12.15 Muntazah 6-5, True Timber 14-1 e/w
12.50 Call The Wind 4-1
1.30 Blue Point evens (Ante Post) , Brave Smash 14-1 e/w
2.05 Divine Image 11-4 , Superior 25-1 e/w
2.40 X Y Jet 7-2
3.20 Almond Eye 5-4
4.00 Rey De Oro 3-1
4.40 Capezzano 5-1 (Ante Post) & Yoshida 8-1 (4 places with Paddy Power)
Lucky 15 – 12.15 Muntazah 10-11 , 3.20 Almond Eye 5-4 , 4.00 Rey De Oro 3-1, 4.40 Capezzano 4-1 (@skybet)
E/w Trixie – 12.50 Call The Wind 7-2 , 1.30 Brave Smash 14-1 , 4.40 Yoshida 8-1 (@bet365)
Fun E/w Lucky 15 – 12.15 True Timber 12-1 , 1.30 Brave Smash 14-1 , 2.05 Superior 25-1 ,4.40 Yoshida 8-1 (@bet365)
12.15 Godolphin Mile (Group 2 )
This is a race that Saeed Bin Suroor has won ten times but it’s been 6 years since his last success in the race courtesy of African Story. Doug Watson has won it twice in last three years with One Man Band and Second Summer( our 25-1 winner in 2017). The defending champion Heavy Metal is back again to defend his crown but he has looked a shadow of the horse we saw last year. He was last on his seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge. He was then beaten by miles in the Firebreak and Burj Nahaar by Muntazah. I honestly can’t see him reversing form with the horse he beat last year in race in Muntazah.
This is the horse we have been following since January when he was 3rd behind North America and Kimbear. He has been a revelation since winning both his races by a wide margin. He has progressed with each run and he has a terrific turn of foot. He is well drawn in 6 and he has so much speed gate which is crucial at Meydan. He will make the running and in Jim Crowley he has a jockey who knows how to ride him. I can’t see him getting beat and I reckon Doug Watson will have another winner in race. Uncle Jim said in one interview few days ago that Muntazah was the best horse he’s ever ridden at Meydan which speaks volumes about how highly regarded he is.
Kimbear is the other Doug Watson runner in race but he has been disappointing this year. His last win came on Super Saturday last year and he has been thrashed by the likes of Muntazah and North America this year. Coal Front brings some solid US form on the table but his draw in 12 puts me off him.
Another US horse that could feature is True Timber who brings Grade 1 form to the table after finishing 7th in the Pegasus at Gulfstream Park. At 14-1/12-1 I think he is overpriced in this race. Major Partnership represents Godolphin but he scrapped to win a handicap on his last run at odds of 33-1. African Ride is another horse that won a handicap race on his last start and finished 20 lengths behind Capezzano before that.
For the winner I will stick with Muntazah as I think he is the class act in the race and will show this with Uncle Jim on Saturday.
12.50 Dubai Gold Cup (Group 2 )
This is quite a new race on the card and it has been ran since 2012. The champ Vazirabad is not in the line up this season after winning it for the last three years. Godolphin and Charlie Appleby has the two market leaders in Cross Counter and Ispolini. Cross Country won the Melbourne Cup in devastating fashion on his first try over this trip back in November. He is an improving horse and travels really well in his race. He was second in the Great Voltigeur over a shorter trip in a race that has worked out really well. I have a feeling he might need the run on Saturday and is short in the market.
Ispolini has won 2 of his 3 races at Meydan this season and he is a serious rival to Cross Counter. He destroyed the field in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy and reversed the form with Bin Battuta. But the race was marred with an injury to the champ Brundtland. He will have to step up again on Saturday but he goes in race with a live chance.
The other horse in race with a solid chance is Call The Wind trained by the legend Freddie Head. He is a lightly race horse who brings Group 1 form to the table after winning the Prix Du Cadran last October at Longchamp. He ran really well at Chantilly in the Darshaan Stakes when he finished 2nd to Trais Fluors. It was a warm up race as he ran over the shorter trip of 1m 1f and he gave away 6lb to the winner that day. He will strip fitter on Saturday and 4-1/7-2 could be value if you decide to take on the 2 Godolphin hotpots. I remember really well his turn of foot at Longchamp when he came past Holdthasigreen who I backed on the day. He will relish the trip and will have no stamina issues.
