Dick Powell’s Dubai Pick of the Week Jan. 16, 2019
Race 4 at Meydan on Thursday morning is the $250,000 Cape Verdi Stakes (G2) for older fillies and mares going one mile around the sweeping left-hand turn. The even-money favorite is POETIC CHARM (#2) (1-1). She was a developing juvenile in 2017 when she won two of her first three races. Last year, she won two of five starts in Europe before shipping to America for the Valley View Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in October. As the lukewarm favorite, she fought Mike Smith’s efforts to conserve energy and she finished 11th from post 13 going two turns on firm turf. This is her first start of the year and even though the field is not the toughest, I think that she might be trained for bigger things the rest of the Dubai Racing Carnival. With the favorite, at least in my mind, being vulnerable, I am looking to her Godolphin stablemate and fellow daughter of Dubawi, ASOOF (#3) (6-1). With her pedigree, it is no wonder that she raced at mostly longer distances last year. She put together two wins in a row during the summer going 1 1/4 miles before moving up in class last out. At Newmarket over soft going, she was a good third after flattening out in the deep stretch after racing forwardly. One way of evaluating foreign form is to see who was chosen to ride and last year, Asoof had a series of lower-echelon British riders. In this one, she gets Christophe Soumillon, who is as good as it gets in Dubai racing. The daughter of Dubawi is out of a Group 3-winning dam by Doyen. With all that pedigree, I think a one-turn mile might be right up her alley as she should be able to save ground and make one run. There are three Godolphin runners in the Cape Verdi and Asoof wears the Red Cap, which usually means she is less than their runner wearing the Blue Cap. However, we saw a Godolphin Red Cap runner win the Melbourne Cup (G1) this year. On the rest of the Thursday card from Meydan, I like: Race 1: LAVASPIN (#7) (3-1) has won his last two starts here against decent company going six furlongs on the dirt and now moves up in company. The son of Hard Spun adds blinkers with Richard Mullen riding back. Race 2: RIO TIGRE (#6) (10-1) won two straight dirt races at Jebel Ali then fell apart in a 1 1/2-mile turf race at Abu Dhabi. Somehow, he bounced back here with a win going 1 1/4 miles on the turf when he dropped back to last of 16 runners and passed them all in the last three furlongs. He stretches out another half mile and gets Mikael Barzalona back aboard. Race 5: NORDIC LIGHTS (#4) (6-1) began his career last year with two sharp wins. then was moved up to the Dante Stakes (G2), where he ran into champion Roaring Lion and was beaten six lengths. He fell apart in the stretch going this distance at Royal Ascot in the Hampton Court Stakes (G3) and now returns for Charlie Appleby, whose horses excel off long rest. *Thursday in Dubai is a Bonus Cash day where after you opt in and bet using the new TwinSpires.com platform, you can split $1,000 by making four $25 wagers (no Show wagers) on four separate races.