Author: Stephen Molyneux

No sooner is the season drawing to a close here in the UAE than we are turning our attention to the European campaign and we have already seen a couple of sparkling performances this week. First up was Broome who took a notable Derby trial for Aidan O’Brien on Saturday and whilst it is pushing it at this stage to suggest Broome can sweep all before him in the Classic division, trainers are creatures of habit and the Ballysax is a race that O’Brien has won before with horses such as Fame And Glory, Yeats, High Chaparral and Galileo. There was nothing sparkling about the juvenile form of Broome, although he certainly improved as the campaign went on and chased home Royal Marine in a Group One in France on his final start.

But the thing about most of the O’Brien horses last year is that they were under a cloud for much of it, testament to the trainer that they achieved what they did but potential for far more improvement than perhaps we would normally expect from the yard. That could be quite a scary proposition for the rest! Then on Sunday Charlie Appleby unleashed his first serious bullet of the European season and in Ghaiyyath he has a horse of serious potential. Even though a 4yo, he is just five starts into a career that promises plenty, and you feel patience could well and truly be rewarded this season. Having spent the winter in Dubai, although headed back to Newmarket earlier than most, Ghaiyyath was ready to start and brushed aside his Prix d’Harcourt field with authority, showing the relentless galloping trait that has stamped many a good horse before him.

You can probably see why Appleby has had to tread carefully with him, looking quite a heavy topped horse who hits the ground hard, and easier ground may always have been a pre-requisite with him (unraced on faster than good), but with French targets featuring heavily in the plans for Ghaiyyath, it seems as though Appleby has already made provisions for that. Whilst an exciting time in Europe, we are pretty much done and dusted here, save for a couple of meetings and perhaps more significantly, the end of season Horses in Training Sale that will take place at Meydan on Saturday. This sale has proven to be a bit of a damp squib in times gone by but there are certainly diamonds to be had, Rocket Power a prime example of that and his exploits this season with five wins proves that there are bargains out there.

Quite whether expected top lot Drafted will prove to be a bargain is another matter as chances are it will take serious money to secure the highlight horse of the sale. He could well reach seven figures, as even a repeat of this year’s exploits will see him bag a couple of Group races and there is no reason at all why he can’t actually improve again next season as there has always been a sense of not quite knowing what his limitations are. Those limitations weren’t exposed for me in the Golden Shaheen where things didn’t pan out as suits him so anybody who is prepared to take a chance, an expensive chance, could still have quite a bit of fun granted a fair wind. You would imagine with so many lots and seemingly the absence of a Godolphin Racing In Dubai Sale that plenty of people will be as keen to restock as others are to clean the decks, making for one of the more interesting end of season sales to take place.

Stephen Molyneux
Dubai Racing Channel

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