After taking a break last week on that really tough card – only kind of a cop-out…I had homework – I’m back with selections for tomorrow’s card at Meydan. We march ever-closer to World Cup Night at the end of March, and this Thursday’s card features names both new and familiar. Let’s get cracking!
R1 – The Range Rover Evoque Trophy
This race looks dominated by Layl, who was impressive in a 4 1/2-length victory last out on this surface over this distance for Watson & Dobbs. Unfortunately for him, off that effort he’s been assigned three more kilos of weight and will break from post 7 of 8. This is a race where I’d usually try to beat him, but I’m finding it difficult to select a candidate to do so. Cry Joy seems the most likely upset candidate, but he’s drawn widest of all and looked dull in the last effort. Intriguing is Aslan, a formerly US-based A.P. Indy-Seeking the Gold colt breaking from the rail who won his Meydan debut on Jan. 31. If he steps up here, he’s a major threat.
R2 – The Jaguar F Type Trophy
This is a wide open race, and one of those “what have you done for me lately” kind of affairs. Unfortunately for us, not many of these have done much of note lately. Many are jumping up in distance even though they’ve had unsuccessful tries at 2000m before. Against my better judgement – I tend to stick with certain horses, to hell or high water I suppose! – I’m going with Pilote here, who’s kept good company and put in some decent runs so far. This could be the race where he finally strikes gold.
R3 – The UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors
The UAE 1000 Guineas was basically a rematch of the Guineas Trial. This race, while a little more slightly varied, is pretty similar to that situation. Each of the seven runners are coming out of just two previous races, one being the Guineas Trial won by Mubtaahij (in attendance) and the other a 1400m turf event won by Mastermind (not in attendance). Mubtaahij was an impressive winner of the Trial, but Maftool was the horse that caught my eye that night. He broke absolutely flat-footed (which is an absolute no-no on this speedy track), had to go wide on the turn to catch up, and was rolling strongly at the end (he finished third). With a better start and some added distance, I believe he can turn the tables this time around.
R4 – Al Shindagha Sprint Sponsored by Jaguar XJ
This is a prep for the illustrious Dubai Golden Shaheen on World Cup Night, and former Shaheen winner Reynaldothewizard is in attendance. He was a triumphant winner despite some skepticism in his last out, and the 9-year-old (nine!!) looks sharp as ever going into this race. Now, the #8, Beat Baby…in his last, he was allowed out on a lone lead in the 1200m event. A lone lead! At 1200m! He broke sharply from the inside and never looked back, having enough in the tank to hold off Speed Hawk. Now Speed Hawk breaks from the inside, while Beat Baby is caught wide. Can he get revenge? I’m going with Speed Hawk, who I’ve had earmarked for the dirt sprint division at this Carnival.
R5 – The Range Rover Trophy
Wide-open event here over 2400m with a good payout likely for those willing to take a chance. Many could win. I’m liking Songcraft. He has a history of winning nicely first up at the Carnival – he’s done so the last two years, and each of those efforts were around this same time. I believe Godolphin and trainer Suroor will have him cranked once again.
R6 – Firebreak Stakes Sponsored by Land Rover
This is a really cool prep for the Godolphin Mile with some really nice horses in it. Darwin (high-priced Big Brown colt) and Romansh (respectable American miler) are each making their Meydan debuts. As cool as it will be to see them, I can’t have them here. Instead, I’m going with my boy Tamarkuz, who won (!!!) last out at 1600m. If he breaks well, he’s unstoppable! (KNOCK. ON. WOOD.)
R7 – The Range Rover Sport Trophy
I believe this contest is between two horses – Mushreq and Elleval. Obviously, the bold type signifies that I’ve gone for the latter. It’s a tricky event, though, and I’ll commend anyone who puzzles it out correctly.