As the Dubai Carnival steps up another gear in the countdown to World Cup night we have a six races from Meydan on Thursday, four on the turf and two in the dirt track, but a Lucky 15 seems the sensible way forward with possible race fitness concerns about plenty of the runners who may yet have other long term targets. See our Meydan Lucky 15 here,
3.05pm AABAR Properties Handicap 1m 4f Turf
Desert God found the change of scenery and class a bit too much on his first run since arriving from India despite being sent off the 6/4 favourite, but may strip a little bit fitter now and could be a danger to all in this company off a very useable mark. Godolphin are represented by the Christophe Soumillon ridden Prize Money who seems sure to put in a bold showing but Adam Kirby may have him covered on board the well regarded Gold Trail (5/2) who has clearly had his issues with just the two runs last season. He did thrash Stars Over The Sea when last seen at Doncaster over this trip and if fully wound up ought to prove the one to beat this afternoon over his favourite trip.
3.40pm Al Rashidiya Empowered By IPIC (Group 2) 1m 1f Turf
A small but select field for this Group Two contest worth close to £100,000 to the winner headed on the ratings by both Farrier and Light The Lights. Satish Seemar has his horses running well and Farrier won’t go under without a fight if repeating his career best second to Tryster in the Group One Jebel Hatta last season over course and distance here but may still have to play second fiddle to Mike de Kock’s Light The Lights (5/4). It is pretty unusual for Mike to have them tuned up first time out here yet the five-year-old ran on well to score over course and distance by a neck in a Listed race earlier in the month and with nominal improvement he can take this with Christophe Soumillon once again in the saddle.
4.15pm UAE 2000 Guineas Trial 7f Dirt
Plenty of realistic possibilities here with Mike de Kocks’ Megnaas really interesting as a Greyville maiden winner making his debut on dirt. His form leaves him plenty to find but it takes a lot of time and money to export horses here from South Africa and the fact that he is even entered suggests he may be a bit special. He is certainly one to watch but the finish ought to be fought out between the Godolphin pair of Best Solution and Van Der Decken whose European form gives them every chance, and Doug Watson’s once raced Cosmo Charlie (6/1). A course and distance winner, he has at least proved he handles the dirt surface and has nay amount of room to improve further, and with the stable making positive nosies about his recent work he could yet prove to be the value call at the prices.
4.50pm Meydan Cape Verdi Group Two Fillies And Mares 1m Turf
An intriguing contest that may well see an all British trained finish with little to chose between Very Special (Saeed Bin Suroor), Realtra (Roger Varian), and Muffri ‘Ha (Willam Haggas). All three will be aiming for other targets on World Cup night at the end of March so race fitness could yet be the issue with Realtra (11/2) possibly holding a fitness edge having won last time out at Deauville on the all-weather less than a month ago. her two and three quarter length fifth to Esoterique at Newmarket in the Group One Sun Chariot Stakes in October may well be good enough to win this regardless and she certainly appears to have a fitness edge on her form book rivals