Ger Lyons has Big Bad Bob’s Berg Bahn in the UAE Oaks

If you’re reading this from anywhere in the world but Ireland and Dubai, you’re probably wondering who the hell are Ger Lyons, Big Bad Bob and Berg Bahn?

Berg Bahn shown winning her debut at Fairyhouse in 2009.

Ger Lyons is an Irish trainer who’s married to Lynne Lyons — who I had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter, along with Ger — and he trains the 3-year-old filly Berg Bahn, a daughter of Big Bad Bob — who stands privately in Ireland. Big Bad Bob’s first crop is 3, and Berg Bahn is one of his leading runners. A few weeks ago, she ran a terrific third in the UAE Guineas at Meydan, and she returns in the UAE Oaks over 1900 meters on the all weather Thursday.

“She’s a lean, slight filly,” Ger said the other day by phone, “But she absolutely thrives. She won a good maiden last year, and I thought she’d be a genuine stakes filly, an Irish Listed or Group 3 winner. She proved it in good company in the Guineas.”

Via Twitter, Ger also described her: “@sidfernando about 16 hands, tall angular filly, 450 kgs, bay, real feminine great temperment,June /July before she should be running!!”

He clarified: “@sidfernando I am, just saying how honest she is that she ran so well in Gns.Will be much better in summer!”

Big Bad Bob: Has a contender in the UAE Oaks on Thursday.

Ger said Berg Bahn was 459 kilos leading up to the UAE Guineas, was 444 kilos before the race, and 436 kilos after the running. “After she ran, I didn’t think she’d be back in the Oaks, but you know some get knocked out and others thrive and she has. It’s asking a lot, but she came out of the Guineas great but there’s not a pick on her.”

Ger said that Berg Bahn races for her breeder, “a Mrs. Patino, a lovely woman based in London.” Ger said that Patrick Cooper of BBA is her racing manager, and that Mrs. Patino also raced Big Bad Bob and “likes to breed to her own stallions and race the offspring.”

Mrs. Patina races as Annamoine Ltd. and/or Windflower Overseas Holdings Inc., and her current stable star is J. Dunlop’s Elusive Pimpernel, a US-bred Elusive Quality 3-year-old who won 2 of 3 last season and was second to St. Nicholas Abbey in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Big Bad Bob won 8 of 22 starts, including three stakes: the Group 3 Furstenberg-Rennen in Germany over 2000 meters, the Listed Prix Ridgway in France at 2000 meters, and the Listed Tom McGee Autumn Stakes in England at 2 over a mile. He stood at Islanmore Stud in Ireland until this year, when the stud was sold. The former secretary of the stud, Sasha Smith, emailed me the photos of the stallion and said, “He is not open to the public at present but the best person to talk to about mares, covers, etc., is the Anamoine racing manager – Patrick Cooper.”

Dunlop trained Big Bad Bob, but Ger has had several in the barn and said they could all run. “Everything I’ve raced by him has been in the money! Could be a good sire.” If you’d read one of Bill Oppenheim’s stallion previews in TDN this year, you’d remember that he actually touted the sire as one to watch as a dark horse.

Big Bad Bob at Islanmore Stud in Ireland.

Ger and Lynne Lyons are young and tuned into the new technologies of communication, which means that aside from Twitter they have a website and a blog like this one! Click here to read it. They also like to race in Dubai during the winter months and speak highly of its horse culture. “Horses come first here,” Ger said, “and it’s not about the names — the owners or trainers — but the horse. It’s a great place for the horse, too, with the weather. It’s a vacation for them, even if they end up not running. A lot of the lads go there for the beer, you know, but I’m there to promote the horse.”

Lynne likes the beaches in Dubai, too, as she told me on Twitter: “@sidfernando should have come to Dubai for the racing carnival, free wifi on beach here!!”

Free wifi on the beach? Now you’re talkin’!

Our Emblem colt Sal Grosso wins first leg of Rio triple today

(The following notes are from Diego Mitagstein of Turf Diario, on the first leg of Rio’s triple crown for colts. The photo of Sal Grosso by Davi Oliveira.)

Sal Grosso, a son of Our Emblem, won the first leg of the triple crown for colts in Rio de Janeiro today.

