Al Quoz Sprint – 29th March

I’m off to Dubai at the weekend, for the World Cup, and the Al Quoz sprint is the race I’m looking forward to the most.

Shea Shea is the Meydan master, he has set the three fastest times over the straight five furlongs. When he travelled over to England last summer I was a massive supporter of him, however he was winless from his three races.  He didn’t run poorly, but a combination of poor draws, great rides and ground conditions showed that he has vulnerabilities. His win in this race last year was an exceptional performance, but he still had to work hard to get to and pass the leaders;

Last time out Shea Shea was back at Meydan and only 80% fit. He was switched the width of the track in-running, however he still won comfortably. He’ll have improved for that run and won’t be far away on the big night.

I’m not saying he can’t or won’t win, but at odds of 2.50 he doesn’t look like value to me with AMBER SKY in the race.

Amber Sky is trained in Hong Kong and this is his first trip overseas. He had a poor three- year-old season, but this year he’s put on 60lbs and looks an absolute speedball.

Joao Moreira jumps this horse to the front and he keeps galloping to the line, over five furlongs. They stepped him up to six furlongs on his second start this season and he didn’t stay. His race after that saw him take in the Group 1 Centenary Sprint Cup, back over his favourite straight five at Sha Tin, he went straight to the front and ran 55.86 secs, pulling away at the end.

55.86 is a significantly quick time, but he’s actually ran 55.81 on his first start of the season. The record for five furlongs (turf) is 55.6, but more importantly Shea Shea has never been below 56 seconds. That may be because of his hold-up style, but when he tries that on Saturday night I’m not to sure he’ll get to Amber Sky. This performance at Sha Tin is one of the best over five furlongs I’ve ever seen, he had the race won after two furlongs;

That race was only a Class Two Handicap, but he was carrying top weight. His win last time out at Group One level was still as good though;

Meydan is a track with a very fast surface and I think we’ll see the Hong Kong raider go even quicker then he has done before. I’m expecting the course record to be broken and I think the most likely horse to do that is the one who has ran sub 56.00 times.

Of the others in this we have Sole Power, winner of the Kings’ Stand at Royal Ascot last year. He flashed home late under an excellent ride from now retired Johnny Murtagh, denying Shea Shea the victory. That was the only time he finished ahead of the South African horse and was again behind him last time out at Meydan. Despite being closely matched, it’s difficult to see how he’ll be better than Shea Shea this time round. He’ll come on for the run and therefore I expect him to improve past Athoug.

Ahtoug, Catcall, Beat Baby, Dux Scholar all finished behind Shea Shea last time out, so I’m putting a line through all of them. Although Medicaen Man would have been a profitable horse to follow throughout his career, his best performance was taking a listed race at Haydock last year, before finishing way down the field, behind Shea Shea and Sole Power in the Kings’ Stand next time out.

Hamza is a front running type, who won’t be quick enough to go with the pace that is set by Amber Sky. Berlino Di Tiger come over from Brazil/America with a couple of Group three wins but will need to significantly improve to trouble the market leaders.

This race will see Amber Sky try to make all and go under 56 seconds, it’s all about whether Shea Shea can get to him inside the final furlong. At the prices I’m happy to take the 5.00 (4/1) on Amber Sky seeing it out.

Predicted 1-2-3

  1. Amber Sky
  2. Shea Shea
  3. Sole Power

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Back Amber Sky at 5.00 – Betfair Sportsbook
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