May 24, 2022

Drafted last to first in Al Shindagha; Golden Jaguar bursts onto Dubai sophomore scene

Drafted and jockey Patrick Dobbs win Meydan's Al Shindagha Sprint (G3) at the fifth Dubai World Cup Carnival race meeting on January 31, 2019 (c) Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen

Progressive types stole the show on Thursday’s Dubai World Cup Carnival program, as Drafted broke through in the Al Shindagha Sprint (G3), Silva shocked the UAE 1000 Guineas, and Golden Jaguar became another hot three-year-old to follow in the Meydan Classic Trial.

Drafted, trained by Doug Watson for Misty Hollow Farm, is pace-dependent given his one-run style, and he’s found his niche sticking to about six furlongs this UAE season. Up in time in the December 6 Garhoud Sprint in his reappearance, the Florida-bred gray was a troubled second in the Dubawi (G3) on opening night of the Carnival. But a better start and smoother trip helped lift him to a first Group score here.

The pace scenario was also favorable. Stablemate and defending champion My Catch flashed his trademark speed from post 5 to angle over, while Steve Asmussen’s shipper Switzerland applied the pressure. My Catch fought off Switzerland, but his early efforts softened him up, and he too ultimately retreated.

Argentine import Tato Key pounced in the stretch in a strong local debut for new connections, but then Drafted arrived on the scene. Rallying from last for stable jockey Pat Dobbs, he collared Tato Key by three-quarters of a length and clocked 1:12.34. Ibn Malik finished a hard-trying third, followed by Nine Below Zero, My Catch, and Switzerland.

The Watson/Dobbs tandem was winning this stepping stone to the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) for the third straight year, after Cool Cowboy (2017) and My Catch (2018).

“He just does not have that natural speed,” Watson said of Drafted, “but he tries every time for us and he has been a delight to train. The smaller field tonight probably helped him a little bit, because it kept him out of the kickback early, so he traveled a little bit better. He is not great with kickback. He was able to get a nice position early. He traveled a lot better tonight early and was able to use that kick at the end.

“It was a tough choice for Pat (between Drafted and My Catch) because he thought if My Catch had drawn low, he might have gone with him, but I think he was always going to go with Drafted.”

Dobbs mentioned Drafted’s trouble in running last time in the Dubawi.

“In his last run, he was very unlucky,” Dobbs said. “He beat My Catch 6 1/2 lengths that day and had a lot of ground to make. He’s younger and on the way up. The small field was good today because he had no kickback today. I got into the race a little earlier than (I wanted), but he ran really well. He has to warm up into it and (close ground). I just get him out of the kickback for the first two or three furlongs and then half-way around, he picked up the bridle and did it himself.”

Tato Key, last seen landing the June 21 Premio General Manuel Belgrano (G2) to go 12-for-14 in Argentina, delighted new trainer David Marnane.

“He ran a big race,” Marnane said of Yu Long’s acquisition. “It was seven months off the track for him and first time on this surface – couldn’t be happier with him. He was training well. He should come on from the run and I’d like to see him back here on Super Saturday (March 9) and then hopefully (Dubai) World Cup night.”

Drafted, a five-year-old gelding by Field Commission, is out of the unraced Darn That Alarm mare Keep the Profit. Purchased by original trainer Eoin Harty for $35,000 as an OBS March juvenile, he set a new 4 1/2-furlong track record in his Keeneland debut. After flops in Royal Ascot’s Windsor Castle and the Best Pal (G2) in Godolphin’s colors in the summer of 2016, he resurfaced in the 2017-18 UAE season. Drafted quickly rose in the rankings with a pair of sprint handicap wins, but his progress stalled on the stretch-out to a mile, prompting a cutback this term.

Fellow Godolphin cast-off Capezzano ran roughshod over a metric mile handicap in 1:36.95, gearing down by 14 lengths, to make it two straight at the Carnival. Trained by Sandeep Jadhav, the Sultan Ali runner had closed from off the pace January 17, but went straight to the lead here with stable jockey Mickael Barzalona.

Although his task was assisted by Bochart’s flubbing the break, Capezzano was on cruise control every step of the way, and drubbed the same runner-up – Watson’s Thegreatcollection – by more than six times his prior margin. Gold Town, coming off a distant fourth to North America in the course-and-distance Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (G2), filled the same spot, more remotely, here. Ken McPeek’s Honorable Treasure, who was checked by the vet at the  gate, wound up eighth, and the aforementioned Bochart was 10th of 15.

Capezzano thus furthered his case for another crack at the Godolphin Mile (G2) on World Cup night. The Bernardini gelding made little show when 13th of 14 behind stablemate Heavy Metal in last year’s edition, but he’s clearly a different animal now. And he had back class as the third-placer in the 2017 UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) (to Thunder Snow and Bee Jersey) and Al Bastakiya (to Cosmo Charlie).

“We have put a hood on him, which really seems to have helped,” Jadhav said of his form turnaround, “and he is a horse we have always known has plenty of ability. We were quite hopeful coming here tonight, but did not expect that. I guess we will now have to step him up in class after such an easy victory, but we will wait and see what the handicapper does.”

The shock winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas earlier on the card, Silva, took almost three seconds longer (1:39.62) to negotiate the same trip. A 44-1 shot in the North American pool, and 33-1 in the British market, the Pia Brandt trainee was unheralded after needing three starts to break her maiden in France.