Sal Grosso, bred and owned by Goncalo Torrealba’s Stud TNT, conquered the Group 1 Grande Premio Estado do Río de Janeiro – Haras das Estrelas (G1) Sunday, the first leg of Gavea’s triple crown for 3-year-old colts over 1600 meters.

By Our Emblem, sire of Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem, out of the Kenmare mare Ken de Saron, a Grade 3 winner in the US, Sal Grosso used the same come-from-behind tactics that 24 hours before Dolly Max had perfected to win the Gran Premio Henrique Possolo – Haras das Estrelas (see post below). The Our Emblem colt won by a half-length  from Too Friendly in the time of 1:33.65 over a fast track.

Trained by Venancio Nahid, Sal Grosso won for the second time in seven starts today, flying the devil’s red and blue silks made famous in the US by Calumet Farm and later purchased by TNT.

Dolly Max strikes for Sadler’s Wells sire Crimson Tide in Rio

(The following notes are from Diego Mitagstein of Turf Diario, on the first leg of Rio’s triple crown for fillies. The photo of Dolly Max courtesy of Gersons Martin.)

Dolly Max: By the Sadler's Wells sire Crimson Tide, she won the first leg of Rio's triple crown for fillies Saturday.

Dolly Max was invincible in the Gran Premio Henrique Possolo – Haras das Estrelas (G1) over the metric  mile on turf at Hipódromo da Gavea, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday. The first leg of Jockey Club Brasileiro’s triple crown for fillies, Dolly Max was confidently ridden by Dalto Duarte, who brought Dolly Max from behind in the straight to beat Dear Nati by 2 1/2 lenghts. The Sadler’s Wells stallion Crimson Tide is the sire of both the winner and the runner-up. Bred by Haras Di Cellius and owned by Coudelaria Alvarenga Desejada, Dolly Max won for the sixth time from 11 starts in the Henrique Possolo. It was the second graded stakes win of her career; last january she won the Group 3 Grande Premio Roger Guedon. Dolly Max covered the 1600 meters on turf in 1:33.97.

Tom Thornbury candidly about South America, Jack Werk

Before I left for California on Sunday, I’d been thinking of Tom Thornbury, the respected and well-liked associate director of sales at Keeneland because Tom had been asked to select the yearlings for the Copa aBullrich sale in Argentina in May — somewhat of a minefield to navigate because in Argentina the select sale concept is in its infancy and as a result there’s always a chance to insult a proud farm. Bullrich, however, picked the right guy for the job, because not only is Tom a world-class horseman, he’s also genuine. “I looked at the yearlings on physique,” Tom said, “and the 80 catalogued for the first day would make any trainer in the world want one. My scale is on 4,5,6, and there’s an awful lot of 5s plus in there. Of the 80 on the first day, 25 are really high on my scale.”

I actually ended up speaking to Tom this week by chance, after the death of our mutual friend, Jack Werk. Tom sent in an email to Jack’s kids and friends about Jack, and with his permission I’m including  it here:

“I wish that I had the chance to tell Jack how much he impacted my life. I hope that I somehow conveyed that over the years that we have known each other. I first met Jack at a yearling sale in Kentucky. I can’t put an exact date on it, but it was likely to have been the late 1980s. It was Jack’s first venture to the sales in Kentucky, and he was just testing the water. To tell you the truth, what drew me to introduce myself was that he looked like he could be the twin brother of a revered college room-mate of mine, and also that he looked as though he knew no one at the sale. He was a total new-comer to Kentucky. We immediately became friends.

“Jack told me of what he did with his computerized nicking service. I was not exactly computer savvy, so it was way over my head, but he had a long list of clients that depended on his selections for matings before they made a move. Jack’s method was also helpful in selecting for his clients those sale horses with proven nicks that would likely become good racing prospects. Through Jack, I met a lot of those clients. Some of them became clients of my small farm, where they boarded mares, raised foals, and often kept them to break and prepare for racing. Most of these folks liked breeding to race. Being part of their plans was extremely satisfying. These people became more than clients. They became family. I cannot begin to tell you how Jack impacted my farm, my family, and my future.

