IN SUMMARY: The lucky last is quite the puzzle to solve with plenty in with chances, none more so than TIDES RISE. A strong stayer at this distance and beyond, he ran a cracker at Abu Dhabi over 1m 4f in February on the turf. He will have no problem switching back to the dirt surface and he should get a strong pace to aim at here which makes his extra stamina look very appealing. He touted to land the spoils at the expense of course and distance winner Murrayfield.
1 KICK OFF – Not at his best on the dirt the last twice, never leaving the rear over the mile distance here last month. He has stamina to prove after an unsuccessful attempt of 1m 3f in January and it’s best to look elsewhere on this occasion.
2 GREAT HITS – Has raced mainly over shorter, not disgraced over six furlongs at Jebel Ali on his latest start. This is a big step up in grade but his pedigree does suggest it’s not implausible. He’s dangerous to discount but does have obvious risks.
3 IMMORTALISED – Has hit a rich vein of form of late, second over 1m 3f at this venue in February. He held on well to score at Al Ain two weeks later and arrives back at this venue off a workable mark. Pat Cosgrave takes over and he’s got a leading chance.
4 MEARS – Previous course and distance winner who won at this venue again over the extended 1m 1f back in January. That was an easy success and perhaps he’s found the mile distance too short for him at Jebel Ali recently. Should find himself more competitive back up in trip.
5 CACHAO – Seven furlong winner at Jebel Ali in December but he’s proven over this course and distance, third back in February 2017 in a similar race. This mark does demand a career best from him but the booking of Crowley is positive, as is the stable form. Not discounted for a place.
6 HYMENAIOS – Former Richard Hannon inmate who has struggled for form this year, well held at both Abu Dhabi and Jebel Ali. He needs to prove he still retains significant ability and with plenty of risks attached, it’s best to look elsewhere on this occasion.
7 QUARTIER FRANCAIS – Winner over this distance at Al Ain in November, though he was nowhere near that form over 1m 3f at this venue in January. He missed the break that day but how little progress he made was disconcerting. It’s still early days though and he’s not discounted, especially if breaking on terms.
8 BUELLER – Finished second in this race twelve months ago, two lengths behind Heraldic. He can be forgiven his last two starts as they came over an inadequate trip and he’s clearly capable of a big run if everything drops right. There is plenty to be taken on trust, however, which does make him risky.
9 JINTSHI – 1m 2f winner on the dirt at Al Ain in January, though he was well held behind Murrayfield over course and distance two weeks later. His latest run was another disappointing effort and he does have plenty to prove at present in a tricky race.
10 PIEPOWDER COURT – Course and distance winner back in December 2015, running a very good race when second at Jebel Ali on the dirt last month. He wouldn’t need much improvement to feature and connections in good form, but the widest draw is certainly no help.
11 SHEEBA – Course winner over the mile in December 2016, though he’s been a very mixed bag in recent starts. His latest run at Jebel Ali was very disappointing and he does have plenty to prove over this 1m 2f distance. Perhaps vulnerable to a stronger stayer.
12 TIDES RISE – Won on the turf at Abu Dhabi in November 2017 over the 1m 3f distance, again running well at that track when last seen to finish third. He’s a strong stayer who should get a good pace to aim at which enhances his chances massively. Harry Bentley takes the ride and he’s got leading claims.
13 HERALDIC – Won this race twelve months ago by two lengths ahead of Bueller, not at his best of late including at Jebel Ali last month. He’s hard to rule out as he’s capable of a big run on his day, but others do look to have bigger chances this year as he’s none to consistent.
14 MURRARYFIELD – Scored over course and distance in January by a comfortable margin, running another good race at Jebel Ali two weeks ago. He arrives in great form and should have more to offer with more racing. Leading contender Gerald Avranche.
15 TAILOR’S ROW – Won a Class 6 Handicap at Wolverhampton in October, making his debut for the Daraj yard today. He’s a stronger stayer at the trip and he should have no problem taking to the dirt. Interesting contender on his first start away from Mark Johnston.
16 SILENT ASSASSIN – Maiden winner for Ed Walker in August 2016 but he’s yet to find the same success in Dubai, well held at Abu Dhabi last month. He steps up to this distance for the first time with no guarantee of his stamina. Can only be watched.