Silva and jockey Oisin Murphy win Meydan’s UAE 1000 Guineas at the fifth Dubai World Cup Carnival race meeting on January 31, 2019 (c) Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen

In contrast, Godolphin’s Divine Image was all the rage in light of her smashing premiere at Chelmsford. But Divine Image got off to a tardy flyleap at the start, a mistake that might well have cost her the win. Despite being under a ride from a poor position, the Scat Daddy filly kept finding for the duration to get up for second.

Meanwhile, Silva made the most of her close stalking trip. Under Oisin Murphy, who was wintering in Japan and riding for the first time this Carnival, the daughter of Kodiac inhaled pacesetting Lady Parma in the stretch and kicked 9 3/4 lengths clear.

“It was a good job from my agent (Shaun James) to pick her up and the trainer has done a super job,” Murphy said. “It was my first ride for Pia Brandt. I gave (Silva) a good run up and she jumped and she probably avoided all the kickback. Her next assignment might be tougher, but that was a great result.”

A homebred for Zalim Bifov, Silva boosted her candidacy for the UAE Oaks (G3) on February 21. She is already proven at the trip, having scored going about 1 3/16 miles on Deauville’s Polytrack last out. That probably wouldn’t have been expected from a half-sister to Group 3-winning sprinter Fas. Their dam, the stakes-placed Dutch Art mare Sotka, is herself a half-sister to now-retired sprint celebrity Sole Power.

The relentless Divine Image nabbed Lady Parma late, offering hope of progress heading to the UAE Oaks.

“She missed the break,” commented Godolphin rider William Buick, back in action after finishing his suspension for interference in the Hong Kong Vase (G1). “She was a little bit restless in the gate. She ran a great race to be second in her first time on dirt. She got a lot of kickback and she’s a very game and honest filly. I think she’ll improve for the step up in the UAE Oaks.”

Third-place Lady Parma, on the other hand, is likely to prove a sprinter, according to jockey Richard Mullen.

Guineas Trial winner Al Hayette never got going and trudged home 10th in the 15-filly field, but jockey Fabrice Veron advises to turn the page.

“Today, I think it’s better if you forget about it,” Veron said. “The draw was on the outside (outermost post 15) and the track was very fast. The kickback was too much for her, today. Don’t worry about the filly. Next time she will be better.”

Golden Jaguar and jockey Connor Beasley win the Meydan Classic Trial at the fifth Dubai World Cup Carnival race meeting on January 31, 2019 (c) Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen

The Phoenix Ladies Syndicate’s Golden Jaguar, on the other hand, had no problem stamping his class from the far outside post 15 in the Meydan Classic Trial on turf. Representing the same connections as UAE 2000 Guineas Trial romper Walking Thunder, the Ahmad bin Harmash pupil is another unbeaten sophomore with eye-catching potential.

By 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) and 2013 Dubai World Cup (G1) hero Animal Kingdom, Golden Jaguar has inherited his surface versatility. The handsome chestnut won at first asking on the Jebel Ali dirt, despite a slow start sprinting about five furlongs, and he complicated jockey Connor Beasley’s life the same way here. Golden Jaguar was also unable to save ground and spun out widest of all turning for home, but still overpowered Irish Trilogy and Group 3 winner Sporting Chance by two emphatic lengths. He covered about seven furlongs on the good course in 1:24.29.

“It was really impressive the way he did it, to be honest, because everything went wrong,” Beasley said. “He was obviously drawn quite wide and he half clipped the gates again. I had to take my time. Once I pushed the button, he went about his job really well. For a horse that is having his second run, he hit the front far too early, but he was a very willing partner and he galloped right through the line. Very impressive.”

Bred by William Betz and Peter Lamantia in Kentucky, Golden Jaguar is out of the stakes-winning Crafty Prospector mare Golden Sunray, who was two-for-three in her brief career. Golden Sunray is a half-sister to Mining My Own, the dam of 2009 Derby shocker Mine That Bird and multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan. Golden Jaguar RNA’d for $90,000 as a Keeneland September yearling before selling for $60,000 as an OBS April two-year-old.

Godolphin avoided a shutout, and celebrated a trifecta, when Oasis Charm returned triumphant for trainer Charlie Appleby in a turf handicap. Buick executed a well-timed move, from a little better than midpack, and the Oasis Dream gelding held late-running Team Talk by three-quarters of a length. That Saeed bin Suroor pupil headed Zaman on the line to prevent an Appleby exacta. The ex-Ballydoyle Deauville, yet to regain his old form, faded to last of 14.

“We have always thought a lot of this horse and have given him plenty of time,” Appleby said of Oasis Charm, unraced since taking a Newmarket handicap on May 5. “We will wait for the handicapper, but it could well be we have to step him up in class now.”

Oasis Charm, a grandson of multiple Grade 1 heroine Alborada, might have run himself into the Dubai Millennium (G3) over the same course and about 1 1/4-mile trip.

In the concluding turf handicap, British-based Escalator got trainer Charlie Fellowes on the board this Carnival. Under a masterful ride by Chris Hayes, the 132-pound highweight saved ground at the back, threaded his way through the pack, and tipped out to thwart longshot Above N Beyond in 1:36.67 for the metric mile.

“They went a good gallop and he came alive,” Hayes said. “I just had to wait turning in. I got out and he switched gears.”

Saeed Bel Obaida’s Cape Cross gelding, and grandson of classic-winning multiple highweight Sayyedati, was moving forward off a seventh to Dream Castle in the Singspiel (G3).

The opener was the Purebred Arabians’ edition of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2. Goshawke and Mawahib came to grips in a terrific stretch battle, with the former refusing to yield beneath Fernando Jara.