“Jack was a quiet, dependable, enthusiastic supporter, and I will treasure the involvement he had in the development of my business and my professional life. He never asked for a thing in return. As long as I was fair and honest with his clients, Jack was happy to send them my way. He was as kind and good a man as I have ever known. What I wouldn’t do to have had one more opportunity to talk with him – just to thank him for all that he meant to me.”

One of the people Tom met through Jack was me, and I actually once sent a mare to a sale through Tom (that made $60,000, a nice profit!). MRLS killed Tom’s farm business, and he later joined Keeneland, where he’s a major conveyor of good will. Now he’s helping the sales companies in South America, too. Before the Bullrich gig, he’d done similar work in Brazil, too.

Click below to read articles about Tom in Argentina and Brazil. Use a translator if you don’t read Spanish or Portugese.



Undefeated Caracortado’s Storm Cat sire now in Indiana

Cat Dreams: Indiana sire has early Triple Crown contender.

Caracortado, the undefeated winner of the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita today, is by the Storm Cat sire Cat Dreams, now listed as standing at stud at Still Creek Farms in Brookville, Indiana, for $1,500 live foal for owner Triple ‘R’ Thoroughbred Syndicate. The horse began his career in California at Pepper Oaks Farm for $4,000 and stood his last year there in 2009 at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds in  Santa Ynez for an advertised fee of $2,000, as the property of Bongo Racing Stables and B. Wayne Hughes — owner of Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky. Mr. Hughes had purchased the horse at the Keeneland September yearling sale in 2002 for $475,000, and he won his lone and only start at 2 by 8 lengths at Churchill Downs for the Spendthrift owner.

Cat Dreams is out of the top-class speed mare J J’sDream, who won 13 races and earned more than a million between ages 2 and 5. Cat Dreams wasn’t as sound as his illustrious dam, a multiple graded stakes winner who made 40 starts, but he was fast, winning a 6-furlong maiden special in 1:10.61. With his pedigree and promise, he was supported by Mr. Hughes at stud, just as he had sent and supported Malibu Moon to Country Life in Maryland his first years at stud. Malibu Moon won one of 2 starts total and like Cat Dreams did all his racing at 2. He has since become one of A.P. Indy’s best sons at stud and now stands at Spendthrift as the rare non-stakes winner who made it as a sire.

Cat Dream’s oldest foals are 4-year-olds this year. They’ve shown speed, too. His first starter, Cat Dreamer, set a track record of :50.84 for 4 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park in 2008, and Caracortado was a stakes winner at 2 — and so far is his sire’s only stakes winner. Judging by the change in ownership, it appears that Spendthrift gave up on Cat Dreams after his first crop didn’t set any rivers on fire, but Caracortado, a gelding who sported a body clip in the Lewis, is 5 for 5 and on the early Triple Crown trail. He’s out of a daughter of Maria’s Mon, sire of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, but the family is mostly known for 2-year-old stakes winners. Time will tell if Caracortado can stretch out more, though the way he won today was promising.

Turkish Group 2 form held well at Meydan Thursday night

Halicarnassus (right), Alan Munro aboard, was too good for Turkish hope Pan River in the Group 2 Bosphorus Cup at Veliefendi in Istanbul Sept. 3. On Thursday at Meydan, each won a race on the turf.

The top two finishers in the Group 2 Bosphorus Cup at Veliefendi in Istanbul last Sept. 3 were in action at Meydan in Dubai Thursday night in consecutive races, and each won. Click here to access the charts for Race #7 (Halicarnassus) and Race #8 (Pan River). The chart of the Bosphorus Cup is below:

Click here to view the race.

