A six race fixture at Meydan gets the season going at the UAE’s flagship course. Below, you’ll find our analysis of the races. Good luck
Race 1 – Emirates SkyCargo Maiden – 1,400 metres – AW
It’s going to look simply to select #12 TARBAWI on ratings, as he stands well above this field given the company he’s kept. Third in the Meydan Classic, beaten just 2 ½ lengths puts him in the mix. It’s notable that trainer Mubarak bin Shafya was 0-from-22 last year with horses making their first start of the season, and only four grabbed a spot in the placings. If you look beyond Tarbawi, it gets really quite difficult to find a winner.
Let’s give #1 BURNING STONE a chance in a wide open affair, seemingly, if Tarbawi doesn’t fire. He raced with prominence before likely suffering an injury last time out, which was 2011. There isn’t a ton of speed in this event and he’s fairly well drawn. Ajtebi should take him forward and try to last.
1st – #1 BURNING STONE, 2nd – #12 TARBAWI, 3rd – #5 SHARK IN THE SEA
Race 2 – Emirates Holidays Handicap (3yo 55-70, 2yo 75-90) – 1,400 metres – AW
#5 VIGOR is only two, but has a recency edge over most in here. The first-call jockey gets aboard and should get a stalking trip in a race that seems to have a few pace elements. #3 OUZINKIE has the look of a second-season improver after a relatively listless four starts last season. His back all-weather form from the UK is certainly low-grade and a solid performance here amongst this class is not out of the realm of possibility.
#4 SHIHAB is a half to Songcraft, the ill-fated Godolphin runner who was admirable on turf here during the Carnival. He has to endure the first-up performance off the long layoff, so needing one is believable.
1st – #5 VIGOR, 2nd – #3 OUZINKIE, 3rd – #4 SHIHAB
Race 3 – Arabian Adventures Handicap (3yo 72-90, 2yo 90-100) – 1,200 metres – AW
It’s somewhat curious that Royston Ffrench is riding #2 VOCATIONAL and not #6 DESERT OF DREAMS, but we think the latter is the one, getting three kilos off his back as well with Saeed Al Mazrooei in the plate. His Meydan Tapeta performances have been solid and in that last seasonal start, covered six metres more than the winner, Al Razi, more than his margin of defeat. Much more suitably drawn, he’s our pick.
#5 MIZWAAJ has been away from the races for more than a year, and used to carry the Godolphin blue when back in the UK. His form when winning two all-weather tries at Lingfield and Kempton was within reason, but the question marks are obvious ones.
Some will likely be interested in #3 DISCOVERER off his win against Dubai Iconic last year, but the end of that race was a muddling mess, and we have trouble putting too much stock in the performance. #1 CHASING HALOS gets top weight, the first colours for Fathi Esaed Mohammed Egziama and a rail draw. First time on the all-weather, his dam is a half to American champion distaffer Ashado – he’s bred to handle something other than grass.
1st – #6 DESERT OF DREAMS, 2nd – #5 MIZWAAJ, 3rd – #1 CHASING HALOS
Race 4 – Emirates Airline Handicap (Rated 80-100) – 1,600 metres – AW
#4 JAWHAR has knocked heads with some decent runners from last year’s Carnival, and it is worth noting that Out of Bounds, second in that last race from last season, returned to the US and won. He makes plenty of sense after not being disgraced in his first all-weather start in March.
Off the back of two wins last season, #7 BUSKER seems rather well-handicapped in this spot. Still, we have doubts about this son of Street Cry and are willing to let him beat us. Mubarak bin Shafya runners seem significantly better with some runs into them, so let’s wait.
#6 ALNASHMY could get drawn into the race as there seems plenty of early gallop from horses like #10 CANADIAN and potentially #2 NAWWAAR and #3 REDEMPTOR. He’s a winner on three surfaces, and Alnashmy’s versatility can only be a benefit as his campaign progresses.
#1 KAISS should come on for this run. If he can progress like he did last year behind Ganas on his second-up run, he’s in with a shot. We just assume he needs this race.
1st – #4 JAWHAR, 2nd – #6 ALNASHMY, 3rd – #1 KAISS
Race 5 – Emirates Airline Handicap (Rated 80-100) – 2,000 metres – AW
Perhaps we jumped onto #8 INTERPRET too quickly last week, proclaiming him a NAP without at least recognizing his pattern. He looked like he needed the run at Jebel Ali to get him fit for this, and finally gets the full 2,000 metres on a flat surface, which we think the half-brother to Invasor will appreciate.
#2 REBEL SONG is likely the only horse to show any pace here, given a review of the form, and as such, automatically makes him dangerous in a race lacking other prominent runners. #7 ENERY gets a weight break with the apprentice allowance and was hardly disgraced last season. One would think he’s involved at some point this year given the back all-weather form from the UK.
1st – #8 INTERPRET, 2nd – #2 REBEL SONG, 3rd – #7 ENERY
Race 6 – Emirates Skyward Handicap (Rated 66-80) – 1,900 metres – AW
I’m guessing the connections of the eleven runners here are pleased Blue Tiger’s Eye is not in the mix, as he spoiled plenty of parties amongst this group assembled. Both four-time winners, #1 GRAYMALKIN and #2 KARMA CHAMELEON seem to stand over this group, the latter finally well-drawn after a series of wide trips. While both have to carry plenty of extra weight, it’s just difficult for us to make a case with some of the others. Karma Chameleon has the look of a classic second-year improver in the UAE, and
Does #7 EL MANSOUR go forward? He probably should. Making his 5-year-old debut off a two-year break, the son of Rahy might be slow away or in massive need of a run, but he should be sent forward by Tadhg O’Shea is wanting to be in the mix at the end.
1st – #2 KARMA CHAMELEON, 2nd – #1 GRAYMALKIN, 3rd – #7 EL MANSOUR
2013-2014 UAE season stats: 12 races – 4 wins, 0 seconds, 2 third (33% win, 50% top 3)