After losing the feature meeting at Sandown on Saturday, it’s very easy to be disappointed with this weekend’s action. Just a week before the Cheltenham Festival, any racing is going to look pretty drab, but fear not, as Meydan has the answer to your Saturday blues!
A major preparation day for the Dubai World Cup Night, Super Saturday is jam-packed with incredible action, including a pair of Group 1 races!
Our ITV Racing Tips have you covered for all things UK, but here is the scoop on the fantastic action in the desert!
Jebel Hatta Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1)
This race revolves around the chances of Barney Roy, who was one of the best of his generation and a Royal Ascot winner in June 2017. He’d been absent since June 2019 prior to his Meydan debut, where he defeated Dream Castle in impressive fashion. He could be called the winner a long way out and he’s more than likely to come on markedly for that success.
If he was to get back to anywhere near his three-year-old best, then there is no doubt he’ll be difficult to beat. That said, he’s now a six-year-old and there is the bounce factor to remember. Godolphin has five in this race and perhaps the filly can show them the way home.
MAGIC LILY is undefeated since debuting in Meydan, winning a pair of Group 2 races against her own sex. She posted a career-best to score cozily over course and distance on her latest outing and she remains unexposed for a top yard. She has the assistance of Mickael Barzalona for this assignment and the best is certainly yet to come.
Selection: Magic Lily (13/2)
Al Maktoum Challenge R3 Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1)
The third round of the Al-Maktoum Challenge has a familiar face at the top of the market in the shape of Matterhorn. Previously with Mark Johnston, he made his debut in the UAE when a seven-length third to Capezzano in the Firebreak back in February. That run was a shade disappointing, but he’s entitled to come on for that. He was mainly reliable when in Britain and a return to ten furlongs should really help matters.
He’s at skinnier odds, but he warrants them, especially if he can build on that recent return. Preference, however, is for the five-year-old MILITARY LAW. He was a winner on his second start at Meydan this winter, claiming a Listed race over course and distance. He posted a career-best performance two months later when second to Benbatl in Group 2 company, finishing well clear of a stacked field that included Gronkowski.
That form puts him to the top of the list and after just nine overall starts, there is plenty of reason to believe he can do even better yet.
Selection: Military Law (6/4)
Dubai City Of Gold Sponsored By Emirates SkyCargo (G2)
The final race on the card is a twelve-furlong Group 2 contest, where the British travelers dominate the market, holding the first seven positions in the betting. Defoe was a rapid improver last season over this distance, winning a Group 1 at the Derby meeting prior to Group 2 honors at Royal Ascot.
He’s been absent since July, however, where he was disappointing in the King George and he does need to bounce back. His record fresh is positive and that certainly gives him excellent claims if he can do just that.
At a shade of odds-on, though, I think it’s best to look elsewhere, and perhaps the gutsy DESERT ENCOUNTER can provide the answer. A Group 1 winner at Woodbine back in October, the race didn’t pan out to suit when he finished down the field on seasonal debut over ten furlongs. A return to this distance will certainly help matters and this field should give him the tow into the contest that he needs.
He’ll be staying on fast and late, so the booking of Jamie Spencer is certainly very pleasing. His best form doesn’t give him much to find with Defoe and he should be putting up a mighty fight.
Selection: Desert Encouter (7/2)