7.Race  Time:22:00 INTERNATIONAL BOSPHORUS CUP G 2 /ENT 3 Years Old And Up Thoroughbreds   55,5-60-60 Kg 2400 Turf Video Photo Trakus Race Racap Information ( Every 100 m.) <!––>Trakus Sectional Timing
Prize 1.)400.000 $ 2.)160.000 $ 3.)80.000 $ 4.)40.000 $ Breeder Premium 1.)100.000 $ 2.)40.000 $ 3.)20.000 $ 4.)10.000 $
Result Horse Name Old Origin Weight Jockey Owner Trainer Time Win St Margin Late Start H
5yo b h CAPE CROSS(IRE)LAUNCH TIME(USA) 60 A.MUNRO DORIC RACING M.CHANNON 2.31.59 3,00 2 1/2 Length    
PAN RIVER(8)    
4yo b h RED BISHOP(USA)WANGANUI RIVER(GB) 60 N.ŞEN NEVZAT SEYOK R.TETİK 2.31.71 2,50 9 2 Length   135
ANNOSH(12)TT  StableMate  
6yo b m NASHWAN(USA)ANAM(GB) 58.5 S.KAYA ÖZEN ADALI Y.ŞİMŞEK 2.32.11 5,25 13     120
6yo b h DANSILI(GB)GIPSY MOTH (GB) 60 J.CROWLEY MR & MRS I. H. BENDELOW W.KNIGHT 2.32.53 3,25 3      
3yo b c NATIVE PROCIDARAVİVE(GB) 55.5 T.ALICI MEHMET ARSLAN G.GÜNGÖR 2.33.00 10,30 11     119
GENGHIS KHAN(2)B TT  StableMate  
CARDIO DANCER(1)TT  StableMate  
4yo b h LEAR WHITE(USA)ROSE GEM(IRE) 60 E.YAVUZ AYHAN GİRAY Ş.AYDEMİR 2.34.28 15,20 1     115
OUT OF CONTROL(7)TT  StableMate  
Quinella(3/8) : 8,80 TL , Exacta(3/8) : 11,35 TL , 5th double(9/3) : 21,20 TL , Place Quinella(3/8) : 6,10 TL , Place Quinella(3/9) : 7,90 TL , Place Quinella(8/9) : 19,10 TL , Trifecta(3/8/9) : 18,96 TL Withdrawn Horse:0,88 TL , Superfecta(3/8/9/12) : 72,77 TL Withdrawn Horse:1,63 TL , Place(3) : 1,50 TL , Place(8) : 2,20 TL , Quartet(3/8/9/12) : 3,27 TL, EFG:5

Wind Flow wins Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup

The 6-year-old Dr. Fong horse Wind Flow won the 2400-meter Custodian of the  Two Holy Mosques Cup (King’s Cup) at Janadriyah today from Muller, last year’s winner. The chart of the KSA Group 1 race is below, from the Equestrian Club of Riyadh. The winner raced the distance in 2:29.05 and won by 4-plus lengths.  Click here to access the program, which lists the Arabic names of horses next to their official names.

Race No. 7 Result
Meeting No. : 52
Date : 12/02/2010
Venue : AL – Janadriah
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup (G 1)


404 The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup (Group 1) Track Type: Dirt
Open 2400 Mtrs. Value 200000
Prize P. Run
Place Horse Name Saddle Cloth Age Col./Sex Sire Dam Weight Win/Dist. Jockey Gate
70000 379 1 Wind Flow  13  B m.  DR FONG  SPRING  56  2:29.05  E. Yanguez 
44000 326 2 Alsaqr  B m.  EL COMPINCHE  MARTINA GIRL  56  4 1/4 L S.Madrid 
40000 326 3 Shibl Noofa  B m.  STUKA  ANGEL DE FURIA  56  3 3/4 L O.Peslier 
26000 326 4 Rafeeq Alnashama  11  B m.  Halling  MINGORA  56  1/4 L R.Perez  13 
20000 326 5 Kheraimes  B m.  LODE  JOLIE CARESSE  56   Neck J.Barria  10 
  293 6 Shahaan  12  B m.  DANSILI  PROPHECY  56  1 1/4 L M.Saeid 
  326 7 Himah  15  B f.  (الحراق)BLUE BURNER  AL SHOSHALEA (SDA  54  1/2 L C. Ospina   
  352 8 Al Oq Howaan  B m.  GERMANY  OST TYCOON  56  12 3/4 L S.Alshayaey  11 
  325 9 Yastaa Hel  CH m.  VOLERIS  MISS LAMBADA  56  1 1/4 L A. Jaen 
  289 10 Medici(CHI)  B m.  SIR CAT  DHION  56  3 1/4 L W. Ramos 
  372 11 Ghalawain  CH m.  RAINBOW QUEST  BOMBAZINE  56  20 1/4 L A.S. Al Audeeb 
  352 12 Sunny Jim  CH m.  SILVANO  SUMMER LINE  56  15 1/4 L R.Mullen  12 
  293 13 Field Event  10  CH m.  WESTERN WINTER  FIELD PRINCESS  56  36 3/4 L C. Soumillom 
Owner of the Winning Horse Breeder Trainer
Al-Ghuraban Stable - F. Alghareeban

