Below is our analysis for Thursday’s races at Meydan, followed by the links to the race preview videos from the crew at ComeRacingUAE.com. Once the Carnival gets going, we will have our own videos as was the case last year.
Race 1 – The Meydan Hotel Maiden – 1,600 metres – Tapeta
There is absolutely no escaping our top pick here, #8 WAAHY. He was drawn wide around two turns last time, and as many here are doing, dropping back to the mile. On Thursday, this sone of Manduro is drawn in gate seven, and should get a much better trip. In that last run, he covered an absurd 18 metres more than winner Tarbawi, who stayed on the rail for the journey around Meydan, and it cost him in the end, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths. He has tactical speed, as well, which can only be to his benefit if Royston Ffrench keeps him handy.
#6 SHAISHEE should be in the mix as well, also suffering from a wide draw, and a bipolar ride. He broke on top and was wrangled off the lead last time, which really was likely only to his detriment, as Tarbawi set the tempo and Shaishee drifted back. #11 ASMAR is a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion star Zagora, and as being by Cape Cross, should improve with some extra ground. Still, it’s top breeding, and worth considering as a chance to impress. #3 DRESS DOWN was our idea of the winner when he debuted at Jebel Ali last week and it was far from a disgraced effort, running fifth behind Fiscal. He should improve here too.
1st – #8 WAAHY, 2nd – #6 SHAISHEE, 3rd – #3 DRESS DOWN
Race 2 – Al Hadeerah Handicap (Rated 60-70, BM 75) – 1,400 metres, Tapeta
#4 PARVAAZ and #7 SURGE AHEAD had a great battle last time out, with Parvaaz covering all the extra ground and just holding Surge Ahead at bay, over a 1,200-metre trip. Now, stretch it out to 1,400 and the game seems to change in favour of Surge Ahead, given the way both ran last time. The problem is that both horses, and even #3 MALTESE CAT, who was third, got drawn into the race off a wicked early pace. They were far from fast coming home, but those who were out in front got tired in a hurry. Surge Ahead has the most inside draw of the trio, and we prefer him amongst them, but the race has a tricky pace complexion.
Who is going to run forward here? #5 FINAL RECOVERY has two lifetime wins, both on the all-weather at Dundalk. His dirt form is poor, so you can potentially draw some lines through those last few tries. This seems a manageable spot, too. Stable companion #14 PRINCE SHAUN has been aching for this distance at Meydan, according to connections, and he missed his try at it when sick early in the season. The Jebel Ali race last time has the look of a leg-stretcher, and his first-up run this season was stellar. The question remains, will Prince Shaun get enough early gallop to run into the breach?
The only other two speed threats seems to be #9 DARWIN AWARD and #10 PENNISTON LINE, but both have been yanked back in recent tries. #12 SKYCRUISER could go forward for the typically pace-aware Richard Mullen.
Very tough call – locals playing the pick six are almost assuredly focusing on Parvaaz and Surge Ahead given their runs last time. While it makes sense, someone more forwardly placed in the early going is our choice.
1st – #5 FINAL RECOVERY, 2nd – #7 SURGE AHEAD, 3rd – #4 PARVAAZ
Race 3 – Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa Handicap (Rated 70-80 BM 85)– 1,600 metres, Tapeta
#1 REPRESENTATION just has the feeling of an ignored horse in this race, and he shouldn’t be. His top weighting is far from a distraction with this bunch, and his runs at Meydan this season have been fraught with extra ground coverage and some questionable tactics. He hit the front way too early in the November 21st race, when caught by Antinori. Representation shouldn’t be too turned-off by the cutback to 1,600 metres, either, and is drawn well which should enable Richard Hughes to procure this entire some much-needed saved ground around the turn.
