The Meydan Maiden – Short and Sweet

This post will be just what the title says it is – short and sweet.  No tips, no gimmicks, no extensive handicapping (because honestly, my eyeballs feel like they’re about to pop out of their sockets.  TMI, I know, but bear with me here…)  Because this card is too nice to completely ignore; at the top of the list for me is the Cape Verdi, which features some cracking good fillies.

And I won’t rest on my laurels from last week, but I didn’t do too bad, with two wins and a narrow second out of six races!  The Meydan Maiden is learning.  With that, let’s move on and learn some more.

The first race is 1000m over turf, a short little contest for the 16 runners entered (not counting the reserve).  Roicead is wheeling back a little quickly after winning on this course over 1200m in his last start.  Also a winner at the Carnival this year is Ahtoug, who even won at this distance.  Telling a different tale is Hitchens, who finished ninth of nine in the Dubawi Stakes that United Color won.  Merhee made his Carnival debut a good one, with a second to Jamesie last out.  Alsaaeqah is a seven year-old raider from Saudi Arabia; she gets the ever-popular William Buick aboard.  I quite fancied Fityaan in his last start – if I recall correctly – but he tanked off the layoff, finishing off the board behind Ahtoug.  In fact, many of these saw Ahtoug’s tail in that January 9th race.  Personally, I want to forget it completely, bu only for how incredibly wrong I was.  (Thanks, Rafeej.)  The key to this race, as it is most races I’ve previewed here thus far, is record on the course, and a Roicead/Ahtoug combination is looking mighty good to me.

Now we have Race 2, which is a 1900m handicap over all-weather.  It includes a horse that I’m really keen on – Ottoman Empire, who was last seen finishing third to Busker.  It was his first start off a layoff since the early fall, so, hopefully, he should be a wee bit sharper for this race.  Abdel is making his second all-weather start after being clobbered – like everyone else in that field – by Cat O’Mountain in his last start.  Sahawar, an Arc de Triomphe also-ran, is making his second Carnival appearance, as are many coming out of the 1600m handicap won by Zain Shamardal.  Start Right, who may be a little better on turf than on all-weather, sticks to the fake stuff tomorrow.  Rebel Song is intriguing; he makes his first start since a second to Interpret over this course and distance last December.

Cape Verdi up next!  Seriously, this race makes me excited to be following this circuit as closely as I have been.  It’s 1600m over the turf and although there’s only six runners, they are as top-notch of fillies as you’ll see.  Carrying the lightest weight is Mensoora, who is coming out of a sixth in a South African Group 1.  She is Mike de Kock’s lone entry in this race, and let’s face it, de Kock knows how to handle the fillies.  Edging away from that possibly suggestive phrasing I just used, we’ll, uh, talk about some other horses, like L’amour de Ma Vie, who may just like synthetic better than she does turf.  Pearl of Africa is graded stakes-placed in Ireland and should have no trouble with the turf surface.  And those are the longshots!  First, we have Flotilla, who is arguably most famous for her Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf win in 2012.  Oh, yeah, and she also won a French classic – no big deal, right?  Wrong.  Get ready to keep being delighted; the undefeated Certify is here to put her record on the line, and she means business.  Elusive Quality has both her and Shuruq in here; we last saw Shuruq beating the boys in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge.  But will she be ready to challenge these fillies on turf, a surface she’s winless over?  See what I mean by this being a monster race?  I absolutely cannot wait to tune in!

Race 4 is a 1400m handicap over grass; it features the talented Mufarrh, who is making his first turf start in a while.  A few of these, naturally, are coming out of the 1400m race that Anaerobio won on opening night.  Take a moment to remember that Anaerobio came back to win a stakes race, so not too shabby of recent form on these guys!  Only God knows why Tennessee Wildcat has drawn the outside post again.  What a nightmare.  Look out for Eastern Rules if he takes to the course.  I think the Cape Verdi sapped all the excitement out of me, for I don’t see much to gush about in this race outside of Mufarrh.  But will the surface switch suit him today?  Let me repeat – look out for Eastern Rules.

In Race 5, another Mu-horse – Mushreq – looks an imposing favorite, but he faces Steeler, who hopefully was sharpened from his first start off the layoff on the 9th.  This is the Al Rashidiya, 1800m on the turf.  Trade Storm has chosen this race to creep back onto the track after he took a bruisin’ from Wise Dan in his track-record Woodbine Mile.  Tasaday was third to Treve – not too shabby! – and gets Godolphin regular de Sousa aboard.  Her group-stakes winning stablemate Maputo, with Barzalona up, gets the solid blue Godolphin cap.  Brendan Brackan returns to his stronger surface after a third to Shuruq in the Maktoum Challenge.  Remember that Mushreq defeated Gabrial last out, who came back last Thursday to win in a thrilling stretch drive.  While not quite as personally exciting as the Cape Verdi earlier, this is a really nice race with some neat horses in it.  I believe someone from the home team – not necessarily Godolphin, just of those based in Dubai – will take the victory in this one.

Another day, another jockey.  In Race 6, a 2000m turf handicap, Izaaj gets his fourth jockey change in as many starts.  The gelding has run four times, the last two very unsuccessfully, in the span of about a month and a half, so maybe he just needs a little break?  Aussie Reigns looks tough to get by; he was second to the popular Sheikzayedroad over this course and distance and should make up for his loss tonight.  Many expected Daddy Long Legs to get a much-needed win in his drop in class last out; we all couldn’t have been more wrong, as the handsome chestnut came in tenth and last.  This former UAE Derby winner’s best days may be behind him.  Energia Eros (roll your Rs!) comes to us from Brazil.  Look out for Haafaguinea, who is a place threat, if not an outright winner.  Jahwar also has a hell of a shot, as he’ls more than proven on the course.  And one of my favorites is entered – Busker!  Though his win on all-weather last time out was very handy, he is winless on turf, and I won’t be holding my breath on his doing well tomorrow.  A girl can dream, though, right?

This is your chance to show the Meydan Maiden what you’ve got.  Who do you like in these races?  Leave a comment below, and feel free to point out any spelling/grammar/factual/continual errors you find in the text!  Au revoir and enjoy another wonderful night at the Carnival!

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