03/02/2013 2:47PM

Dubai: Trade Storm sharp winning Zabeel Mile


Trade Storm was little known when he arrived in Dubai for the Winter Carnival, but he is making a name for himself at Meydan, and an excellent win Saturday in the Group 2, $250,000 Zabeel Mile suggested Trade Storm might have a say in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free on World Cup Night.

Trade Storm, a 5-year-old trained by David Simcock, won his second straight on the Meydan grass despite challenging circumstances. Stepping up in class from a handicap to a Group 2, Trade Storm was away poorly under Jamie Spencer, racing last of eight as Royal Ridge set a very slow pace, and while Trade Storm won Feb. 14 rallying furiously into a slow pace, Saturday’s task turned trickier. The Feb. 14 run came with a clean inside trip, but in the Zabeel Mile, Trade Storm - still last at the head of the homestretch - had to weave in and out of horses while accelerating in traffic. He did so athletically and determinedly, knifing between rivals at about the sixteenth pole to draw abreast of and quickly pass the good horse Musir, who was solidly favored in North American betting. Trade Storm won by 1 1/2 lengths without Spencer using his crop, and he galloped out with great energy.

A large, heavy horse by Trade Fair, Trade Storm evidently was compromised throughout 2012 by unusually wet conditions in Europe. He has improved markedly on Meydan’s firm, fast-playing course, and at this point must be considered a legitimate Group 1 threat on March 30.

“He was very, very impressive,” Spencer said. “David’s got the key to him. He’s improved so much. He was a lot more relaxed today. He was much more anxious last time.”

Musir finished one length in front of Fulbright in a formful race, with the winner timed in 1:38.74 for about one mile on grass.

The night’s other group stakes, the Group 3 Nad al Sheba Trophy, was even slower-paced than the Zabeel Mile, with the first three finishers all stalking or pressing the pace. Azeemah wound up a neck better than Certerach, who had three-quarters of a length on Star Empire. The horse to watch in the Dubai Gold Cup on March 30, though, is Tenenbaum, who attempted to rally from nearly last and made up good ground into the slow tempo.

Azeemah was one of two winners on the card for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who took the nightcap, a turf handicap, with Quick Wit. Trainer Mike de Kock captured the night’s first two races, with Kavanagh in the first, a turf-sprint handicap, and Rerouted in the second, a seven-furlong handicap on Meydan’s all-weather surface.