We finally look to have come over the hump of terrible weather in February, with more meetings managing to be saved by the tireless work of the ground staff. One place where they won’t need to be trying quite so hard is sunny Meydan, where they host another scintillating card of group action.
The feature race is the Group 2 Zabeel Mile, with two other Group 3 contests bolstering the meeting. I’ve taken a look at the three Group contests, and complied an accumulator which can hopefully warm up a soggy Thursday afternoon! For our British horse racing tips, check on site now!
2:30 – Dubai Millennium Stakes (Group 3)
The first of the feature races is the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes, with the warm favourite being Charlie Appleby’s GHAIYYATH. He’s a general 3/10 favourite and warrants that price on what he showed in the autumn. Having his first run since April, he destroyed a Group 1 field at Baden-Baden with the minimum of fuss. He wasn’t at his best in the Arc since, but soft ground is an obvious excuser for that run.
He has his ground conditions on his Meydan debut and a repeat of his best form would be more than enough to see him breeze through this test, even if dropping two furlongs in distance is completely ideal.
His only danger looks to be Desert Encounter, who was last seen in electric form back in the autumn. Winning three Group 3 contests in Britain, he was a Group 1 winner in Canada in October, landing the International Stakes in comfortable fashion. That’s good form, but even his best leaves him with eleven pounds to find with the aforementioned Godolphin juggernaut.
Selection: GHAIYYATH (1/3)
3:40 – UAE Oaks (Group 3)
It’s all eyes on the fillies in the UAE Oaks at 3:40pm, and the hot favourite is another Godolphin inmate in the form of Dubai Love. Saeed bin Suroor’s charge has won two of her four starts, getting off the mark in Meydan when taking the 1000 Guineas in comfortable fashion. She comfortably had the measure of Down On Da Bayou, who reopposes, and there is no reason to suggest the form will be reversed over this longer distance.
One who may well have the measure of both, however, is the invading SEREIN, who was 2/4 on the dirt in Japan. She was an easy winner of an allowance race over 1m 1f at Nakayama on her latest outing, making all in fine style. That form, locally, holds some weight, with the second having placed at Group 3 level previously.
The two aforementioned rivals don’t set a daunting standard given that this is a Group 3 contest and she’s the unexposed quantity in the mix. Yutaka Take comes over for the ride and she could be set for the perfect introduction to racing at Meydan.
Selection: SEREIN (13/8)
4:15 – Zabeel Mile (Group 2)
The feature race of the day is the Group 2 Zabeel Mile, with the front three in the market all wearing the royal blue of Godolphin. The two hot favourites both hail from the Charlie Appleby yard, with Mythical Magic the current favourite. He’s certainly not the most consistent, but he won this race twelve months ago in great style. He was having his first run since June when a very good second in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort and that form gives him obvious claims.
That being said, he’s far from guaranteed to back up that performance and that makes him a riskier option at skinny odds. Zakouski is the other shortie from the stable and after just three starts, perhaps offers plenty more value. He’s raced just three times, beating Headman on debut and having just his third career start when running away with a handicap here last month. This represents a marked step up in class, but he’s thoroughly unexposed and needs considering.
Enjoying an incredible 2019 Carnival, which included wins at all three graded levels, DREAM CASTLE looked to have rediscovered his best form on his latest outing when a clear second to Barney Roy over 1m 1f. He really caught the eye with the way he travelled and dropping back in distance looks a good move. His best form puts him on a par with both his Godolphin rivals and he does look to represent far more value in a trappy race at the top.
Selection: DREAM CASTLE (7/2)
That Acca pays 15/1 but there’s also one other horse to pay close attention to in the finale at 6pm.
6:00 – Jaguar F PACE (Handicap)
Running a great race behind Zakouski in a course and distance handicap two starts ago, WAIT FOREVER has seemingly floated in under the radar. He wasn’t at his best on his latest outing, where he was unable to get involved in a race where you had to be up with the pace to have any sort of chance.
He’s now a pound lower and the in-form Ben Curtis takes the ride, which could well be a sign of intent. He should get this race run to suit and it’s still early days for him with this yard. The best could certainly be yet to come, which makes his price look very much on the high side.
Selection: WAIT FOREVER (33/1)