02/28/2013 4:44PM

Dubai: Trade Storm takes another step up in Zabeel Mile at Meydan


The appropriate response to a horse that comes out of nowhere with a scintillating performance is skepticism. Let the horse duplicate his breakout performance, or come close to it, before anointing him a rising star.

So it is with Trade Storm in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile on Saturday at Meydan. Trade Storm came to Dubai this winter from England as a mildly upwardly mobile handicapper who, at age 5, had only three career wins. On Jan. 24 he finished 11th of 14 in a Meydan turf handicap, a race trainer David Simcock suggested Trade Storm needed after a layoff. Did he ever.

[DUBAI CARNIVAL: Get PPs, watch replays, and wager with DRF Bets]

Returning on Feb. 14 in another turf handicap, this one over about 1  1/8 miles, Trade Storm turned in one of the flashier performances of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, going from last of 12 with a little more than a quarter-mile to run to first by almost four lengths. Trade Storm’s kick was explosive and seemed to require only nominal effort, and the horse that finished second, Anaerobio, returned to win Thursday night at Meydan.

In the Zabeel Mile, a possible prep for the Dubai Duty Free, Trade Storm will be asked to kick past stronger competition than Anaerobio, and he may prove up to the task. Jockey Jamie Spencer, who rode Trade Storm last summer and was aboard for the Feb. 14 breakthrough, said after the recent race that persistently wet conditions throughout the 2012 European flat season worked against Trade Storm. The horse evidently needs fast going to show his best, and at Meydan he is finding just that sort of ground: Course records have abounded this winter on the quick-playing turf.

The main obstacles standing between Trade Storm and another win are Musir and Fulbright. Fulbright, a Godolphin runner, is an eight-time winner on turf who returns to grass after a pair of competent Tapeta performances in recent weeks. Fulbright finished third in the Maktoum Challenge Round 1 before improving to land second behind impressive stablemate Moonwalk In Paris in the Feb.  14 Firebreak Stakes.

Musir had been away since May when he finished an even fourth of 10 on Feb. 21 in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, another one-mile Meydan grass race. Musir is a 7-year-old with plenty of miles on his odometer, but he stands to improve from the comeback run and may yet be capable of victory at this class level.

Also carded Saturday night is the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, a turf race over about 1 3/4 miles that’s a stepping-stone to the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup Night, March 30. The 12-horse field includes Jakkalberry, winner last summer of the inaugural edition of the American St. Leger at Arlington Park, and – more notably – third of 24 last November in the Melbourne Cup.

Godolphin’s 4-year-old gelding Tenenbaum, a Dubai debuter, looks capable of improvement in coming weeks, if not Saturday. The best of the horses to have recently started in similar Meydan spots are Star Empire and Ahzeemah.

Shuruq romps in UAE Oaks

The revolving door of winning Godolphin 3-year-old fillies continued swinging Thursday night as Shuruq scored a four-length win in the Group 3, $250,000 UAE Oaks.

Music Chart, who was third Thursday night, won the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial early this winter, while Oaks runner-up Lovely Pass won the UAE 1000 Guineas, a race in which Shuruq finished second. All three fillies are owned by Godolphin, with Saeed bin Suroor – who was winning his eighth UAE Oaks – the trainer of Shuruq, and Mahmood al Zarooni the trainer of Lovely Pass and Music Chart.

Shuruq, ridden to victory by Paul Hanagan, got a good tracking trip just behind the leaders before taking control of the Oaks in midstretch. She was timed in 1:58.72 for about 1 3/16 miles on the all-weather Tapeta surface.