presious Passion?

(section added Mar 27, 2320 CET, 1820 EST)

Once again it proves true: never trust in anything John Gosden says. The new conditioner of Dar Re Mi was interviewed minutes before the race, mentioning that Dar Re Mi was not in peak form, was more of a horse that "gets better as the year goes by", and also noting that the harsh winter hasn't helped.

One stadium lap later, Dar Re Mi (9/1) held on to take the race from Buena Vista (6/1) by 3/4 l.; Spanish Moon (6/1) was third a head behind the second. Deem (50/1) finished fourth, Presious Passion (12/1) came in last of 16.

1 comment:

  1. Very true, it's easier to come to some conclusion on a bunch of 7500 claimers at Turfway