Prince of Arran ran only once at Meydan where he finished 4th in the City of Gold won by Old Persian. I can’t see him winning this race. Out of the others I will give a small each way squeak to Sharpalo who has always ran well at Meydan in last few months. He will always give his best and if one or two of the market principals fail then he could may be sneak a place.
Selection – Call The Wind
1.30 Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1 )
It’s the race I am most looking forward to on Saturday as it brings back some good memories for me over the last few years with the likes of J J The Jet Plane ( x 2),Shea Shea and the legend Sole Power. Blue Point should have won it last year but he bled at the start and had to be withdrawn. He heads the market again this year and could be hard to beat in my opinion. He won his 2 races at Meydan without breaking sweat and he is a more mature horse this year. He is all speed and can quicken off the pace very easily with that turn of foot he has. He was very impressive on Super Saturday when he won the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint over C&D. If he wins on Saturday then the 5-1 on him retaining his King’s Stand crown at Royal Ascot will be gone.
Sands of Mali created a big shock on British Champions Day when he won the Sprint Stakes at 28-1. He also finished 2nd in the Commonwealth Cup last year and if he reproduces that form then he won’t be far away. Stormy Liberal is the one that could spoil the party if ever Blue Point has an off day. He won the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint for us last November but has since been beaten at odds on in his last 2 starts. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him each way as he has been working well based on gallop reports from Meydan. Caribou Club did beat Stormy Liberal at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day and his sectionals were very good that day. I won’t rule him out of the equation at all as he is a speedy sort.
Another one with good each way claim is Wishful Thinker. He has been in very good form in Hong Kong having won four of his last 5 starts and he will relish the straight 6f track. I remember Silvestre De Sousa praising him when he won on the horse at Sha Tin recently. Brave Smash represents the Aussies but since winning the Group 1 Manikato Stakes he has been very disappointing. He showed glimpses he was back to his best 2 weeks ago when 3rd behind Osborne Bulls and Sunlight. On his best form he will be thereabouts and is another one with decent place claims.
For the winner I will stick with Blue Point and I think he will show his class on Saturday and could be the sprinter to follow along with Mabs Cross.
Selection – Blue Point & Brave Smash
2.05 Uae Derby (Group 2 – Dirt )
This is a wide open race and there are few with chances. Divine Image heads the betting and rightly so after her impressive runs this year. Everything went wrong for her in the 1000 Guineas when she missed the kick but she produced an unbelievable run to come from last to second. That was an eye catching run and she went in everyone’s notebook that day. It’s very hard to make ground on the dirt but the Scat Daddy filly showed she was a smart one. She then won the Uae Oaks and was delivered at the right time to nail her stablemate Swift Rose. She went on to destroy the Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday and showed a great turn of foot in the process. It was an impressive performance considering she was getting warm before entering the stalls. She gets weight from her main rivals here and could be tough to beat being a progressive filly.
Walking Thunder is one of 3 horses owned by the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate(PLS). He has won 3 of his 4 starts this season. He was turned over at odds of 4-11 on his latest start. He broke slowly that day and was taken on for the lead. He will have the assistance of Frankie Dettori in the saddle on Saturday. The 4th that day namely Sporting Chance has since gone to win a Listed race at Meydan. Funnily enough he beat Golden Jaguar,the other PLS horse on the day by a neck. I was very taken by Walking Thunder win in the Uae 2000 Guineas when he blitzed the field. If he is in the same form then he will be thereabouts and will give the favorite a good race. He has a perfect draw as well in stall one.
Superior is the other horse from the PLS that could run well at a big price. He was well beaten by Divine Image on his latest start but he made up a lot of ground to get 2nd and it was an eye catching run in my opinion. His 5th in the Al Bastakiya is working out well since the 2nd Esdihdaaf won the 2000 Guineas on his following start. Connor Beasley said Superior was his best chance of a winner on Saturday and he also had the pick of the 3 PLS horses.
