02/26/2013 5:22PM

Dubai: UAE Oaks at Meydan has familiar look


To learn about the UAE Oaks one really only needs to look closely at the UAE 1000 Guineas. The nine fillies entered in the Group 3, $250,000 UAE Oaks, the Thursday feature at Meydan, raced in the 1000 Guineas on Feb.  7. In fact, the card-shuffling act runs deeper, since five Oaks starters also raced Jan. 17 in the 1000 Guineas Trial.

What has remained constant in the series is Godolphin’s dominance. Godolphin fillies finished one-two in the Guineas Trial, where Music Chart beat Shuruq by a half-length, and one-two-three-four in the UAE 1000 Guineas, where Shuruq turned the tables on Music Chart but ran second to a new Godolphin player, Lovely Pass, a filly who was making her first start since a minor win at Ascot last September.

[DUBAI RACING: Watch Thursday's Meydan card live, bet with DRF Bets]

Lovely Pass got a perfect stalking trip in the Guineas, but her victory seemed solid enough, and she could come on from the start. The pair behind her, Shuruq and Music Chart, were further along in winter development on Feb. 7 and probably have less room to improve Thursday.

The Oaks, over 1,900 meters, which is about 1 3/16 miles (think Preakness), will push up against distance limitations for some of these fillies, and Lovely Pass herself will be making her first start beyond one mile. Her sire, Raven’s Pass, had enough stamina to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic over 10 furlongs.

If an upset is in the cards, trainer Mike de Kock might be the one to engineer it with Argentine-bred Emotif. A 4-year-old on Northern Hemisphere time, Emotif was making her first start in nine months when she finished fifth in the UAE 1000 Guineas. De Kock can ready a horse to win in her first start after a layoff, but also has shown a deft hand in using comeback races to propel Meydan runners to peak form in their second start after a long break.