Race 1 – $175,000 Jaguar XF Trophy Handicap (Rated 100+), 2,000 metres, turf
While we picked #2 WAR MONGER last week for the first time in his eight runs in the UAE, and he made all the running over the turf course, we really considered picking him again. In such a short field, War Monger seemingly has a huge pace edge on the field. However, prior to last week, you wouldn’t have expected to see him on the lead, but was found there under Meydan Masters rider Olivier Peslier. Does Richard Hills do the same thing this week?
The choice is #3 YIRGA. Back with Royston Ffrench, the connections were likely to learn enough from last week to see how he is likely to go over 2,000 metres and the need to be a bit closer to a likely slow pace. That race last week was the slowest 800 metres split for a 2,000-metre event and still, he was closing like a shot despite the dawdle.
The two De Kock entrants are likely to each grab a slice. We are wondering when the heck #6 WONDER LAWN is going to get a piece after a disappointing campaign. Surely, soon. #1 HUNTING TOWER comes in off a nice win over Tapeta when we tipped him on top. A tough call for him this week.
1st – #3 YIRGA, 2nd – #2 WAR MONGER, 3rd – #6 WONDER LAWN
Race 2 – $120,000 Jaguar XK Trophy Handicap (Rated 100-110), 2,200 metres, Tapeta
We find it somewhat amusing that #4 PRIZEFIGHTING wears Godolphin’s third string cap here but seems the best chance. He has been a plodder at this Carnival and many dive for him despite having just one career win. Funny enough, we think the presence of the current hot Godolphin rider, Mickael Barzalona, might actually improve his chances. He will be in the mix. The pick, however, is #3 MEERISS.
After finishing behind Prizefighting in a 2,200-metre event on opening night, Meeriss came back with a nice win over a much-improved Noisy Silence at Jebel Ali last time out. We are heartened by the fact that Meeriss was with the pace in the fastest 2,200-metre race of the Carnival and faded off that, only to return and win. With some William Buick patience, he might have the best late go from those who will sit just off the pace, likely to be supplied by #7 HELIODOR and #2 LOGIC WAY.
#5 BURDLAZ seems one with a real chance to sit behind the front-running action and run on to capture a piece, if not the whole pie. His most recent efforts have been less than stellar, but might get a favourable setup this week.
1st – #3 MEERISS, 2nd – #4 PRIZEFIGHTING, 3rd – #5 BURDLAZ
Race 3 – $110,000 Range Rover Sport Trophy Handicap (Rated 95-105), 1,200 metres, Tapeta
Could this be the race when David Nicholls lands the big first win in Dubai, sporting an 0-for-61 mark? #2 SILAAH will definitely be in the mix early, but that last race was so slow and now he’ll tote an extra 4.5 kilos. Trap.
#3 ATLANTIC SPORT ran two really solid races early in the Carnival and his two most recent efforts have been less impressive. The race when seventh behind Our Giant wins this race by a space given times and class. Whether or not we get his best race when it is his fifth in seven weeks is the question. Let’s give him a chance. #7 MONSIEUR JOE was a strong pick for us last time over 1,000 on the grass but didn’t back up his good race behind Happy Dubai. He has a win over synthetics at Lingfield and his back class gives us reason to think he can easily be involved at the end here. It’s a toss-up between these two, but we’ll side with the latter over better recency.
Not sure what has happened to #1 FORCE FREEZE, but he is better than those last races have suggested. Stepping back to his third behind Alo Pura would indicate a real chance amongst this group.
1st – #7 MONSIEUR JOE, 2nd – #3 ATLANTIC SPORT, 3rd – #1 FORCE FREEZE
Race 4 – $110,000 Jaguar XJ Trophy Handicap (Rated 95-105), 1,900 metres, Tapeta
Half this field was beaten by Golden Sword in their last race, and given the race pace should be true, we think there is no reason not to pick the horse who was closest to the revelation of the Carnival. #3 SWEET LIGHTNING ran two good races behind Golden Sword and finds a field without him, which is good enough for us in this spot. The pace is almost assured from #8 BON GRAIN and #12 PERSISTE EN SIGNE, so it should open it up for someone to run on, and the Michael Dods-trainee is our pick.
#1 ROYAL DESTINATION ran on well two weeks ago and should come on for that last run, renewing a nice rivalry with Sweet Lightning. #2 SOLID CHOICE, knowing he now can settle back and run on, is likely to appreciate the added ground, getting over those seven furlong races.
1st – #3 SWEET LIGHTNING, 2nd – #1 ROYAL DESTINATION, 3rd – #2 SOLID CHOICE
Race 5 – $150,000 Meydan Classic (Listed), 1,600 metres, turf
As you will see below, we don’t think the male 3YO division is up to par with the Mahbooba led fillies. That being said, performances behind Zanzamar or Splash Point really don’t move us as much as they might otherwise. In this race, and you might think this is crazy, but we think #1 MANCHESTER could win for the Scandanavian connections. Granted, he’s still a maiden, but you don’t put him on the plane for no reason.
It is possible that #11 LORD OF THE STARS takes them all the way again, especially with that portable rail extended, which has seemingly given front-runners more staying power over these turf routes. We will side with #8 INTROVERT as our top selection, mostly because of his ability to close into the pace as he showed last time. Of all the runners out of the trial, Introvert did the most to run into the pace, and was still 12th out of 14 when they turned for home. A cleaner trip and some pent-up speed on the front, plus an extra 200 metres, gives us hope that Introvert could turn the tables.
1st – #8 INTROVERT, 2nd – #11 LORD OF THE STARS, 3rd – #1 MANCHESTER
Race 6 – $250,000 UAE Oaks (G3), 1,900 metres, Tapeta
#3 MAHBOOBA is the fastest 3-year-old in the UAE. Subscribers to the DubaiRaceNight.com Newsletter will get the full picture of just how much faster the Mike De Kock-trainee is. On that information alone, she is the top pick in the Oaks.
#4 ELECTRIC WAVES is in for Saudi connections and was impressive over shorter distances in the UK. What she does out of the gate will be of extreme interest, running over the 1,900 trip this time. She was a fireball early in her career and could really blow the pace wide open. #5 KHAWLAH provides a new shot for Godolphin after failing with #2 ABTASAAMAH in these spots. She could be part of the early speed as well. We think Abtasaamah could actually get a better trip without having to be on the front end.
1st – #3 MAHBOOBA, 2nd – #2 ABTASAAMAH, 3rd – #5 KHAWLAH
Race 7 – $175,000 Range Rover Trophy Handicap (Rated 100+), 1,600 metres, turf
Having seen the way the turf course is playing with the rail extended makes us think that, believe it or not, #10 IGUAZU FALLS could be a real threat. If Xavier Ziani is able to slow his speed down at all, he could make all the running and not get caught, similar to what happened a week ago with Across The Rhine. We will play it conservatively and pick him for a placing.
#4 FAREER is likely to be close to a pace that shouldn’t be all that fast and could have first run on a fading Iguazu Falls. He improved last week for his second run back and a step forward here puts him in the mix back on a preferred surface. #8 MAHUBO will get another shot to improve enough to get up on the grass, something not without chance, but the speed is our concern.
1st – #4 FAREER, 2nd – #8 MAHUBO, 3rd – #10 IGUAZU FALLS
DIRCarnival season-to-date: 52 selections - 12 first, 8 second, 2 third (23% first, 43% top three)
Meydan season-to-date: 100 selections – 23 first, 14 second, 9 third (23% first, 46% top three)
UAE season-to-date: 240 selections – 56 first, 38 second, 27 third (23% first, 50% top three)