IN SUMMARY: Much as we would love to find a way to oppose WINTER LIGHTNING how can we when she finished in front of all of this field last time out. If she is in the same form and stays this trip then she wins, with Rayya the one who could improve enough to mount a reasonable challenge again.
1 RAYYA – A beautifully bred filly as a daughter of Tiz Wonderful out of a Coronado’s Quest mare and she looks the sort to go on to be even better over time. Last time out she finished a two length second to Winter Lightning here over the mile of the UAE 1000 Guineas which suggests she is only playing for second place at best this afternoon but the added two furlongs may well play to her strengths and a bold attempt at exacting her revenge is expected.
2 LINE HOUSE – A decent enough filly now trained by Karl Burke and with a Class Six win at Newcastle in October on her CV when in the care of Robyn Brisland. Her two races so far in Dubai have seen her finish a long way behind Winter Lightning, beaten thirty-nine lengths over seven furlongs in January before a twenty-three length seventh on the UAE 1000 Guineas last month. Not necessarily bred for this trip but a half-sister to Woodlight who did win over a mile and three furlongs (but not in this sort of class), and hard to make a sensible case for.
3 EXPRESSLY – One of two Godolphin fillies and the daughter of Siyouni carries the second colours for trainer Charlie Appleby and jockey William Buick. Yet another in this field who has to find a way to reverse recent form with Winter Lightning having been beaten ten lengths by her rival in January and by four and a half lengths in the UAE 1000 Guineas when running on strongly and although she also has two and a half lengths to find with Rayya, she may at least finish closer to that rival stepped up to this trip.
4 SA’ADA – Sent off a 40/1 chance in the UAE 1000 Guineas before finishing a twenty-three length sixth and clearly has an awful lot of improvement to find if she wants to take a hand in the finish today. The bin Harmash stable are only ticking over so no positive signs there either and although she ought to do better stepped up to this sort of trip as a daughter of Bellamy Road she is still hard to fancy though a bit of place prize money is assured in such a small field.
5 QUEEN ESTORIL – Trained in Denmark by Bent Olsen the daughter of Camacho is out of a Darshaan mare and thus has a fifty-fifty chance of staying this trip. Last time out she was yet another who was well-beaten by Winter Lightning when finishing fifteen and a half lengths fourth in the UAE 1000 Guineas last month. She has won twice at Ovrevoll in Norway but they were over six and seven furlongs and there is no guarantee she will stay in this far better company.
6 WINTER LIGHTNING – The obvious favourite and by far the likeliest winner barring an off day. Saeed Bin Suroor has a 20% strike rate in the last two weeks which is a positive while the daughter of Shamardal is unbeaten this season after winning the UAE 1000 Guineas by very easy two lengths running on strongly, and with all of those taking her on today trailing in her wake. If she stays she wins on that form with her stamina the only slight nagging doubt.