After a pretty successful card last week, with great performances from picks like Tamarkuz and Songcraft, we move on to a pretty competitive night of racing as we inch ever closer to Super Saturday and, soon after, World Cup night. A few races feature horses that loom large, while others are as wide-open as can be.
I zipped through this card pretty fast, which usually means that my results are going to be terrible. I don’t claim to be any sort of sharp or savvy handicapper, and I’ll always be honest about that fact. But let’s have a look at these races, shall we?
(Skipping past the Arabian race – as much as I love Arabs as a breed, I’m clueless on their race records.)
R2 – Meydan Sobha (1000m Turf Handicap)
The usual turf sprint contenders are featured in here, all save Ahtoug, who I’m assuming is pointing to the race in this division on Super Saturday. The stand-out to me here is Lancelot Du Lac, who kept close throughout and gave Ahtoug a great fight at the end. He tacks on some weight off that effort, but I believe he can improve further still second time in Dubai. Hototo and Medicean Man are threats as always, but I’m going with the Lancelot here.
R3 – Meydan Sobha (1600m Dirt Handicap)
This race is pretty competitive, with 8-year-old Haatheq as highweight; while he’s consistent, the old boy doesn’t punch as well as he used to. I ended up going with Layl, but it’s a dart throw. I’m very interested to see how US-bred Yard Line (Discreet Cat x A.P. Indy mare) does first up for Appleby and Buick.
R4 – Dubai Millennium Stakes Sponsored by Meydan Sobha (2000m Turf Stakes)
Hunter’s Light is a clear stand-out here and should win. If he doesn’t fire, Mr Pommeroy may be able to pull a victory.
R5 – District One (2000m Dirt Handicap)
This is the other tough race on the card. In fact, I’m thinking it’s even tougher than R3. A win on the track has proven beneficial in seeking out next-out winners, but so many of these have recent wins on this dirt surface – Le Bernadin, Toolain, I’m Back – and others have come close, like Henry Clay and Artigiano. So hard! He’ll be short-priced, but I’ll go with I’m Back to score his third win over the track. It’s so wide open, though…so many of these could win.
R6 – Balanchine Sponsored by District One (1800m Turf Stakes)
Many of these are coming out of the Cape Verdi Jan. 29, including that race’s winner, Cladocera. With that being said, I’m looking for an outsider to win the Balanchine. I see a lot of people are high on Turkish champion filly Suzi Gold, including some people whose Meydan opinions I value greatly, so why not hop on the bandwagon?
R7 – District One (1400m Turf Handicap)
See, this is what I get for staying up and watching The Godfather Part II and not finishing this blog post. Sleepy me. Apologies if my exhaustion renders this last discussion incomprehensible. I did look at this race, but I only gave it a cursory glance, for I’m going with my old friend Anaerobio. He had a horrendous trip last out in tougher company and, with a better trip (knock on wood), he wins this thing. He and Eastern Rules look to tower over this field, with a horse like Dark Emerald potentially playing second fiddle.
Good luck to all, and happy Thursday. I hope you all profit, and I hope Meydan leaves you happy.