Brian Meehan’s smart performer Dangerous Midge will not take his chance in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 26 and will instead bid for glory in the Sheema Classic on the same card, writes Elliot Slater.
The decision to bypass the $10 million contest against the likes of Cape Blanco, Twice Over and Bold Silvano, has been taken mainly due to the fact that the Lion Heart five-year-old has never raced on an artificial surface and his Irish-born handler believes it would be asking a lot for him to take on the best in the sport on his first attempt on sand. The Sheema Classic is run over the same course and distance but attracts a slightly lower grade of horse (although they’re still very smart), and is worth a cool $6 million – not a bad consolation prize. Even for those who prefer UK and Irish racing this will raise interest.
Dangerous Midge started last season as an 88-rated handicapper but immediately started to show tremendous improvement, winning by five-lengths on his first run of the term in a Doncaster handicap. Off a mark of 96 he destroyed the opposition by eight-lengths in the valuable Old Newton Cup at Haydock in July, then landed the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Arc Trial at Newbury in September (off a mark of 104), beating Rainbow Peak by four-lengths throwing him under the spotlight of those giving UK and Irish racing tips.
Sent to the US to tackle the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Turf, Dangerous Midge (under a fine ride from Frankie Dettori) came with a swooping late run in the home straight at Churchill Downs to catch local star Champ Pegasus and win a shade cheekily by a length-and-a-quarter to pocket the lion’s share of the £1 million prize money for owner Iraj Parvizi.
Meehan, who sent out David Junior to land a big prize at the Dubai fixture in 2006, expects Dangerous Midge to run a very big race and will fly him over close to the race itself, preferring to allowing his charge to complete his preparation at home rather than work in the heat of the desert.