5.25pm Meydan Tips & Betting Preview 16/02/2017

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James Boyle
@JamesTheBoyle
Published: February 15, 2017
Having developed an interest in racing whilst in college some years ago, James has worked in many areas of the industry, including a stint hiding his face on radio! From 2008 until 2017, he ran a successful tipping service and has had shares in numerous horses including the wonderful Fast Shot. Unsurprisingly given some of the horses he has bought shares in, his punting passions lie in sprint handicaps on both the turf and All-Weather surfaces!

An interesting 1 mile handicap on Meydan’s dirt track and with over £100,000 on offer, it’s no surprise to see many talented animals turning up to contest it. See our betting tip and the full race preview below.

IN SUMMARY: Footbridge has the talent to get involved here if a nice early sit is on offer but might find it tough to give away weight all round. Preference is for AMERICAN HOPE, a fellow Godolphin performer who has an excellent cruising speed and is not handicapped out of things off 102. He has shown that he was in good form on turf recently and with a slightly more patient ride than was the case last time, a win is on the cards. Of those at bigger prices, Different Dimension can grab one of the places now back on the dirt.

FOOTBRIDGE – Talented 7-year-old who won 3 times earlier in his career at Santa Anita when trained in America but hasn’t got his head in-front in 8 runs since May of 2014. Showed distinct promise in this month last year over C&D when dropped back in trip from 9.5 furlongs, only beaten little more than a length, and perhaps needed the run when finding Listed company too demanding a couple of months ago. Interesting contender back in a handicap off a mark of 105 and can go well if getting a good position from gate 10.

HEAVY METAL – Former Mark Johnston trained 7-year-old who has won a couple of dirt handicaps since moving here two years ago. Shown some good form this winter, winning over C&D on his penultimate start towards the end of January but was below that level when taking on a Group 3 event five days ago. Will appreciate returning to handicap company off just 4lbs higher than his most recent success but does have to prove that it wasn’t just an off day and might have done his winning for now.

AMERICAN HOPE – Strong-travelling sort who is only 2-18 in his career and often throws away his chance by racing too keenly early on. Does have a lot of ability, however, and arrives on the back of a good turf run here (1m, Good) when third behind Cymric. Rated 5lbs lower on artificial surfaces but has performed well on both dirt outings at last year’s Carnival, only beaten a length on each occasion and finished a head in-front of Footbridge second time around. More than capable of playing a part and is another for the shortlist.

BREX DRAGO – Frequent winner in Italy, amassing a record of 9-20 over there and that included 4 Listed victories. Far from disgraced on either outing since running in Dubai, finishing third (1m 2f, Good) and then sixth (1m 1f, Good) in a couple of turf handicaps, but now steps onto dirt for the first time. It adds an unknown factor and despite his sire being an American bred, he was a turf horse with no dirt form either. Opposable.

NATHR – Only showed mediocre form in Britain when trained by Charles Hills but has since improved with Doug Watson, coming into his own in particular last March when winning a minor handicap here (1m 1.5f, Fast) by over 9 lengths off 83. Took his form to a new level again when winning over this C&D off 92 four weeks ago and did do it very easily once more. Could find further improvement but will have to after being raised 8lbs, and he is also taking on a higher class of opposition in a proper Carnival handicap.

NEED TO KNOW – Defeated Heavy Metal over C&D in November off a mark of 96 and 3lbs better off given their contrasting levels of form since. However, there is a reason for that and Need To Know simply hasn’t been running anywhere near his rating on his last four starts. Unlikely to be a win contender against some in-form rivals who have got more in hand of the handicapper than he does.

DIFFERENT DIMENSION – Korean raider who has won 9 races between 5f & 1m 1f in his home country. Did not run too badly on his Meydan debut over C&D last month when expected to need the run and performed much better on turf next time out (1m, Good), finishing third at 33/1. Should appreciate returning to race on dirt and is one of the more interesting contenders at a price but whether he’s capable at this level remains to be seen. One of the weaker handicaps might be realistic when it comes to win purposes.

BEACHY HEAD – Winner of 3 dirt handicaps at Jebel Ali, the latest of which was in November when scoring by over 4 lengths (7f, Fast) from subsequent winner Bluff. 6lbs higher in the weights now but was beaten a combined total of 71 lengths in his four runs since then and needs the step back up to a mile to bring about a major improvement – that does not look too likely in this grade and his claims are limited.

CORNWALLVILLE – British trained 5-year-old who posted a career best to win a hot Newcastle handicap (6f, Std) in November on just his second run away from the turf and only 1lb higher in the weights here. Wasn’t disgraced on his first Carnival outing last month over a mile (Good) but took a backwards step over the same C&D by finishing last of 11 here on Saturday. The draw didn’t help him there but it leaves his well being up for debate and running on dirt is a complete unknown. Easily swerved this time around.

CALDER PRINCE – Found 6f too quick when only 8th of 10 on this surface four weeks ago and might have needed what was his first run since October. Represents a talented British trainer in Tom Dascombe and did run very well at 7f on dirt (Fast) a year ago in a trial for the UAE 2000 Guineas. Yet to run at today’s 1 mile trip and therein could lie the problem with mixed signals coming from his pedigree. Has the potential to do better and is well treated off a mark of 95, but has to prove that he’s a true miler.

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