Sale of stallion prospect at Fasig-Tipton raises eyebrows

One-day mixed sales, like Monday’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky mixed sale, frequently have the stallion prospects catalogued at the end of the book. Stallion prospects in mixed sales are usually lower-level horses destined for regional or foreign markets, and as such the people who buy these types are either horse traders, buying at wholesale prices to sell at retail, or end users looking for value. These people usually have an idea of what a horse should make, and when one goes for significantly less or more than the expected price, there’s some chatter. That’s how I heard about one particular sale, and it’s an eyebrow-raiser.

Take a look at Hip #333, Bear’s Kid. A son of Lemon Drop Kid from Grade 1 winner Tap to Music, Bear’s Kid hails from a strong female family and was a Grade 2 winner in Canada at age 2. In total, he earned $269,599. As a stallion prospect, however, he had some holes. One, he’s now 7. Two, he hadn’t raced since January of 2008, more than two years ago. Three, he wasn’t a “looker.”

“He was a big, raw-boned, coarse, low-backed horse,” said one observer, “and he looked like he was walking on egg shells.” Another person who had some information on the horse said he’d been on a farm in Canada for a while, turned out with another horse. “May have had feet problems,” he guessed by the way the horse walked.

Although a Grade 2 winner, Bear’s Kid was selling in a market that doesn’t have much demand for lower-level prospects. “From the [catalog] page, I figured he was worth up to $10,000, and maybe you’d get $20,000 for him [reselling],” a prospective buyer said. “But after I saw him, I’d have said $10,000 tops retail.”  This feeling was echoed by a foreign buyer, who was expecting to pay about $10,000 to $15,000 for him.

Bear’s Kid had sold as a 2-year-old in 2005 for $60,000; the same year, Lemon Drop Kid’s 2-year-olds had averaged $95,449 at auction.

In November of 2009, just a few months ago, the stallion prospect was sold for $11,305 at a Canadian mixed auction, at a price in line with what many expected him to bring at Fasig-Tipton.

So what did he bring on Monday? Buckle up! Check the sales price for Hip #333 here. Then raise your eyebrows and whistle, like I did.

Argentine Group 1 winner Ishitaki in UAE Guineas tomorrow

Ishitaki: Multiple Argentine Group 1 winner will debut in Godolphin blue Thursday at Meydan.

The UAE 1000 Guineas (Race #5) at Meydan tomorrow features not only the Chilean 2-year-old champion filly Mensajera De La Luz  highlighted in the post below this one but also one of the best 2-year-old fillies in Argentina in 2009, Ishitaki

Godolphin purchased Ishitaki after the filly had won her second Group 1, the Gran Premio Jorge de Atucha on dirt at Palermo. Before that, the filly scored in the Group 1 Gran Premio Eliseo Ramirez on turf at San Isidro (video below). Both were impressive, open-length victories, and please note that the Argentine-bred winner of last year’s UAE 1000 Guineas, So Shiny, was second in the 2008 Jorge de Atucha. 

Bred and raced in Argentina by Haras Don Arcangel, Ishitaki has won 3 of 4 starts. She descends tail-mail to the great Nashua — not too many do — through his exported son Good Manners, one of six stakes winners for his dam. 


