The 2022 Dubai racing season will close as one of near misses and a touch of misfortune for the Gulf Racing Club, but not without positives going forward for the 2023 season and Carnival! With the rushed nature of forming a string for season one, as well as the travel issues brought upon by COVID, we managed to put together four places which included two short head misses by our lead performer MAGICAL LAND, with another place from South African import CELTIC VOYAGER. Our third horse ALBION SQUARE, was unable to find the placings from his three efforts. He suffered from a programme short of races over his prefered 1000m trip, plus struggled with his rushed preparation. He has dropped from a 98 to an 88 and is sure to make his presence felt in Australia where he will be exported this month. He will be trained by the De Kock Griffiths partnership along with our promising son of Frankel, MAGICAL LAND. Please see below for a short summary of our highlights for the season plus some information on the Goffs Dubai Breeze Up Sale which will be held next week:
In its innaugral year, the Dubai Breeze Up Sale by Goffs adds another fantastic event to the Dubai World Cup week of action. The Goffs bloodstock team have sourced a group of horses from around the world, to be shipped in and sold at a “Breeze Up” sale to suit the tracks and course of the Middle East. This is a great opportunity to buy some horses to race in the region while saving on the costly import process. There is a solid mix of European and American type pedigrees, accommodating for both dirt and turf markets. Justin Vermaak will be present at the sale where he will be looking to buy one or two young horses for Dubai next season. The major positive for buying this age group, is the owner will have young horses ready to start early in the season and ideally build into the Dubai classic races, we have seen over the years that you do need a top horse to win at this level, but the classic races on dirt are usually quite void of depth and one is able to be competitive and place in some big race such as the UAE Oaks and Guineas without having to own a real star. Of course, any young horse showing potential, we will look to ship to Australia in the Dubai “Off season” to take advantage of the massive stake money on offer instead of not campaigning at all during the Dubai off season. Australia presents a fantastic opportunity for horses that can stay a mile and more, it is less competitive than the sprinting division and a consistent horse with some ability is able to earn well over its cost.
If you are interested in following our progress at the Breeze Up sale, drop us an email here and we will add you to our mailing list for purchased horses!
MAGICAL LAND on his Meydan debut, touched off by Silent Film from Godolphin. We managed to purchase this son of Frankel on the Dubai September Sale where he was picked up for a very modest AED120 000. He was syndicated between the GRC and our partners the Blue Stables Syndicate. A last start winner at Newmarket, he was purchased cheaply with a few niggles and to be fair, not too much expectation. What a pleasant surprise he has been for his owners. As seen below, he started without much pressure on debut and put up a fantastic turn of foot while coming from off the speed to just be denied by Silent Film, who went on to win a race at the Bahrain Turf Series after this.
His next start he would be significantly slow into stride but made up massive ground to run fourth, setting up a big run for his third start. Alas, misfortune would strike again. A horse over racing on his inside kept him without a good run down the inside, having to switch out he ended up no fewer than five wide around the bend when making his run. The handy runners were not pressed to go quick and our horse had it all to do, he once again was very game and stayed on to get beaten a short head into third, another case of “next stride wins”.
The major positive going forward is MAGICAL LAND is only rated three pounds higher for these performances and with collateral form working out really well, he is blatantly under rated. He now heads off to Australia which is a fine place to be with a horse who stays 1600m and further, who is also low in the handicap. We expect him to give us some good fun in Australia and will be a very good flag bearer for the syndicate “Down Under”
CELTIC VOYAGER was always in a race for time in terms of preparation after length delays in travel. He was well short of fitness for his debut run and showed significant improvement to run fourth in a handicap (See Below) at his second start. His third start we attempted the dirt surface due to programme options getting thin, he did not take to the surface at all after being slow away. He arrived with a 98 rating which was way too high, unfortunately South African horses are at least ten pounds too high in the handicap, but he has dropped to a 91 now and will be very competitive off that mark next season, as proven in his run below.
Our runners this season have teed up what will be an exciting second season to follow. We have identified some gaps in the programme and in certain divisions and will be looking to target runners to fill these areas. The “Turf” programme is obviously very limiting as the season only runs from January till March, which essentially is only the two months of January and February as it takes a top horse to run at Super Saturday or the DWC in March. This makes for a short window and to be successful you need to beat a cavalry of well handicapped Godolphin horses that are aimed at dominating the Carnival. While it is still worth targeting with the right turf horse, the vast scope lies in the dirt racing which has a much longer season and allows you to take a young horse from the maidens, through the divisions, hopefully into the Classic races. We will be looking to target this division next year with some Breeze Up purchases at the Dubai Sale, the Arqana sale in France and the Breeze Up sales mid year in the USA. South American bred horses have done particularly well this season (Quality Boone and Kiefer ran 2nd and 3rd in the 2000 Guineas) and continue to represent great value for money for proven horses compared to the rest of the world and we will certainly be looking at getting a Southern Hemisphere bred three-year old for the classic races on dirt. Our target is to acquire a ten horse string for next season.