Newmarket, England: Just A Way is top class and this race will suit him. An improving runner last year, he was most impressive in the Tenno Sho Autumn in Tokyo in October.
Just A Way won comfortably from Gentildonna, who goes in the Sheema. His connections resisted the temptation of running him in the Japan Cup, which would have stretched his stamina but it was an enjoyable race to watch for his fans nevertheless. Gentildonna won it for a second time, giving his form a boost.
Just A Way’s name was firmly established in the Japanese elite by now. He gained an easy win in his prep race at home four weeks ago, and he has enjoyed an ideal preparation for the Duty Free. Just A Way is definitely the one they all have to beat here.
The Fugue beat the boys in the Irish Champion Stakes last term, easily denying Al Kazeem, who had won three Group Ones earlier in the season. The Fugue was next sent to California to contest the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita. Sheema Classic contender Magician, who quickened past her in the closing stages, was the only horse to beat her that day.
It was another fine run by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s filly, and better than her last outing in 2013, when second to Dominant in Hong Kong. A slow pace worked against her, and though she finished well from the back she never had a chance of catching the winner. The Fugue cuts back in distance today, she has not raced over shorter trips than a mile and a quarter for almost two years. The drop in distance is a worry. That said, give her a strong pace to close into, and she has a good chance.
Vercingtorix improved when landing the Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday. Taking that event without much fuss made him one of the favourites for the Duty Free. He is versatile, having won over shorter and longer distances than this, including over 2000 metres in the ‘Daily News 2000’ in South Africa.
Racing prominently throughout, Vercingetorix won an exciting photo finish against No Worries and Capetown Noir. That the form was underlined in this year’s Queen’s Plate at Kenilworth, a race was won by Capetown Noir, with No Worries filling fourth. Vercingetorix’s overall form profile is rock solid.
– The author is a thoroughbred form expert and editor of www.stabell.co.uk