The Firebreak Stakes (15:40 uk time Sat 11th Feb) is a Group-3 race run over a mile at Meydan on the same card as the UAE 2000 Guineas for horses aged 4 or older. Godolphin won the 2016 renewal with Confrontation, who returns to defend his crown in 2017.
8 Runners are set to go to post of for the 2017 Firebreak Stakes.
Has winning form in South Africa, and trainer Mike De Kock is a master at peaking horses for the big races at Meydan. Third in a Group-2 here over a mile on his penultimate start, but ran very poorly when well held back over 9-fulongs here last time. Down in class here and not ruled out with Soumillon maintaining the partnership.
Disappointed in 5 starts for Charlie Appleby in England, but 3 from 3 on the dirt here at Medan for his new trainer. Those races were only a maiden and two handicaps – but looks well worth a try at group company.
Has loads of experience of running at Meydan, but hasn’t been troubling the judge of late, and possibly in decline at the age of 7.
Won some big races for Mark Johnston in England, and won a handicap last time here at Meydan. Finished behind North America on his penultimate start though, and slightly worse off at the weights here with that horse.
Won a stakes race in France, but flopped badly last 3 starts at this level or lower. Hard to fancy.
Group-2 winner over course and distance in January 2015, and run creditably in other group-2s subsequently. Not seen the racecourse since January 2016 though, and tough ask after long absence, though definitely not without a chance.
Raced in American until being purchased before winning this race on his first start for Godolphin last season. Finished last on his next start in a group-1, and hard to know what to expect as he’s not been seen since that race in March last year. However, it’s worth noting that he had been absent for 9-months before winning last year’s race.
Won two 7-furlong handicaps here before getting out-speeded over 6-furlongs when upped into a Listed race. Step-up to a mile is unknow territory, and therefore poses another conundrum in a tricky looking race.
2017 Firebreak Stakes Summary
Confrontation must have every chance of doing the double if tuned-up after a break, whilst the returning Surfer will be looking to exploit a drop-in-class if he’s full fit after over a year off the track. However, with a good draw in stall-2, it may be worth chancing North America who seems to relish the track here.
2017 Firebreak Stakes Tip
North America – I’d suggest a 0.5pt Each-Way @ 7/2 with Bet365, PaddyPower or RaceBets
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