IN SUMMARY: A really tough race to call with the majority either out of form or better over a different trip but it looks as if we can expect a bold effort from BOCHART who is well weighted at his best and could surprise them all if getting an easy lead dropped back to this trip.
1 BOCHART – A decent sort with three wins last year including over the mile here when beating Active Spirit by a neck off seven pounds lower in March. He likes to make the running whenever possible and scored over this trip at Jebel Ali by seven and a quarter lengths last January and although he has been off since November when a poor twelfth here he has to be of plenty of interest from the one stall over this trip.
2 ALMANAARA – NON-RUNNER.
3 TIME FLIES – Makes his debut here for the Hassan Albloushi stable after leaving Salem bin Ghadayer but the son of Exceed And Excel hasn’t been seen on the track since February last year and may well improve for his first race in over a year. His one and only win was at Chelmsford in September 2015 when trained by John Gosden in a maiden and he arrives here with plenty to prove after a lay-off.
4 MUTAHADDITH – Unlikely to be getting better at the age of eight but he has proved he likes it here with three course and distance wins, the latest in February last year. He has not been at his best recently with a thirty-five-length defeat at Jebel Ali in January but he does run off a mark of 81 here having won off 88 on his most recent victory so he cannot be simply dismissed.
5 AJRAAM – The gelded son of Daaher is having his first run since leaving the care of Maria Ritchie now that Musabah Al Mheiri has his licence back – but he hasn’t actually moved anywhere as she held the licence during his twelve-month ban. Third and fourth on his only starts this season and beaten six and a half lengths by Scrutineer last time he has a bit to find but this does look a slightly weaker contest and he won’t be too far away this afternoon.
6 GUERNSEY – Now in the care of Mike de Kock who does well with his runners in Dubai but clearly not one of the best performers after a thirteen length seventh on his debut for the yard after leaving Michael Stidham. You can never confidently dismiss runners for this particular yard but he does look to have a lot to find on that effort and his one win on the Delta Downs dirt seems to leave him with plenty to find.
7 SALVADORI – Last seen over this trip at Jebel Ali when a disappointing sixth and without a win since January 2017. He does have just a pound more to carry here after coming down another three pounds after an eleven length sixth when last seen, but although weighted to do well now he arrives here woefully out of form while the Bouresly stable in Kuwait have had zero winners from nineteen runners in the last two weeks.
8 ZARAEE – Sent off at odds of 66/1 before finishing an eight length eleventh over a furlong further here last month and yet to win in four starts after arriving from the Newmarket stable of William Haggas. He has won three races, at Haydock, Chester, and Newcastle so he clearly has plenty of ability but he needs to get back to his best form which would certainly be good enough to win this at these weights.
9 CALL TO WAR – One win from seven starts when successful first time out at Gulfstream Park in June 2016 when in the care of Jose Pinchin and with a second and a third in his last three starts at Jebel Ali. Dropped another two pounds after a third toward the end of January he is potentially well handicapped now and arrives here with decent enough place chances at the very least.
10 STRONG CHEMISTRY – In great form recently for trainer Khalifa Al Neyadi with a win at Jebel Ali in January and three places in a row now at Meydan and then here with a third to Aleko last time out. That was over the mile and there is not guaranteed he will have the early tactical speed dropped back to this trip but he will be running on through beaten horses off a fast early pace, and he does look attractively handicapped.