IN SUMMARY: There is no arguing that Heavy Metal is by far the most likely winner of this Group Three event but odds on in a thirteen runner field from the worst of the draw seems silly, and it may be worth taking a risk on CLASSIC EMPEROR (Each Way) who has some good form at home in Hong Kong including on the Sha Tin dirt track and looks a spot of each way value in this line-up from a far better draw.
1 KIMBEAR – Doug Watson’s Temple City colt is one of the more interesting options who falls a few pounds short of the very best here but has the benefit of the number one stall to help his cause. After winning on his first run here after leaving the USA he has finished second in both starts since with a seven-length defeat by Raven’s Corner over seven furlongs when looking a little one-pace and he needs to do better to win here.
2 ROSS – Trained in Germany by Peter Schiergen the six-year-old is a reasonable handicapper but nothing more than that and really ought to struggle in this company with a well-beaten seven length fourth over course and distance last month his latest effort and it would be a bit of a shock were he to prove good enough to challenge here.
3 TOP CLEARANCE – Brett Doyle rides the course and distance winner who was last seen finishing fourth in Listed class at Jebel Ali, seven and a half lengths adrift of the winner. He has won four racers and his stable are in good form, but he has at least ten pounds to find to get involved on our ratings and that looks a mountain to climb in this line-up.
4 DRAFTED – Needs a fast run race to produce his very best with a win in February his most recent victory here over seven furlongs. Well drawn but yet to prove he actually stays a mile and on breeding that looks pretty questionable. Doug Watson will know what he is doing with the grey son of Field Commission but in this company it may well be too much of a stamina test.
5 MUSAWAAT – Scored for trainer Charlie Hills at Newmarket in a Class Three handicap in July last year but moved to Dubai in February and has finished second in both starts since, once on the dirt here over seven furlongs and the other on the turf over the mile. Silvestre de Sousa rides which is never a bad thing, though this looks a bridge too far on recent form and he may do better back in lesser company.
6 GOD’S SPEED – Moved to Neil Bruss last month after four wins from eighteen starts for his previous handlers but only managed a twelve length eight her over ten furlongs last week and although he may do better back at this trip (three wins over the mile at Janadriyah in Saudi Arabia in 2016), but still looks up against it here in this far better company.
7 CLASSIC EMPEROR – Hard to judge how he handles this surface after he unseated at the gates over course and distance last month, but he does have some decent form at home in Hong Kong and has to be of some interest each way at least. An experienced six-year-old, he won at Sha Tin on his last completed outing in January on the dirt track so there is hope for connections that he will do better now and a big run is anticipated.
8 GREY BRITAIN – John Ryan’s gelding may well have need his first run since the operation and his first race since August when only ninth here in a mile and a quarter handicap when weakening rapidly inside the final quarter mile to be beaten over twenty lengths at the line. First time on the dirt this afternoon and although he may do a lot better he needs to prove he can handle this kind of surface before any support can be suggested.
9 FANTASTIC FOUR – Sixteen lengths behind Heavy Metal here on his Meydan debut and clearly has an awful lot to find to get anywhere near to that rival. Eight and a half lengths behind Top Score over seven furlongs last time lout he has an awful lot to find to get competitive here and seems likely to finish nearer last than first.
10 SECRET AMBITION – Four wins here on the Meydan dirt to add to a pair at Jebel Ali and a handicap at Brighton, two over the mile and the rest over shorter but none in anything higher than handicap company. Two pounds better off with Musawaat who he beat a head last time out he ought to confirm that form today, but still looks a touch outclassed in this line-up for popular local trainer Satish Seemar.
11 DAILY BULLETIN – Formerly with John Gosden in Newmarket and moved to Dubai in November before promptly scoring by five and a quarter lengths at Jebel Ali in a seven furlongs Conditions race. Fell out of the stalls in Listed class here over course and distance last time when a fifty-nine-length last to Heavy Metal over this course and distance in December and will look to get back to his better form after a couple of months off.
12 DREAM CASTLE – Better than the bare form figures may suggest with a three length fifth to Janoobi in the Group Two Zabeel Mile here on turf last time out. This will be his dirt debut but Saeed Bin Suroor will have made sure he can handle it before sending him here and he seems a major player here for a stable who won this contest four years in a row from 2011 to 2014.
13 HEAVY METAL – An intriguing runner and by far the best horse in this field but given the worst of the draw in the thirteen stall. After winning the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round One over this course and distance he was a respectable third to Thunder Snow when tried over further and bounced back with an easy win in this class over course and distance again last month. Likes to front run if possible but may not find that as easy from this draw, but still the likeliest winner.