Below is our analysis for Thursday’s races at Meydan.
Race 1 – The Jaguar F-Type Trophy Maiden – 2,000 metres – Tapeta
#13 WAAHY did everything but win last time out, his third lifetime start, but was tackled by debuting Puzzlemaker in the final strides. What happens this week, drawn in 13? Look – he still makes plenty of sense, and just needs to be hustled along to get into stride and secure a good position without losing too much ground. He’s one of two likely winners.
We have to side with #10 SHAISHEE, who seemed begging for more ground last time out, and just missed getting to Puzzlemaker and Waahy. He was floated a bit wide, as was Waahy, but Shaishee seems much more likely to get a better trip in this spot than Waahy, and we think that could matter in the business end of this event.
#9 OAKHAM covered ten metres more than winner Bravo Ragazzo last time out, and specifically 22 metres more than rail-skimming Tarbawi. That has to count for something if he can save any ground in this spot.
1st – #10 SHAISHEE, 2nd – #13 WAAHY, 3rd – #9 OAKHAM
Race 2 – Mazrat Al Ruwayah for purebred Arabians, Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2) – 1,600 metres – Tapeta
There seem to be many options in this spot. We landed with #12 BIGG N RICH last time, by way of a scratch after having selected #5 THAKIF, and it seemed we lucked out. Bigg N Rich was superb over the Tapeta, covering extra ground and lengthening away from rivals, who included #3 LAAMMA.
#10 QUITE A SHOW won this race a year ago but has shown almost nothing since and would have to be a huge surprise. Meanwhile, we see #7 SHAYEL AL DHABI, an impressive winner in the National Day Cup Prep, then stymied after a bad start in the main event, get to Tapeta for the first time. She is four-from-five over the trip, but makes her first go on the all-weather. There is interest.
Also of interest is the rail-drawn #1 RABBAH DE CARRERE, who has run admirably in top company his entire career, which includes that good third second-up in Abu Dhabi last time. Now drawn in a ground-saving position, does this colt find his way through?
A fascinating renewal of this race, given the likely solid early tempo and his marked improvement over last time, we will give Bigg N Rich the chance to do it again.
1st – #12 BIGG N RICH, 2nd – #1 RABBAH DE CARRERE, 3rd – #5 THAKIF
Race 3 – The Dubai Creek Mile Conditions, Sponsored by Range Rover – 1,600 metres – Tapeta
Gosh the jockey bookings really get your mind spinning in this race. Paul Hanagan has first preference and lands with #2 DERBAAS, a horse he hasn’t been riding, while it leaves Dane O’Neill to get on #1 BARBECUE EDDIE yet again, a horse who has proven his ability to run well first up. The old boy won three consecutive to begin last year before things went awry late, and they are giving it another shot. The last win for Derbaas on the Tapeta came in 2010, when he beat Barbecue Eddie by a half-length…his best shots since having been a fourth and fifth in Group 3 company in 2012.
The only other logical player is #8 SURFER, another who performed well first-up last season, and one who is likely to enjoy a race towards the front, where there doesn’t seem to be much pace. He’s had a habit of covering some extra ground, but that shouldn’t be a concern drawn in three.
1st – #8 SURFER, 2nd – #1 BARBECUE EDDIE, 3rd – #2 DERBAAS
Race 4 – The Garhoud Sprint Conditions, Sponsored by Jaguar XJ – 1,200 metres – Tapeta
#9 TAMAATHUL sure was a classic second-season improver in the UAE, no? With three placings from eight starts, and no wins during the 2011-2012 season, this ghostly gray managed two wins and two seconds from a seven start campaign last year, with his best run arguably a fourth when beaten less than a length in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. Over this same trip, he’s in against a very suspect field. Drawing the benefit of the conditions in this race, he’s a massive choice.
#8 SPIN CYCLE covered extra ground against Innocuous last time, and just missed after that rival saved all the ground and got the splits. For what it’s worth, Innocuous came back under top weighting and nearly got there under a similar trip. #6 RAFEEJ improved second-up and also gets a legitimate weight break – but off his rating in this group, you’d want to see him getting weight from some of these to think he’s legitimate.
1st – #9 TAMAATHUL, 2nd – #8 SPIN CYCLE, 3rd – #6 RAFEEJ
Race 5 – The Entisar Conditions, Sponsored by Range Rover Sport – 2,000 metres – Tapeta
On paper, this is a two-horse race, #1 MEANDRE and #2 FARRIER. No one else seems to come close. The former has had only two starts on the surface, and hasn’t been out of training for long after having run in the Arc. The 2,000 metres of this trip seem a bit shorter than might be best for him, but he fits in this spot well. Pat Dobbs doesn’t get on many rated 113 – this is an opportunity.
Farrier has the benefit of three decent runs over the course, which Meandre lacks, and seems to have really come into his own off that first-up win against similar conditions company at Jebel Ali. That field was very light, although third home Tanfeeth came back to run a good second at Abu Dhabi last weekend. 2,000 metres seems just right for the American-bred son of Tapit, but the overall company he has kept does leave us concerned.
#3 BLUE SEA stumbled badly at the start last week at Jebel Ali and essentially lost all chance. He’s back to it now and is probably the most likely chance at a lower-rated horse threatening for a slice.
It’s a bit of a real coin toss between Meandre and Farrier, and we wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of pick six players on course making the decision on their sheets.
1st – #2 FARRIER, 2nd – #1 MEANDRE, 3rd – #3 BLUE SEA
Race 6 – The Range Rover Evoque Trophy Handicap – 1,200 metres – Tapeta
Like the previous race, we really think only two horses stand out on the ledger for us – #3 PARVAAZ and #4 SURGE AHEAD, both of whom have common form from their Sharjah starts. Now on level weights, essentially, you have to think Parvaaz is more likeable, even with the wide draw.
#7 FIRSTKNIGHT is drawn widest, but has dealt with some small issues in his last two races. And #6 STAND OF GLORY is well drawn, and a likely pace attendee, but dirt is a slight question for the Ernst Oertel UAE-debuter.
#14 PRINCESS ROSE ANNE doesn’t normally get a mention, and with good reason, but drawing Dane O’Neill is slightly interesting. She has back form and seems near impossible, but should something go very strange, this mare could shock.
1st – #3 PARVAAZ, 2nd – #4 SURGE AHEAD, 3rd – #7 FIRSTKNIGHT
2013-14 season-to-date stats: 102 races – 28 first, 15 second, 11 third (27.5% win, 52.9% top 3)