Last week was a little rough for me – just one winner, and I think he went off favored (Haafaguinea). It was even more disappointing in the light of my three winners on the card Jan. 8. As it is in the U.S., my dirt form is abysmal – I miss the all-weather, kind of. But no use whining; I’ll just have to adapt. Let’s see if we can get back on a winning note tomorrow.
Race 1 (Gulf News Sport)
It’s stepping out on a small ledge – as surface switch plays usually are – but I’m going with first-time dirt runner Speed Hawk in here. He wasn’t very effective on the 8th on grass versus runners like Hototo and Ahtoug, but his pedigree (Henny Hughes out of a stakes-placed (on dirt) Storm Cat mare) suggests he’ll take to the surface. Suggests. I considered Price is Truth for a moment, but the step up in class last out looked to be too much for him and it’s the same situation here, although the cutback to 1200m may be of some benefit. Touch Gold (the Irish-bred, not US-bred Belmont winner) may be of some use here after a poor run in the stakes last week.
Race 2 (Friday)
Lots in here coming out of that race won by I’m Back on the 8th; the winner is absent. Instead, we get the strong second-place finisher, Henry Clay. Seems too easy, doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s best not to overthink things. Sure, he’ll be heavily bet, but I can’t think of anyone to jump up and beat him, bar a huge regression from that last performance. He’ll just have to hold on. Third-place finisher from the I’m Back race, Le Bernardin, won like a total beast last week.
Race 3 (gnproperty.com)
You could go a variety of directions with this race, and I could talk you in circles on it, too. Let’s keep it simple. How about Street Act? He should get the 2000m (a distance he’s never tried), he’s dropping weight from last out, and ran a respectable second last out. He’s for me. Jalaa from the Doug Watson barn is another to take a close look at.
Race 4 (Gulf News Classifieds)
Some nice runners in here, including Steeler, a horse that I remember being very hyped up last Carnival but never ended up winning. I’m looking past him and to Pilote, who was third to an incredibly dominant True Story on the 8th. He towers over this bunch a little, especially with the recent run.
Race 5 (Tabloid)
Am I betting Tamarkuz back after a troubled trip on the 8th? You bet I am! I think that’s all that needs to be said about this race. Oh, and count on the old boy Haatheq showing the usual consistency finishing close to the winner. That is all.
Race 6 (Al Fahidi Fort)
I usually stay away from horses first-up in the meeting, but this is too good to pass. It’s a nice field, and it marks the return of one of my favorite horses at last year’s Carnival, Anaerobio. He really likes the 1400m and ran like a gangbuster first-up at last year’s Carnival, so why not again? Safety Check was undoubtedly impressive last out and is for sure a win contender. The dirt experiment for Zahee didn’t work and now he’s back on a surface that’s been kinder to him.
Race 7 (gulfnews.com)
Ooh, this is that cool distance: 2435m on turf. It’s also kind of a hard race. Ok, really a hard race. Who to go with? I call this kind of race a “dart-throwing race.” Sure, I could spend hours and hours and hours watching replays and going over the form and pedigrees, but, hey, I’m a college student. I have homework. I need my beauty sleep. So how about Jutland? Carnival form, trainer is doing well this meet, and, well, yeah. A lot can happen in 2435 meters.