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Friday, February 11, 2011

Notes from Abroad

Several Godolphin competitors worth mentioning from Thursday’s UAE-G3 2000 Guineas at Meydan, including the Bernardini colt Buffum—who finished 20 lengths back of To Honor and Serve in last November’s G2 Remsen—he didn’t fare much better, running fifth, but only about 3 lengths behind the winner Splash Point (bred, incidentally, by red-hot WinStar who brought back their Fantasy Derby contest this year). Splash Point is likeable, being out of the Danehill mare Dianehill who was G2-placed at 8.5 furlongs; his second dam is the great Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Very Subtle. It will be interesting moving forward to see if he can stretch out, being by Street Cry, as owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum could aim him for the Kentucky Derby. For now, his next target is the March 26 G2 UAE Derby. The other Godolphin runner, the Speightstown colt Bridgefield, finished fourth, missing a placing by a short head; his dam Treysta is a half-sister to Hard Spun, whose first crop hits the track this year. He broke his maiden last October over the turf at Doncaster going 7 furlongs, and finished third behind Zanzamar and Splash Point in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial before this event. Methinks it would be interesting to see him on real dirt.

The turmoil in Tunisia and Egypt appears unlikely to spill over into Dubai—and thus ruin the Maktoum family’s ostentatious World Cup on March 26—despite horrific conditions for hundreds of thousands of foreign workers stuck in the country after the construction bust there. However, today it was announced that nine Saudi activists have formed the Islamic Umma Party in Dubai. I’m not thinking their chances are good for gaining the approval they seek from King Abdullah.

On his excellent blog, Sid Fernando recently highlighted two promising Darley-bred horses Down Under, 3-year-old Lohengrin (Lonhro) and juvenile Atomic (Commands). I’m particularly interested in the former, whose second dam, the multiple G1-winning Shame, is by the Foolish Pleasure-line sire Scenic; he’s also a three-quarter brother to G3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude victor Demerit whose own maiden effort was a second-place finish in the listed Blue Sapphire behind the superb (and still undefeated) Black Caviar.

Speaking of the 2010 world champion sprinter, Black Caviar produced a smashing trial this week in anticipation of her 2011 debut in next week’s AUS-G1 Lightning Stakes. This Saturday’s races (visible late Friday night here in the U.S.) includes the first G1 of the year, the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield. Given many seasoned routers (Zipping, Shocking, Precedence, Linton) are making their first-up runs here going 7 furlongs, I’m not interested much in them. Seven-year-old Danzylum is in excellent form, off two listed wins at this very distance and thus place-worthy at odds. However, it’s the mares whose runs I most await, Typhoon Tracy and Ortensia, in particular. The latter has been a handful in the past, a bit of a headcase, so it will be interesting to see how she handles losing her long-time jockey Craig Williams, in favor of Mark Zahra. At Randwick, the spectacular More Joyous returns in the G2 Breeders Classic and trainer Gai Waterhouse has gone on record saying her crack mare will go undefeated this season. I don’t doubt it.


sid fernando said...

thanks for the compliment, Val, and I return it! Interesting notes.