IN SUMMARY: Aidan O’Brien reports WASHINGTON DC (Each Way) to be in great heart in the mornings pout in Dubai and back to something like his very best. He has always been held in high regard and back at six furlongs which ought to prove his perfect trip he is clearly overpriced and may well make them all pull out the stops if he gets the run of the race as needed.
1 FAATINAH – Back to the turf now and with Ertijaal sadly out of this contest Hamdan Al Maktoum will rely on the five-year-old gelding who has generally raced in Australia with his last two starts here when beating Baccarat a neck on his Meydan debut and then beating beaten three lengths by the same rival when looking a bit one paced, and with both races over course and distance. He has won at up to Group Two class but has a bit to find with some of these on recent handicap efforts.
2 WASHINGTON DC – Once hailed as the next big thing at Ballydoyle but yet to really live up to his reputation though he was beaten less than three lengths at Del Mar in the Breeders Cup when eighth over five furlongs when staying on well last November. His wins have been over five six and even seven furlongs, so he is pretty adaptable and as he is well drawn and goes well fresh he certainly looks overpriced with Ryan Moore in the saddle, who will need to get him out smartly and not allow him to get too detached early on to challenge.
3 LIBRISA BREEZE – Officially the highest rated horse in this field for trainer Dean Ivory and a winner last time out when seeing off Tasleet by a length and a quarter in the Champions Sprint at Ascot in October. His better from has been on going with plenty of cut in it but he has won on fast ground over further and if they go off too fast (as expected) then if he gets a clear run he may well get involved in the finish at a double figure price.
4 ILLUSTRIOUS LAD – Not the best sprinter in Australia by any means but bits and pieces of decent form at Morphettville when second to Viddora as well as when runner-up to Super Cash at Caulfield when only beaten a short head in a Group Two last October. Heavily eased last time in a race best ignored he is experienced and tough, but it would be a surprise if a few of these didn’t have a bit too much class for him here.
5 STORMY LIBERAL – Shocked the racing World when pulling off a 40/1 shock in the Breeders Cup Sprint at Del Mar last November and ran well enough on his first race of 2018 when a two and a quarter length second to Conquest Tsunami at Santa Anita last month. That race will have put Peter Miller’s gelding spot on for this, yet his early odds suggest everyone thinks his big race win was a fluke, though jockey Joel Rosario will be doing his best to prove all the pundits horribly wrong.
6 HOLDING GOLD – Another American challenger, this time for trainer Mark Casse, and a winner last time out at Fair Grounds in a minor Stakes race over five and a half furlongs. This looks a much better contest and he will need a career best by some margin to even get involved here and he is already held by both Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy on Del Mar form.
7 RICHARD’S BOY – A decent enough sprinter but possibly the Peter Miller second string here. He hasn’t won in over a year now and nine starts despite some decent placed efforts and a pretty poor below expectations seventh at Santa Anita when sent off the 19/10 favourite last time out. Fifth here last year but may struggle to match that in 2018.
8 BACCARAT – One of three Godolphin runners, in his case representing the Charlie Appleby stable and with Mickael Barzalona in the saddle. Last seen in Europe at York last may he resurfaced here at Meydan with a respectable second to Faatinah in January before reversing that form with a three-length defeat of the same rival over course and distance last month. One more run saw a fourth to Jungle Cat, Ertijaal, and Top Score here and he has his work cut out to win this race if that is as good as he is.
9 CONQUEST TSUNAMI – A third runner for Peter Miller and unbeaten this season so far after wins at Santa Anita when in the care of Mark Casse, and then at the same track over six and a half furlongs in the Grade Three Daytona Stakes in February. That was a career best by some margin and he clearly needs to step up again to take a hand here but he is going the right way and a big run is very much a possibility now as well.
10 JUNGLE CAT – Another for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby and this time, with James Doyle booked to ride. Short of top class back in the United Kingdom, the son of Iffraaj seems to enjoy the Dubai sunshine with two wins from two runs this season here at Meydan when beating Janoobi by three-quarters of a length over seven furlongs in February and then useful yardstick Ertijaal by two and a quarter lengths over course and distance earlier this month, breaking the course record in the process. The fastest horse wins every race on the day and he clearly has all the gears needed to get involved here.
11 MAGICAL MEMORY – Trained in Lambourn by Charlie Hills the son of Zebedee has some solid form to his name from the European scene with wins at Haydock and Newbury last season but has plenty to find on his three and three-quarter lengths third to Blue Point at Ascot when last seen in October. Rested since, this is a massive race to try a comeback in following five months plus off the course, and as he is held by Blue Point regardless he needs to find plenty of improvement to even mount a challenge.
12 MUSIC MAGNATE – Trained in Australia by Bjorn Baker, the son of Written Tycoon has won two of his last four starts at Eagle Farm in a Group Two and last time out at Randwick in Listed class. The New Zealand bred is as tough as teak and will prove tough to pass if he can ever get to the front here, but that seems unlikely in this exalted company
13 BLUE POINT – If the betting is correct then Blue Point is the Godolphin number one here with William Buick tasked with doing the steering for trainer Charlie Appleby. He has always been held in very high regard back at home in Newmarket but has had his various issues though he is looking like the horse they hoped now after a win in the Bengough Stakes at Newbury in October. He returned to action here with a second to Ertijaal when running on over the five furlongs and with that run behind him and an added furlong now he seems sure to be there at the finish once again.
14 HIT THE BID – Three wins from fourteen career starts at The Curragh, Cork, and here at Meydan last month but held by Blue Point when third to Ertijaal here last time out and thus left with a few pounds to find in this field. Possibly not best drawn in the fourteen stall but has bits and pieces of form that suggest he won’t be too far away at the line though he would perhaps be better off over five furlongs than the six he faces here.