***The following is a preview of the Cape Verdi Stakes, which will be run on Jan. 20 at Meydan Race Course. You can also find this preview on The Blood-Horse website. I thought I’d also include it here.
Aspectoflove heads a field of 11 older fillies and mares that will go to the post in the Cape Verdi Stakes-Sponsored by Bab Al Shams (UAE-IIT) at Meydan Race Course on Jan. 20. The Cape Verdi highlights the second day of racing of the 2011 Dubai Carnival.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, Aspectoflove finished second in this race last year, coming up just a quarter-length short to Soneva. The 5-year-old daughter of Danetime made seven additional starts in 2010, capturing two listed events over the same eight furlong distance of the Cape Verdi.
Aspectoflove has been training very well of late, and Suroor is looking for big things from her. “She ran well in both her Meydan races last year and we are very happy with her. She is better racing prominently and we expect her to go close.”
Frankie Dettori has the mount.
South Africa’s Mike de Kock, who perennially factors as one of the leading trainers during the Dubai Carnival, sends out the hard-knocking River Jetez. An 8-year-old mare by the leading South African-based sire, Jet Master, River Jetez is a full-sister to the 2007 South African Horse of the Year, Pocket Power.
A multiple stakes winner in her native country, River Jetez won three of her four starts last year, which was highlighted by a gallant victory in the prestigious J & B Met (SAf-I). In that ten-furlong contest she not only defeated Pocket Power-who was bidding for an unprecedented fourth straight win in the race-but also Mother Russia, who recently captured the L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (SAf-I) at Kenilworth on Jan. 8.
Originally trained by Mike Bass, River Jetez was turned over to de Kock with an eye toward racing in the carnival. Leading French rider Christophe Soumillon will be aboard.
Deem will be trying to win the Cape Verdi for the second time. The daughter of Dalakhani, who is trained by Jerry Barton for Prince Sultan Mohammed Saud Al Kabeer, captured the event in 2009. Last year, the 6-year-old mare claimed a victory over Aspectoflove in the Balanchine Stakes (UAE-IIIT) before finishing a close fourth to Dar Re Mi in the Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-IT).
Olivier Peslier has the mount, and is looking forward to riding Deem. “She is in good form and seems to thrive in Dubai,” Peslier said. “We have to be hopeful of a good run and hopefully there will be a decent pace in the race to utilize her stamina.”
The Kentucky-bred My Sweet Baby will be making her first start since May of last year. The 5-year-old daughter of Minardi captured the Premio Regina Elena (Italian 1000 Guineas, gr. III) in 2009. My Sweet Baby is a half-sister to champion Gladiatorus, who was undefeated in three starts in Dubai. He captured the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT) and the Premio Vittorio di Capua (It-I) on his way to being named champion in both Italy and the U.A.E. in 2009.
Other contenders include Ralph Beckett’s Forest Crown, a half-sister to group I winner Crowded House and the Stan Moore-trained Kinky Afro.
$200,000 Cape Verdi-Sponsored by Bab Al Shams (gr. II, Race 6, 12:45 p.m. EST), Fillies & Mares, 3yo (SH-bred) & Up, 1 mile (turf) (all carry 126 lbs.)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. River Jetez (SAf), C. Soumillon, M. de Kock
2. Aspectoflove (Ire), L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
3. Anam Chara (Ire), C. O’Donoghue, A. Oliver
4. Kinky Afro (Ire), K. Fallon, J.S. Moore
5. Forest Crown (GB), J. Crowley, R. Beckett
6. Ayun Tara (Fr), G. Benoist, X. Nakkachdji
7. Summer Games (GB), T. O’Shea, R. Bouresly
8. Emper Holly (Arg), P. Cosgrave, M. bin Shafya
9. Deem (Ire), O. Peslier, J. Barton
10. Thai Haku (Ire), C.P. Lemaire, M. Delzangles
11. My Sweet Baby (KY), W. Smith, F. Nass