Chilean champ Mensajera De La Luz in UAE 1000 Guineas

Undefeated Chilean filly Mensajera De La Luz makes her Middle Eastern début Thursday in the  UAE 1000 Guineas at Meydan (Race #5) in a matchup against Argentine Group 1 winner Ishitaki, the Brazilian Group 2 winner Opera Comica, and the Australian-bred, South African Raihana, already a winner at Meydan. A champion 2-year-old who was purchased by the familiar Saudi-based owner/trainer duo of Prince Sultan Mohd. Saud Al Kabeer and Jerry Barton after her win in the Group 1 Cl. Tanteo de Potrancas on dirt at Hipodromo Chile last year, Mensajera De La Luz is from the dazzling 2006 crop of Chilean-bred fillies that also includes Belle Watling and Casablanca Smile. The latter two have won the two most important races in Chile, the El Ensayo and El Derby over 2400 meters on turf, respectively, whereas Mensajera De La Luz is a dirt filly who’s never been farther than 1500 meters — the distance of the Tanteo de Potrancas. See the race below. She is a chestnut with a blaze who makes a late move on the outside and wins going away. 


Mensajera De La Luz is by Election Day (1992), a Sadler’s Wells stakes winner who is a full brother to three stakes winners, including Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Islington. Their dam, Hellenic, is by Darshaan — the exceptional cross for Sadler’s Wells. Hellenic won the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks and was second in the St. Leger. Election Day was a stakes winner at age 4 and was placed in the Group 1 Gold Cup at 5 and has plenty of stamina in his pedigree. 

Election Day: Sire of Mensajera De La Luz

At stud, he was one of the first group of Sadler’s Wells stallions to take off in South America, first in Colombia and then Chile. Other sons of Sadler’s Wells who have succeeded in South America include Poliglote (1992) in Argentina; Crimson Tide (1994 and also out of a Darshaan mare) in Brazil; Water Poet (1993) in Venezuela; and Dushyantor (1993) in Chile. Note that these staying turf horses have sired very high-class runners in South America (Belle Watling, probably the best filly on turf in South America, is by Dushyantor) and in many cases their offspring have adapted to dirt racing, just as the Sadler’s Wells sire El Prado’s runners did in North America. Some examples: Water Poet is the sire of Bambera, a dirt filly; Poliglote is the sire of 2009 Argentine Oaks equivalent winner Kalath Wells; and Election Day is the sire of Mensajera De La Luz. 

Prince Sultan Al Kabeer has been one of the biggest buyers of South American horses for the Middle East in recent years, and in 2009 he won the UAE 1000 Guineas with the Argentine-bred So Shiny, a winner at Meydan last Friday over the Indian sprint champ Oasis Star. Jerry Barton’s Al Kabeer Saudi invaders last year also included the filly Deem, who won the Group 3 Cape Verdi, and Big City Man, winner of the Group 1 Golden Shaheen and the Al Shindagha (also on Thursday), so he’s probably got Mensajera De La Luz tight enough for the Guineas — even though it’s her first race since last July. 

A few years ago, Prince Sultan Al Kabeer purchased the colt Simpatico Bribon from the same farm (Haras Santa Olga) that he got Mensajera De La Luz. Simpatico Bribon also was by Election Day, and he’d won the colt equivalent of the Tanteo de Potrancas — the Group 1 Tanteo de Potrillos. Simpatico Bribon won the Derrinstown Stud Al Bastikiya at Nad Al Sheba.

Rocket Man’s half-brother Our Giant is entered at Meydan

The New Zealand-bred McGinty mare Macrosa has the notable distinction of producing two international sprints stars: Singapore’s ace Rocket Man (see a post below) and South Africa’s Our Giant, a Group 1 winner. Both were bred in Australia. Rocket Man is by the Quest for Fame sire Viscount, a Group 1 winner at 7 and 8 furlongs, while Our Giant is by the Ashford-based Giant’s Causeway, a Group 1 winner at 7  to 10 furlongs and the leading sire in North America in 2009. Macrosa in remarkably consistent fashion “shortened” both the sires of the two sprinters.

Both half-brothers may meet in Dubai. Rocket Man has the Golden Shaheen on his schedule, while Our Giant is already in Dubai and starts in the Group 3 Al Shindagha sprint on the Tapeta Thursday at Meydan. Last out, he won the Group 1 Mercury Sprint at Clairwood in South Africa on July 19, 2009. A video of the finish of that race is below:


Is Israel behind the assassination of Hamas leader in Dubai?


On the eve of the Dubai World Cup, a recent high-profile assassination in Dubai is the talk of the town, while the trial of the assassination of a former Russian commander on Dubai World Cup day last year is underway.  

