Group action is on the agenda at Meydan, see our betting tips and the full race preview below.
IN SUMMARY: A tough race to way up with lots of form from different countries but preference is for DRAGON MALL. He’s been racing consistently at this kind of level in recent times and this drop back in trip is likely to help him eek out further improvement. He had a satisfactory preparation run at Chelmsford and will be fully ready to go for today’s assignment and can see off the strong challenge of Flash Fire, who posted a career best over C&D in a handicap a few weeks ago.
1 CHAMPIONSHIP – Won over C&D in January 2016 and has run consistently well since, finishing a good second back at this venue two weeks ago (1m 1f, Good). Drop back in trip not likely to be a problem and if given a soft lead from one he may well be very hard to catch back at this trip. Lightly raced for a six year old and more improvement is likely so has to be respected, with place claims at the very least.
2 ANAEROBIO – Won this race back in 2014 and has finished fourth in the past two renewals. Hasn’t been so good the last twice although he wasn’t disgraced over C&D a few weeks ago, finishing 7th and unable to challenge due to being so far out the back. Was behind Flash Fire that day so has work to do to reverse that form and at the age of nine further improvement is unlikely, so that has to be of concern. Pat Cosgrave is riding well at present however with four winners from his last 14 rides and should give it a good go from stall two, with place claims at most today.
3 NABBAASH – Hasn’t raced much in recent times and has one raced twice in 2015/2016, well beaten last on both occasions. Hard to build any case for him and others have far more convincing claims, and is best left alone today.
4 DRAGON MALL – Finished second in listed company at Newmarket in May (7f, Good to Firm) and has been relatively consistent since, finishing a close fourth in Group 3 company at Goodwood back in July (1m, Good to Firm). Dropping back in trip is likely to help and has had a preparation run at Chelmsford last month (7f, Std), running a good race to finish third. Lightly raced for a four year old and has further scope for improvement so has to be respected for inform David Simcock and Jamie Spencer.
5 NOAH FROM GOA – 5-7 in South Africa and a Grade 1 winner, not disgraced when finishing 3rd at Kenilworth in the 2015 L’Ormarins Queen’s Plate (1m, Good). Hasn’t been since since January 2016 however which has to be a concern and may just struggle against horses with race fitness, despite Christophe Soumillon riding out of his skin at present. De Kock knows how to ready one and is likely to have place claims, but it would be some training performance if he was to win this.
6 DARK EMERALD – Very useful on his day and finished second here in January 2016 in handicap company, though he’s been runner up in a Group 2 here a few years ago. Had been running well in the summer, finishing third in the Hungerford Stakes not beaten far, though he was well beaten in a conditions race in September when last seen (7f, Good). This trip poses no problem and handles the track well, so has to have place claims if ready to role after a break.
7 FLASH FIRE – Won a C&D handicap in good style a few weeks ago, not hard pressed to win by three lengths. That represented a career best and is likely to come on from it as it was his first run since August 2016, with the William Buick yard in good form at present with a record of 3-5 in the past two weeks. May struggle if the race turns tactical as he’ll want to come off a strong pace to be shown at best effect, but he sets the standard nonetheless and is respected.
8 GRAYSTORM – Winner of three local Group 1s in Turkey but those were at trips between 1m – 1m4f and it is hard to know what that form amounts to in this field. Others likely to bring stronger form into the race and hasn’t run for 117 days, so probably best watched unless the market speaks in his favour.