Tag Archives: Mickael Barzalona

Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (Group 2)

Twelve go to post in Round 2 of the Challenge.

With the exception of the Mike De Kock pair of Await The Dawn and Mushreq they’re all locals with the spearhead coming from Godolphin (four from the Saeed bin Suroor stable and one from the Mahood Al Zarooni stable) with A Al Raihe throwing in two and Doug Watson, S Seemar and M bin Shafya one each.

Mike De Kock took the headlines last week with a treble and he sends Mushreq, wearing the first colours of Hamden Al Maktoum (running three), back into battle for another quick return having won last week in a handicap over 10 f on turf. He’s been busy this year, this will be his fourth run at the Carnival having run on tapeta at the first meeting, then a run on turf the week before last and back to tapeta last week. He’s improved with each of those run’s to get top spot in the enclosure last week. Steered by Paul Hannigan, who partners again, he got a clean run having looked unlucky in his previous attempt. This is his first test in Group company and last weeks effort suggests he’ll cope with the step up in class.

Await The Dawn has an entirely different profile. The ex Aidan O’Brien colt took the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2011 for Ballydoyle. He was then third in the Group 1 Juddmonte International and went to Churchill Downs for the Breeders Cup Turf where he finished down the field. He returned for last years Duty Free on World Cup night but after setting a decent gallop he shuffled down the field to finish a distance last. We haven’t seen him since so is this a mission to see if he retains his ability? Or something more.

Of the Saeed bin Suroor four you have to like Hunter’s Light. He’s won three from his last four visits to the track, the loss coming in the Prix Dollar beaten 9 l by Cirrus Des Anglais. Last time out in the Italy he took a Group 1 on heavy ground in Rome over 10 f.

Mendip, another bin Suroor inmate returns to the Carnival for the fourth year. He’s won five times previously including this race last year. He then disappointed in Round 3 of the Challenge and in the World Cup itself.

Saint Baudolino was dispatched from the Andre Fabre yard over the winter to the Al Zaronni barn. He highlighted 2012 with a second in the maddeningly run French Derby. He then ran third in the Grand Prix De Paris to Imperial Monarch and on his only other outing he beat his then stable companion Aesop’s Fables (fourth in a Handicap here last week) in a Group 2 at Deauville over 10f.

Jamr and Mufarrh bring the form of Round 1 of the Challenge to the party. The former ran sixth to the latter’s fifth behind Barbecue Eddie over the mile. Jamr then stepped up to 10 f in a handicap running second to Elderly Paradise. Mufarrh who last year ran second in the Godolphin Mile was doing all his best work at the finish in Round 1 will surely benefit for the run and the step up in distance.

Choices, between the De Kock pair,staying local focusing on the Goldolphin spearhead or taking a chance on the one of the lesser fancied home team?

The latter is the choice in the shape of Mufarrh (recommended in R1) who can step up on the work put in then.

Have a look at the video.

Recommendation : Mufarrh 10/1 win

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Prix Du Jockey Club (Group 1)

Chantilly moves centre stage in the European Pattern Calender.

This is a competitive affair with 20 runners. After Camelot’s Derby victory all eyes will be on French Fifteen. His Guineas second looking all the better post Epsom. Leading the opposition will be the Greffulhe winner Kesampour. Aga Khan owed, this Mickael Delzangles trained colt is unbeaten in four. He won the Greffulhe a head from the Andre Fabre trained Albion who benefits from having Frankie Dettori as a partner today. Lunayir, the other Aga Khan runner has Johnny Murtagh in the plate.

Imperial Monarch has half the experience and hails from the all conquering Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien. The win at Sandown in the classic trial over Thought Worthy leaves him with something to find given that Thought Worthy was 11 1/2 L behind Camelot today. He raced wide giving away a lot of ground, actually a hell of a lot of ground, but still got up to win under an audacious ride from Joseph O’Brien. Ballydoyle’s record at Chantilly for the present incumbent is 0 from 23 with the last winner from the yard being Caerleon in 1983, trained the maestro Vincent O’Brien.

Roger Varian sends Ektihaam. He found Bonfire 3/4 L too good in the Dante, form that took a bit of a knock today, though in fairness 12 f looked beyond Bonfire, the 10 f today won’t be an issue for Ektihaam having accomplished it at York.

A chance for classic glory for Godolphin comes courtesy of Saint Baudolino. Andre Fabre trained and to be ridden by Maxine Guyon he’s a winner of his last two, in the latter getting the better of So Fast in a barging match in the Prix De Guiche. So Fast re opposes here having only a short neck to find.

Hard Dream won the Prix Noailles from Tifongo on near bottomless ground at Lonchamp. The good to soft here shouldn’t inconvenience him and Tifongo also takes his chance here. In the Prix Hocquart Top Trip saw out the 11 f to see off Masterstroke. The step down in distance shouldn’t be a problem for Francois Doumen’s inmate.