The big question these days: Did Israel sanction the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai on Jan. 20? Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai police chief, thinks maybe, according to published reports. Mahmoud al Mabhouh, accused in the past by Israel as a weapons smuggler between Iran and Gaza, was found dead in a Dubai hotel room on Jan. 20, and Lt. Gen. Tamin has implied that the assassination may have been the work of Mossad — the Israeli intelligence agency.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, will be the first to be wanted for justice as he would have been the one who signed the decision to assassinate [Mahmoud] al Mabhouh in Dubai. We will issue an arrest warrant against him.”Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim to The National 

Lt. Gen. Tamim has no qualms about taking on high-ranking foreign leaders in the press. After Chechen Sulim Yamadayev, a one-time Russian batallion commander and an opponent of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, was assassinated in Dubai last Dubai World Cup day, Lt. Gen. Tamim was unequivocal in his assertions that Mr. Kadyrov’s right-hand man, Adam Delimkhanov, was the mastermind behind it. In fact, he had Mr. Delimkhanov, at the time a member of the Russian government, placed on an Interpol wanted list and tried to have him extradited to Dubai to stand trial. Recently at the Yamadayev trial, a Dubai policeman testified that an Iranian national associated with the Kadyrov stable in Dubai had implicated Mr. Delimkhanov.

Singapore sprint ace Rocket Man, 8 for 9, returns a winner

The field for the Golden Shaheen just got another player: Singapore sprint ace Rocket Man, 8 for 9 now, returned a winner today over Kranji’s synthetic surface. Read the details from the Singapore Turf Club here. The video of today’s race is directly below, and beneath that is the video of the Group 1 KrisFlyer International Sprint from May 17, 2009 — the only defeat on Rocket Man’s resume. He was second to the Hong Kong champion Sacred Kingdom in 1:07.80 for the 1200 meters on turf that day and subsequently suffered a fracture.



Little girl Jacqueline rises to occasion: Makes Derby history

Fans celebrate at Mahalaxmi Racecourse today as Jacqueline wins McDowell Signature Indian Derby in record time. Photo courtesy of @MissMalini from Twitter.

 (The following report was filed from India by Major Srinivas Nargolkar, former Keeper of the Indian Stud Book. The Major has covered each of Jacqueline’s classic triumphs in this space, and links to each recap are available at the end of this post. Race result chart and video courtesy of 

“Talita Kumi.” Christ is said to have uttered the words when he resurrected a young girl. Talita Kumi’s daughter Jacqueline rose splendidly to the occasion today at Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai to win the McDowell Signature Indian Derby, Gr.1, and thereby become the only filly  to win the first four Indian classics. She was once again given a great ride by Richard Hughes, who got to Becket inside the last 200 m., threaded the needle-eye gap on the colts inside and in the end won comfortably by three parts of a length. Jacqueline’s time of 2.28.54 shaved 0.04 seconds of the course and race record established last year by Antonios. 


A dozen runners went to the post, four of them sporting Mr. Vijay Shirke’s silks, five trained by Pesi Shroff and  Jacqueline the odds on favourite. As a winner of the previous three classics, she had every reason to be everyone’s darling and those who backed her at the cramped price were perhaps mindful that the last favourite to win the Indian Derby winner was ridden by Richard Hughes (Smart Chieftan in 2000). 

