Meydan Tips – 5th Jan 2017 – Dubai Carnival

Meydan Tips – 5th Jan 2017 – Dubai Carnival

The road to the Dubai World Cup on Saturday 25th March begins here, with numerous valuable warm up races before the main event. A number of popular UK trainers, jockeys and horses will be making the 3,500 mile trip in the hope of picking up some of the extensive prize money on offer.

3.05pm – Longines La Grande Classique Handicap (1m 4f)

There is little doubt that Desert God in the most intriguing runner having won the Bangalore St Leger, the President Of India Gold Cup, and the Indian St Leger (by close to eight lengths). While he could be anything, it is difficult form to quantify and at 12/1 his weakness in the market is worrying. Emirates Flyer (4/1) is trained nearby at Al Quoz when racing in Dubai and races off the same mark as when finishing second here last January. The winner that day, One Man Band, has franked the form nicely, and that run was following a similarly lengthy layoff to today. Nothing in this field looks as good today and the step up in trip should suit.

3.40pm – Longines Passion in Equestrian Handicap (1m 1f)

Mike de Kock’s South African import Saltarin Dubai has won his last three races at Palermo in Argentina including the Group 1 Gran Premio Estrallas Classic in June when last in Action, but is another whose form is difficult to quantify. A win here would be an excellent advert for South American racing, which has been improving in the past few years, so he is worth watching closely. However, a better bet in the race is Storm Belt for Pat Dobbs and Doug Watson. A comfortable winner over Course & Distance in a Listed race three weeks ago, he has been raised six pounds for his near seven length win which appears generous, especially considering he is effectively down in class here. He has a new career high mark to defy today but this is a weak field and he’s been progressive throughout his career.

4.50pm – Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (Group 2)

Read our full race preview with analysis of every runner here.

The Al Maktoum Challenge is the best race of the day, and as interesting as any. Le Bernardin (13/2) appears the best value in the field, having apparently improved for his recent fourth. He will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea who is happy with his progress and reports him to be in fine fettle.He won this same race last year and will be very tough to beat if running to that level again.

5.25pm – Singspiel Stakes (Listed)

Read our full race preview with analysis of every runner here.

The penultimate race of the day at Meydan, but the last leg of our Lucky 15. Mike de Kock’s Ertijaal has the best form in the race but is weak in the early betting and will have bigger targets later in the Festival. Championship (7/1) won a Listed race comfortably when last seen at Abu Dhabi and is a previous course winner. He has a little to find on official ratings with a number of these but comes here in fine form and looks a very attractive price.