02/25/2014 3:41PM

Dubai: Trade Storm has license to improve in Zabeel Mile


Last year during the Dubai World Cup Carnival, Trade Storm finished 11th in his first race of the meeting, then improved massively and impressively won a pair of grass races over the Meydan course before finishing a commendable fourth in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free to end his Dubai campaign. We will see if a similar pattern unfolds Thursday when Trade Storm makes his second start of the 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival in the Group 3, $250,000 Zabeel Mile.

Trade Storm’s first race of this meeting looked a lot like his Dubai debut in 2013. It came in the Jan. 30 Al Rashidiya, and as was the case a year ago, Trade Storm barely lifted a hoof, checking in 10th of 12 while always racing near the back of the field. But we know improvement – vast improvement – is possible.

In his second Dubai run in 2013, Trade Storm launched a vicious rally to score an eye-catching win in a handicap. Third time up, he won the Zabeel Mile by 1 1/2 lengths with a similarly excellent closing kick.

The best 2013 Trade Storm can definitely repeat in the Zabeel Mile, with main opposition coming from Mushreq, a highly capable Mike de Kock-trained gelding, and perhaps Gale Force Ten, another de Kock trainee who has yet to show anything close to his best in a pair of starts at the meet. Mshawish, second last month in his Dubai debut, also has a chance.

The co-feature on the card is the Group 3, $250,000 UAE Oaks, which, if nothing else, is a race-callers nightmare with the presence of the fillies Magroora, Magrooma, and Mensoora. The likely race favorite, however,  is the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Ihtimaal, who won her all-weather surface debut, the Feb. 6 UAE Oaks, by more than three lengths, and might be difficult to defeat if she runs back to or improves upon that performance.