DeanWatson: It's hard to go against Saeed and Godolphin, but the recent history of the race suggests it won't be Hunter's Light.
peter.jones.5621149: I completely agree with your comment about favorites, but when has a horse that's run in Australia won the DWC?
I've been watching and covering racing in Dubai since 2007 and I'm still perplexed why trainers don't simply follow the Curlin plan - go very early, acclimate and get to feel at home, always use your regular rider, run a prep. I'm a Royal Delta fan, but I had hoped they would have learned from last year's experience. Dubai demands plenty of time for acclimatization and some experience. She'll remember the track, but I would have liked an early shipping.
...oh, and about Gio Ponti. C'mon! His connections were trying to end his career with a big payday. That wasn't Gio at his best. It was his owners at their greediest. I was sad for him. But Delta will have learned something last year, and no Sutherland will be riding her.
The Tapeta changes moment-to-moment and plays mind games while making races far more competitive - it plays to the advantage of the lesser horses, tightens the pack and results in many more close finishes. But riders there know it and don't let it get in their heads (like a certain Canadian rider last year who was commenting on the 'sticky surface' even before the race). I always like Ahmed Ajtebi in the top three on any horse and I don't care about the gate.
My point: It's settling in after the travel and the place more than the surface. By the time Curlin won in a hand ride (yes, on real dirt), he felt like it was home. having been there since late January (and winning the Jaguar for practice). Well Armed (third in that race) wins the next year on a less-than-perfect day with an amazing trip and a first-time DWC rider. Hey, guess where Gloria de Campeao finished? Neither he nor Lizard's Desire returned in 2011 when the Japanese take win and place. But show? Why do I think this is so obvious? Because it is.
I like Bobby, but Pletcher doesn't so well in the KB.
Sore bottom I bet.
He would see a lot of rear ends.
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