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
- Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (Group 2) (patternracing.wordpress.com)