This Sunday morning Australian time two of Peter Snowden’s crack colts will make their international race debuts on Dubai World Cup Night, Helmet in the UAE Derby and four-time Group 1 hero Sepoy in the Golden Shaheen 2012.
While Hemet is rated only a $12 chance at bookmaker.com.au of beating home all of their UAE Derby rivals having been asked to carry the 59.5kg topwieght and drawing unfavorably wide with barrier 14, Elusive Quality colt Sepoy is fighting it out for top spot in the Golden Shaheen odds.
Current betting markets on the lucrative US$2 million, 1200-metre Group 1 sprint are led by the Patrick Bernard Shaw-trained Rocket Man at $3.10 to secure back-to-back Golden Shaheen victories.
Undeniably one of the world’s best sprinters, five international Group 1 wins to prove it, Viscount six-year-old Rocket Man is the deserved favourite.
Sunday will be their first look at the Meydan artificial track since their big two and a half length win in this race last year.
Twelve months ago they won the Golden Shaheen off the back of a six length romp in the Kranji Stakes at their home track.
On March 4 this year Rocket Man saluted in the Kranji Stakes again by a similarly impressive six lengths and they look on track for another Golden Shaheen triumph.
“He loves this track and he has a better draw now in gate one than in the past two years when he was in six and nine,” owner Fred Crabbia said.
“He will be on the back of the leader in the run hopefully and then kick in the straight.
“But there is no question that he cannot perform to his best.
“Pat and Felix (Coetzee, jockey) tell me that he feels back to his very best, 100 per cent, and that will do me.”
In any horse can stop the Singapore flyer, however, it is Aussie expat Sepoy who occupies the second line of Golden Shaheen betting at bookmaker.com.au paying $4.
The first horse in 22 years to take out the Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double as a two-year-old last autumn, Sepoy went on to dominate the Melbourne sprints last year racking up two more elite levels in the Manikato Stakes and Coolmore Stud Stakes.
They resumed at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Day in late February but failed to win their Aussie swansong when finishing one length away fifth to upset winner Woorim in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m), just their second loss from a stunning 12-start career to date.
“Sepoy was as good a two-year-old as we have had for 25 years in Australia,” Snowden said.
“The records he set and the races he won, no horse had done that for a long time.
“His times were astounding. He is a seasoned horse, albeit a young one, and has raced at a very high level.
“He had a good spring and won another two Group 1’s then (September & October 2011).
“He has only had one run back this year before coming here and was very disadvantaged in the weights in relation to the older horses then but he led right up to the last 50-meters and was only beaten a length at the line.”
So the big question now is whether Sepoy can return to the winners stall, this time under the lights on a track he’s never seen in his big overseas debut.
Aussie hoop Kerrin McEvoy travels over for the ride, the master behind Sepoy for all but his opening three starts.
McEvoy is confident that should Sepoy step up and handle the foreign track, then he will be a big threat to Rocket Man on the line.
“We know what a high quality horse Sepoy is and he has given me a nice feel in his gallops,” McEvoy said.
“If he handles (the Tapeta) as well as grass in the race, he should be in the finish.”
The other main dangers in the 2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen field and markets include American Group 1 winner The Factor ($5.50 bookmaker.com.au), Hong Kong hopeful Lucky Nine ($8.50 bookmaker.com.au) coming off a victory in the Group 1 The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin, and Krypton Factor ($9 bookmaker.com.au) who has won two of their three starts at the track and distance this season.
Adding more interest is the inclusion of Sepoy’s former stablemate Soul ($19 bookmaker.com.au), the classy Commands four-year-old now prepared by Saeed Bin Suroor for Godolphin in England.
Soul also comes off a last-start win at the track and distance after overcoming a wide barrier 10 (of 11) draw and so are still a genuine chance perhaps over the odds form gate 11 in the Golden Shaheen.
“Soul won a handicap in good style on his first start in Dubai,” Bin Suroor said.
“The form is working out and he could run well despite the switch in surface to [the all-weather] and higher-class opponents.”
See below for the latest Dubai Golden Shaheen betting odds courtesy of our preferred online bookie bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 Dubai Golden Shaheen Odds
Dubai Race 6 – 01/04/2012 (Australian Time)
|1||ROCKET MAN||3.10 bookmaker.com.au|
|2||HAPPY DUBAI||31.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|3||GIANT RYAN||14.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|4||RUSSIAN ROCKET||67.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|5||KRYPTON FACTOR||9.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|7||THE FACTOR||5.50 bookmaker.com.au|
|8||IVER BRIDGE LAD||51.00 bookmaker.com.au|
|12||LUCKY NINE||8.50 bookmaker.com.au|
*All odds quoted are fixed win and subject to change – check bookmaker.com.au for updates and to bet now!