Two  Shirke runners — Aston Martin and the Calcutta Derby winner Bruckner — led the field after it had settled down and entered the backstretch with Golconda Derby victor Classerville in their slipstream. This time, instead of sitting dead last, Hughes had a couple of runners behind him. Coming to the final bend, Bruckner had found the pace too hot and was back-pedalling; Classerville brought them into the straight only to be left standing by Becket’s effortless surge. Becket bounded forward with such gusto and ease that it looked as if the veteran trainer S. Padmanabhan would finally win the one big race that has eluded him.
Neither Becket (Martin Dwyer up) nor Padmanabhan had reckoned with Jacqueline and Hughes. As in the Indian Oaks, Hughes brought the filly down the centre of the track, saw Becket with a healthy advantage and roused the filly with a couple of cracks. Her response was immediate and Hughes switched her to the rails, aimed her at the narrow gap and the filly went through it like a lioness. Once she had got on even terms, Hughes put the whip away and she was always the winner thereafter even if the margin was a narrow one. Native Knight (by Placerville) finished third — 2 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up — but well clear of Onassis, thus reversing their Ruia Gold Cup placings.
Having achieved what no other filly has recorded before, Jacqueline deserves to savour the moment and bask in the limelight. An assessment of her intrinsic worth and place in the history can be deferred for later.
For the record, Jacqueline is owned by Mr.and Mrs. Vijay Shirke (Indian Derby with Noble Eagle earlier), Mr. and Mrs. K.N. Dhunjibhoy (Indian Derby winner Indictment in their own colours) and Mr. Berjis Desai. The proud owners were also richer by Rs. 12,738,000 (US $ 250,000; give or take a few dollars). For Pesi Shroff it was his first Indian Derby. The former champion jockey — he piloted nine Indian Derby winners first past the post though one was subsequently disqualified for failing the dope test — saddled his first winner of the Blue Riband in Jacqueline.  Shroff commenced training just five years ago and last year had Set Alight in his yard. It will take a brave man to bet against his bettering his riding record as a trainer.
Mr. Sultan Singh must have been overjoyed with the result for both Jacqueline and Becket were bred at his Sohna Stud, some 40 km. to south of India’s capital New Delhi. He has had much success with his imported ‘in-utero’ foals including the 2006 Indian Derby winner Velvet Rope.
This was also the first time that two foals conceived abroad have fought out the finish of the Indian Derby. Interestingly, their sires have been banished from their original homes. King Charlemagne (sire of Jacqueline) is now in Italy while Hawk Wing finds himself in the rocky, volcanic, honeymoon island of Cheju south of Korea. Jacqueline’s pedigree has been discussed before. All that remains is to add a piece of trivia. Almyra, the fourth dam of Sea the Stars, not only descends from the Crafton’s daughter Alveole but is inbred to that mare. Templeogue, the third dam of Jacqueline, is also inbred to Alveole.  
Click here to see the chart (Race #9) of the race.


Indian Oaks 

2000 Guineas 

1000 Guineas 

Oasis Star 2nd at Meydan today confirms India’s race form

Oasis Star, shown directly below winning the Indian Group 1 Dr. S.C. Jain Sprinters Championship at Mumbai on March 15, 2009, made her Dubai début at Meydan today a memorable one with a fine second-place finish to 2009 UAE 1000 Guineas winner So Shiny. The latter, an Argentine-bred daughter of Indygo Shiner now representing Saudi Arabia, was Group 1-placed in her native country before taking the Guineas at Nad Al Sheba last season. There were several international stakes winners in the race today, including Group 1 winners, so Oasis Star’s finish confirmed the Indian formbook — and my penchant for featuring the Indian classics in this space. Aside from Oasis Star, there have been several horses — interestingly, fillies — out of India lately that have demonstrated, in my opinion, high-class international form, notably the outstanding Set Alight, last season’s champion filly; and her heir apparent, the equally impressive Jacqueline, who attempts to make history Sunday. Jacqueline has won both Guineas and the Oaks and will go in the McDowell Signature Indian Derby at Mahalaxmi Sunday in an attempt to sweep all four classics for the first time in history.


A come-from-behind sprinter with tremendous acceleration, Oasis Star is a 6-year-old mare by US-raced Grade 1 winner Senure, a son of Nureyev, out of the unraced Lear Fan mare Gumbaru Etsu, and is widely considered the best sprinter seen in India. A winner of 14 races from 18 starts, she’d been scheduled to race in the US last year but quarantine issues scuttled the plans. Click here to read an earlier post about her. Note that she was racing today on a surface other than turf for the first time in her career. She is one of four Indian horses at Meydan for the carnival. The others are Antonios, last season’s conqueror of Set Alight in the Indian Derby; Yana; and Autonomy. (Yana, a mare, ran unplaced in the 6th race today at 1600 meters, a distance well short of the 2400 to 3000 meters that she needs.)

Below is the 1st race from Meydan today. Oasis Star is on the rail in 5th early, fans out on the turn for home, and finishes strong.