#10 DAIRAM was not helped when missing the break a bit last time, throwing this son of dirt winner Jazil into a tizzy. With a better jump and forward placement, we would not be surprised to see him improve. Thomas Brown should be positive with the mount on #3 JAMHOORI after just missing with him early in the season. He’s frequently tardy from the barrier, and just a one-time winner from 22 attempts, but is back into lesser company after a decent effort last time.
1st – #1 REPRESENTATION, 2nd – #10 DAIRAM, 3rd – #3 JAMHOORI
Race 4 – Prime Handicap (Rated 65-80 BM 85) – 1,200 metres, Tapeta
We like #10 NAJM SUHAIL, a new 3-year-old who gets in with a bulky rating off the condition of the race. He is well-drawn and really was quite impressive in his only all-weather try, a win on debut when well-supported at Dundalk. Only two of his eleven rivals from that May encounter have gone on to win, both Ger Lyons trainees, and that is slightly disconcerting. The listed try was solid, beaten more than six lengths by Exogenesis who was a Group 3 winner in his next start, and then not far off eventual Dewhurst winner War Command. Through the detailed form, Najm Suhail deserves strong consideration, especially in light of the other top contenders drawing so wide.
#2 COMICALITY and #3 FESTIVAL CITY are both logical contenders, but have the widest draws in the field, in 13 and 14, respectively. Presumably both are to be sent forward from those positions, and we would give the edge to Comicality.
1st – #10 NAJM SUHAIL, 2nd – #2 COMICALITY, 3rd – #3 FESTIVAL CITY
Race 5 – Meydan Beach Club Handicap (Rated 80-90 BM 95) – 1,600 metres, Tapeta
That last performance from #1 CANWINN was almost too bad to be believed. Unless he just spent all the petrol in the tank from a strong second behind Haatheq in his seasonal debut, it just does not jive with the rest of his form. He’s back in as a top-weight, and his back form is good enough to lay over most of the field.
#4 RAMONTI FLASH deserved to bounce a bit after that strong first-up win to start the season, when trailing home well behind Haatheq two weeks later. What makes him most likable in this spot is the prominence he will likely show. Granted, he’ll have to overcome a wide draw, but it seems possible given his ability to race forward. #5 MAATH GOOL had a wide trip and got bounced around a bit last time. He has a slightly better draw and gets over a mile, probably more to his liking than the 1,400 last time. #8 OSTAAD is well-regarded in the yard, and could show some pace provided he breaks well, something he actually failed to do in his only lifetime win. If they do burn along up front, it could set up for Maath Gool more than some others.
1st – #4 RAMONTI FLASH, 2nd – #1 CANWINN, 3rd – #5 MAATH GOOL
Race 6 – Sur Mer Handicap (Rated 65-75 BM 80) – 1,900 metres, Tapeta
#1 BLUE TIGER’S EYE was far from in tip-top shape when debuting last season, but it was on dirt at Jebel Ali – a good excuse for a horse who is without a placing on the stuff. He seems the most logical winner when you consider all angles here, but there just is very little in the way of confirmed speed, and that could be to his detriment. Adrie de Vries has impressed us with his ability to save ground. This might be another case where he can work out a top trip for this gelding, as he’s done in the past, but it’s going to be tougher work from 11.
If I were Doug Watson and Pat Dobbs, I’d be sending #4 KARMA CHAMELEON to the front. He broke on top three starts back and was taken off the pace, only to see El Mansour go all the way in a frustrating result for the connections. Now back over 1,900, and in a field where many haven’t seen the front with regularity in the early stages, he could take a tactical edge on this bunch. It’s dangerous to tip a horse like this without knowing if they will in fact go to lead, but it seems a very logical step in an attempt to bottom-them-out, very do-able at Meydan.
1st – #4 KARMA CHAMELEON, 2nd – #1 BLUE TIGER’S EYE, 3rd – #5 MIZBAH
2013-14 UAE Season-to-Date: 120 races – 35 first, 18 second, 12 third (29.2% win, 54.2% top 3)
Preview videos from the boys at ComeRacingUAE.com are posted below.