IN SUMMARY : STORYBOARD looks difficult to beat here, a winner on handicap debut over a mile here last month he comes into this race much more unexposed than the majority of his rivals. He has been given a good draw in Stall 1 and Richard Mullen is 2-2 on him and retains the partnership this afternoon.
1 GRAND ARGENTIER – Took advantage of a good draw when a front-running winner here last year. Has not been in quite the same form so far this winter but his handicap mark has dropped as a result and he is racing from 5 pounds lower than that last winning mark now. Stall 11 is an obvious concern however.
2 TRIED AND TRUE – Just the 1 win in 8 starts on Dirt but that came from just a 3 pounds higher mark than he races off today. Good run over this trip on Turf in January before a slightly disappointing effort last time. Returns to dirt today which should not be an issue and has potential off this mark.
3 DEHBASHI – Course and distance winner in November and only 2 pounds higher today. Only managed 6th last time but that performance can be upgraded as he covered 25 meters more than the winner from his wide draw. That could be an issue again today drawn in stall 10 but Jockey Pat Dobbs gets on well with him with a record of 11225122.
4 NATHR – NON RUNNER
5 ABOVE NORMAL – Ran well over an inadequate trip on Dirt debut in December. Favourite for a handicap at Jebel Ali in December but only 5th and was 10 lengths behind Dehbashi and is now 4 pounds worse off with that rival. His recent starts on Turf suggest this step up in trip will suit but has a bit to find with these rivals.
6 STORYBOARD – Bolted up on his last two starts, both coming here on Dirt over a mile. Very comfortable Maiden win on Dirt debut was backed up when winning on Handicap debut last month. Now up 6 pounds for that which could be potentially lenient and Richard Mullen who is 2-2 on him retains the partnership today.
7 PHILOSOPHER – Ex-Andre Fabre trained 6-year old has dropped 10 pounds from his initial handicap mark. Still yet to win at Meydan in 13 starts and all of his best form has been on Turf. Beaten over 40 lengths by Storyboard last time over a mile here and it is almost impossible to see him reversing that form today.
8 BOIS DE BOULOGNE – Favourite over 1m3f here in January, ran on well but could only manage 2nd. Dropped to 1m1f next time back at Meydan he was 3rd from a tricky draw in stall 12 but suggested he needed a return to further. 3rd last time at Jebel Ali behind Gavroche and this trip still looks short enough for him.
9 PILGRIM’S TREASURE – All 4 Dirt runs so far have been at Jebel Ali. Could only manage 6th behind Gavroche and Bois de Boulogne over this trip last week but is now better off at the weights with both of those rivals. Visor is on today but difficult on his form shown so far to see him troubling these.
10 TRAVIS COUNTY – Ran well on Dirt on his debut for this yard over this course and distance in December when a good 2nd. Drop back to a mile seemed to work last time when winning on Turf debut here. Return to Dirt no issue and off the same mark here but others have achieved more so far.
11 GAVROCHE – Racked up a double on Dirt at Jebel Ali last month, the latter of those wins coming at the expense of Bois de Boulogne who now re-opposes on a pound better terms. Clearly in good heart at present but seems to be more at home at Jebel Ali and has form figures of 6U365 at Meydan.