By Duane Fonseca
An 1800m handicap on turf appears the highlight of Sunday’s ‘domestic’ card at Meydan. Although, the presence of Godolphin’s Sense Of Wisdom, trained by British Flat Champion Trainer Charlie Appleby, makes you wonder if domestic ought to be taken out of the equation altogether.
STEEL OR WISDOM?
Unlike last Sunday, when Godolphin scored with their sole representative on the night Open Mind, who won a 1400m handicap on turf for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, this week the royal blues have at least two confirmed starters with the Emirati saddling Bright Start in the 1600m handicap on dirt, which is an equally valuable race in terms of prize money.
There’s four events this week carrying an identical Dh95,000 in prize money, and also included in the quartet are a 1200m turf sprint and a 2000m handicap on dirt. Getting back to the aforementioned 1800m turf handicap and Sense Of Wisdom could start favourite based on the form of his stable, which is sort of the norm for names emerging from Appleby’s yard.
But the 4yo Shamardal gelding faces plenty of opposition starting with Valyrian Steel, a winner of four of his 11 starts, when running under the care of Roger Varian. Unfortunately, he is yet to score for Fawzi Nass in four starts, his best a battling fourth behind the progressive Electrical Storm, in a course and distance conditions run in December.
Sense Of Wisdom was eighth on his first start in a 1600m handicap behind Electrical Storm on his second start and that might have propped him up nicely for this assignment as he looks to further his Dubai World Cup Carnival prospects. Not one to impress, Sense Of Wisdom edged forward in time for his only win in a novice event at Newmarket in June. Lightly-raced but the experience of having a start should bring him forward.
CAN POSTER PAINT SUCCESS?
The same can be said of Bhupat Seemar’s Poster Paint, who is yet to build upon his maiden win in a 1600m event on Abu Dhabi’s turf strip in February last year. He’s made it to minor money spots in all three starts this season, with his fifth behind Electrical Storm in December, perhaps boding well for this.
Ahmad bin Harmash saddles Gareth, the three fourth length winner of a 1900m turf handicap here two weeks ago, his only UAE win, while One Idea could contribute to Doug Watson enjoying another big night having shown versatility over both surfaces. The 6yo Shamardal gelding has scored in two of his six UAE starts, clinching a 1600m maiden here in February, with his seasonal bow over the intimidating Jebel Ali surface in a 1400m handicap bringing up a second success for the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum homebred.
Seemar-trained Rayig seems a top prospect in the 1200m sprint down the chute going by his performance a fortnight ago in a course and distance handicap where he finished a close fourth behind Nibraas just a week after winning a sprint event over the same trip at Jebel Ali on New Year’s Day should keep him firmly among those in with a chance given he is better rested this time.
JOY FOR WILL TO WIN PERHAPS
Dignity Joy for Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Antonio Fresu is has come close in the past on the turf strip here and has a recent win to boost his prospects in a division where Will To Win showed just that over 1000m here despite finishing third and showing perhaps a bit longer might be the right dose for him. Watson has saddled a truckload in the 2000m handicap on dirt with Verboten perhaps the best of his quartet having followed up his win at Jebel Ali over 1600m with a second over trip and strip at Meydan a month later in December.