The French Guineas form is represented via Amaron,Gregorian and Nutello. Amaron and Gregorian ran fourth and fifth in a bunch finish where a 1/2 L seperated the first six while Nutello ran tenth 2 1/2 L down.

We finally get to see Brian Meehan’s Most Improved on the racecourse at three. Before the Guineas he was the talking horse. Third in the Dewhurst going down 3/4 L to Parish Hall he comes here with no prep run. It’ll be a tremendous accomplishment if he can pull it off.

This may boil down to the form of French Fifteen versus the dominance of Ballydoyle. Then theirs all that spring talk about Most Improved. As I said, its open and competitive but the troika, Magnier, Tabor and Smith from Ballydoyle will want to win this and considering they left it late to reroute their colt from Epsom to Chantilly they must be thinking Derby double with Imperial Monarch.

The Oaks ( Group 1)

Maybe, The Fugue and Vow dominate this race. Maybe on her unbeaten two year old form, The Fugue on her impressive Guineas fourth and follow up victory in the Musidora and Vow on a win in the Lingfield Oaks Trial.

Maybe, who went through the gears easily as a juvenile from Group 3 to Group 1, gets the ground in her favour as will be the case for The Fugue. In The Musidora The Fugue stretched out having no difficulty putting 4 1/2 L between herself and Twirl. We don’t know about it for Vow as her trial was on Lingfield’s standard all weather surface and her one run as a two year old was on the soft. Greenness was the feature when hanging in the straight but ability pulled her through. How much of it she has, we’ll find out here.

No mount for Frankie Dettori as Mickael Barzalona takes the Godolphin ride on Kailani. She won at listed level by 7 L, something bettered by Kissed who won by 8 1/2 also in listed company. This is a feat that neither Shirocco Star or Colima could manage as both were beaten in their trials. Coquet did manage to it but only by a neck in her trial.

Inexperience can prove a problem here, the ability to handle the camber often is too much for fillies so early in their career. Of those at the top of the market Maybe is best positioned to deal with it and she also has form in the book.

Of those at fancy prices Twirl is the one that offers most value. Dismissed in the market after her defeat in the Musidora she previously looked a good filly in the making on her two year old runs. She might just of learnt enough from the York run and the extra two furlongs will suit this daughter of Galileo and full sister to Misty For Me. At 50/1 she is the each way choice.

Dante Stakes (Group 2)

The big question for the Dante is, will it produce an alternative to Camelot for the Derby?

The lazy answer is no it won’t. There is no three year old alive who can disrupt the ambitions of the favourite for Epsom, so the market tell’s us. Yet yesterday the Musidora put up a real genuine challenger for the Oaks in the shape of The Fugue. Why can’t the Dante do the same for the Derby? The race has a tremendous record when it comes to providing Derby winners, 9 in all with the last being Authorised in 2007. Workforce was second here in 2010. It’s also produced some serious top performers who haven’t won the Derby, the like’s of Cape Blanco and Sakhee, second to Sinndar at Epsom. This race has pedigree, 2012 will be no different.

Andrew Balding must be glad he resisted the ground at Chester and hung on to run here. His colt Bonfire will certainly have a much better chance of being ready for the Derby running here then slogging it out in a tough race last week where recovery time might have been doubled. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll win this but a good show on decent ground gives him every chance of making the gate at Epsom in his prime. There’s an awful lot to like about him. His two runs last year, especially when an unlucky third to French Fifteen in the Criterium International suggests he can suck the rarified air of Group 1 success.

The opposition here will put it up to him. Mandaean like Bonfire is a son of Manduro. He is already a Group 1 winner having won the Criterium De Saint-Cloud at the death of last season. He beat the filly Brocottes by 2 1/2 L though the value of the form is questionable as she doesn’t appear to have trained on in her two runs this year. Even so, having transferred from Andre Fabre he still represents Godolphin’s best opportunity this year of lifting the blue riband.

Ernest Hemingway could be anything. A 10 L winner of a Dundalk maiden in April tells us he is another talented son of Galileo. This will be his first test in reality and we’ll know more about him after post time.

Rodger Varian must believe he has a good colt on his hands in Ektihaam. Twice a winner from two starts before misfiring in the Dewhurst he returned to Newbury to win another conditions event by 5 L. The trainer pitches him in here for another crack at the big time.

The Guineas form is tested here with the sixth and seventh, Fencing and Ptolemaic. Not so sure their performances here will alter our view of the race or the winner but you’d have to wonder why the former is a 6/1 shot while the latter is 66/1 shot when only a 1/2 L separated them at Newmarket. Fencing may do what his stablemate did yesterday and improve well beyond what he did in the Guineas but so may Bryan Smart’s colt who punched above his weight behind Camelot.

Pedigree, this race has it.

It could well put a Bonfire to the Derby market.