It’s the opening night of the domestic season at Meydan, and the introduction of the new dirt surface. After a pair of trials were well-accepted earlier in the week, it’s all systems go. Below, our analysis of the meeting, followed by a recap of the tips. Good luck and enjoy! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @DubaiRaceNight for thoughts as the evening’s races progress.
Access the Form Guide courtesy of the Emirates Racing Authority HERE via their site. Click “download as PDF” for more detail.
Race 1 – Emirates Skycargo Maiden – 1,400 metres – dirt
#8 ESTEBAN put in a decent effort at Kempton in August when with Marco Botti before shipping to Dubai. He has dirt pedigree as his dam was a winner in America over dirt, and she has several successful dirt winning progeny. An ability to stay close should be in his favour here.
#1 BINSABT is stuck with a wide draw that could be detrimental but has the pedigree to suggest he can be OK in this spot.
#4 MURASIL will be getting on dirt for the first time in his career. His dam Show Me The Roses never won, and tried dirt twice in the U.S., but she is out of a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg. We haven’t seen much from this gelding, but he could come to life on the new surface.
We wouldn’t totally give up on #12 SAALIB who had a run last week at Jebel Ali when we picked him on top. It was hardly a strong contest, but with some of the rust off and away from the hill there, he is another bred to enjoy this.
1st – #8 ESTEBAN, 2nd #12 SAALIB, 3rd – #4 MURASIL
Race 2 – Emirates Holidays Handicap – 1,400 metres – dirt
#8 MALTESE CAT is 0-from-2 on dirt, but those were his first two lifetime starts, so there is some excuse. Liking him in this spot is mostly a pace play. Who else has shown a real affinity for going forward? Perhaps #5 TAJHEEZ?
#4 FILFIL has brilliant dirt pedigree and has been ridden for the front before, but his greatest success came when closing from well off the pace, so it’s tough to think Richard Mullen will push him forward.
#2 MORE ASPEN ran credibly last season when fourth in the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial, not that far behind Wedding Ring. She also has the pedigree for this surface and stands every right to get in the mix. Our concern, however, is the weight, toting 59 kilos could be an undoing. She has a chance to prove herself here regardless.
1st – #8 MALTESE CAT, 2nd – #2 MORE ASPEN, 3rd – #4 FILFIL
Race 3 – Arabian Adventures Handicap – 1,600 metres – dirt
We are going back to the well on #9 CITIZEN’S CHARTER, tipping him last week at Sharjah and hopefully enjoying that leg-stretcher. Only he and #1 MUHTARAM have shown any interest of being in the early mix and the rest of the field is void of speed, on paper at least. Citizen’s Charter is well handicapped for this considering Muhtaram is still a maiden, and he gets our on top play.
#3 DOUBLE BASS has the look of a possible second-season improver in the UAE. He made three local starts before the Chengdu trials, where he seemed to actually be coming around.
1st – #9 CITIZEN’S CHARTER, 2nd – #3 DOUBLE BASS, 3rd – #1 MUHTARAM
Race 4 – Emirates Skywards Handicap – 1,200 metres – dirt
When you take a look at this field, you really get excited by the prospects of dirt at Meydan. #2 NOT A GIVEN is a standout on the surface, having won three times from five tries in the US. The problem is that this race is a sprint and all his career success has come going at least 1,600 metres. This has the look of a prep for a stretch out later.
#5 SPIN CYCLE is a pure sprinter, and while just one from twelve on dirt, all of those starts being in the UAE, the old boy has done his best work early in the season. The seconds behind Muarrab and Innocuous in his first two starts last season seem more than enough to put him over the top here.
#6 THE TAJ has some great dirt pedigree, even if it is more for route races than sprints, but he’s been successful racing short. While potentially going longer later, he returns off a long break here and deserves at least a look.
#3 ODOOJ is in with a shout off the back of his February run at Jebel Ali when a pace presence against Sholaan.
1st – #5 SPIN CYCLE, 2nd – #3 ODOOJ, 3rd – #2 NOT A GIVEN
Race 5 – Emirates Airline Handicap – 1,900 metres – dirt
There are quite a few who could go on with the early running, but the horse we really like is #5 STORM BELT. He was an impressive first-up winner last season at Sharjah and is actually racing off a fairly short mark which keeps him within range. He has progressed off a mark of 60 from several years ago and seems in the best shape of his racing life.
Stablemate #6 HENRY CLAY is almost assuredly going to the front to set the pace. We have occasionally seen early speed from #1 TANFEETH and #2 SADEEK’S SONG, but Henry Clay seems more certain to be in the mix.
The wildcards are #3 ENNOBLED FRIEND and #8 IZAAJ, the former who was very imprssive in his dirt debut last year at Jebel Ali, breaking his maiden when facing winners. The latter doesn’t win often, but his last two successes were over 1,800 metres on the Jebel Ali dirt. Off a low mark in this group, carrying just 53 kilos, Izaaj seems a danger to the top pick.
1st – #5 STORM BELT, 2nd – #8 IZAAJ, 3rd – #3 ENNOBLED FRIEND
Race 6 – Emirates Airline Handicap – 1,400 metres – dirt
#3 SHAMAAL NIBRAS and #4 SHAISHEE seem a potential standouts in this race given their dirt affinity from the past. Shamaal Nibras looks a likely second-season improver, an angle that has been effective over the years. Competitiveness with Kanaf in those spots from last season puts him right in the mix. Shaishee gets plenty of looks off the back of some similar performances too, but is one of many who seem to be interested in the early lead. With a hot pace, Shamaal Nibras benefits most.
When #6 GHAAMER loves to go forward and just keep going, but will that really happen here? It seems tough to prognosticate, especially as three potential pace horses share common ownership. #7 WELL ACQUAINTED wants to mix it up as well and is quite suitably bred for the dirt.
1st – #3 SHAMAAL NIBRAS, 2nd – #4 SHAISHEE, 3rd – #6 GHAAMER
|November 6 – Meydan Selections|
|Pat Cummings||Mackenzie Kirker-Head|
|2||8||Maltese Cat||2||9||Street Act|
|3||9||Citizen’s Charter||3||3||Double Bass|
|4||5||Spin Cycle||4||4||Genius Step|
|5||5||Storm Belt||5||5||Storm Belt|
|Record: 12 races – 2-1-2 (16.7% win, 41.7% top 3)||Record: 12 races – 2-2-0 (16.7% win, 33% top 3)|