IN SUMMARY: An interesting race and one that may yet have a huge influence on the early betting for the Dubai World Cup with Moon Ballad, Prince Bishop, and African Story al going on from this to success in the big one. This year Goldphon rely on THUNDER SNOW who is expected to reverse recent form with Heavy Metal over this trip and who is reported in good form at home for a stable who know exactly what it takes to win this contest.
1 SECOND SUMMER – Slowly away last time out when a fourteen length eighth to Etijaah in Listed class and won’t have any hope now if repeating those antics. Decent enough at his best with a win here over a mile last March in the Godolphin Mile after a nose second in this race last season and hard to completely overlook on his better form.
2 ERAGON – Last seen finishing fifth of six in a decent enough claimer at Indiana Grand for trainer Chris Richard and now with Daniel Murphy for his first run in Dubai. Plenty to find on that form and would be a shock winner in my book here though transferring American form to the Dubai dirt is still an inexact science.
3 GRENDISAR – A multiple winner for Marco Botti in England with ten wins on the all-weather at up to Group three level. Moved to Kuwait since he was last seen and has his first run since last April today in a race that may well find him out on his first run on the dirt. Small each way possibilities perhaps on the pick of his form but a watching brief is the sensible move at present.
4 NORTH AMERICA – Classy sort but he does have a bit to find after finishing a twelve length third to Heavy Metal and Thunder Snow here in Round One of this race last month after breaking slowly and never getting in to a position to challenge. He is a fair bit better than that with four consecutive wins here at Meydan last year and with that run under his belt his supporters will be expecting better this afternoon.
5 FURIA CRUZADA – Won this race last season by a nose from Second Summer but hasn’t been in the same form lately but he has recently re-joined Erwan Charpy and may well start to rekindle his past efforts for a trainer who knows him well. Every chance of a place on last season’s form but this does possibly look a stronger renewal.
6 HEAVY METAL – A run-away winner last time out here in Round One of this challenge when pinching a lead three out while those behind were daydreaming over the mile but may find the others able to close over this extended trip. Not easily opposed but may not get the soft lead this time that paid dividends in January.
7 COSMO CHARLIE – Doug Watson’s four-year-old son of Stay Thirsty finished eighteen lengths behind Heavy Metal (and thus behind Thunder Snow and North America as well) last time out and clearly has it all to do here on that form. He had earlier finished behind the same rival here and has been well beaten twice by Thunder Snow as well and is frankly impossible to suggest on those efforts.
8 THUNDER SNOW – Always held in high regard by Godolphin and 2018 may well be the year he finally shows his true worth. He took the UAE Derby last March when beating Epicharis by a short head and took the Group One Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on turf in July which may well be the best form on offer here. Christophe Soumillon seems unlikely to let Heavy Metal get away as easily over this trip and trainer Saeed bin Suroor told the wating media that “Thunder Snow has been doing well since his return in the first round and the step up in trip will suit”…He is in good form, has been working well and is ready to go…”, high praise indeed and suggesting he will be a major challenger again today.