Manguzi hasn’t been out of the places in his 3 races at Meydan. He was 2nd behind Walking Thunder in the 2000 Guineas before winning the Al Bastakiya Trial. He ran a creditable race on his last start only to be beaten by Superior and Divine Image. He has decent place claims in the race as he has some solid form in the book.
Jahbath represents the Haggas team and he has won his last 4 starts at tracks like Southwell and Kempton. I don’t really know what he beat in those races but he looked visually impressive from the way he quickened up. Derma Louvre represents the Japanese and he has been the subject of some good reports this week from the gallops. I don’t really know much about his form in Japan though.
Van Beethoven is the Ballydoyle’s representative in race and ran some good races on turf last season. He won his Group 2 in the Railway Stakes before finishing 4th in the Champagne Stakes behind Too Darn Hot. He is by Scat Daddy and the dirt surface won’t be a problem for him. He warmed up for that race by running at Dundalk few weeks ago but the drift before race told us he wasn’t there to win. The negative for him is the draw though. Of the rest I think Swift Rose (25-1) beaten a neck by Divine Image the fave and Razeena (50-1) are well over priced and could run well if they get a good position from their wide draws but it’s a big IF.
Selection -Divine Image and Superior
2.40 Golden Shaheen (Group 2 )
This is a race that will surely go to the Americans with three of their horses drawn low. Roy H has been scratched from race and he was the one I would have taken on in race like last year when he was beaten at 4/7 in same race. I suspect we might see X Y Jet and Promises Fulfilled fighting for the lead and if they do they might as well set up the race for a closer.
X Y Jet was our unlucky horse in race last year when he was caught on the line by Mind Your Biscuits. He was also second in the race in 2016 beaten a neck by Muarrab. He had a slight injury last summer but made his reappearance in January at Gulfstream where he was beaten at long odds on. He then went on to win the claiming race at the same track where he looked very good.
Promises Fulfilled was 4th in the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint won by Roy H. Before that he won his 3 races that included the Grade 2 Allen Jerkens Stakes where he made all to blitz the field. He is a lively danger as long as he doesn’t cut his own throat upfront.
I have a lot of time for Imperial Hint who was 3rd behind Roy H when we backed him last November. Before that he won 4 of his 5 races that included 2 Grade 1’s in the Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont and the Vanderbilt at Saratoga. He is a major player in the race and I could see him slotting nicely behind X Y Jet & Promises Fulfiled before pouncing late on. Drafted represent the Doug Watson team and he has won 3 of his last 4 races at Meydan. He always come from the off the pace and i doubt if he could pick up the American speedsters upfront bar if they stop! For the winner I am going to stay loyal to X Y Jet and I hope he gets that elusive win on the big stage at Meydan.
Selection – X Y Jet
3.20 Dubai Turf (Group 1 )
All eyes will be on the Japanese filly Almond Eye in this race. She brings some good form to the table having won the Japanese Fillies Triple Crown and the Japan Cup last year. She earned rave reviews since destroying the Japan Cup and has been compared to some of the great horses since. She will be facing a different challenge on Saturday as it will be the first time she is racing abroad. I watched some of her recent gallops and she looked very good. She seems to do it very easily and has a very good turn of foot. She has done all her winning over 1m2-1m4 and here she will be stepping back in trip. I don’t think that will inconvenience her as she has plenty of speed in her pedigree being by the legendary Lord Kanaloa. She has an ideal draw and she will be hard to beat if she reproduces the form of her Japan Cup win.
Dream Castle has been a revelation this season at Meydan. He was very disappointing last year but it seems that the gelding operation has worked its miracles. He looked a more settled horse and he is starting to show his potential now. He was very impressive when he won the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday when he went past Wootton in the last furlong with ease. Before that he won the Al Rashiya and the Singspiel. I wouldn’t put anyone off backing him as he is a proven C&D winner and will give you a run for your money. Saeed Bin Suroor will have him primed for the big race that he won with Benbatl last year and in Super Soumi he has a world class jockey on board too.
I Can Fly represents the Aidan O’Brien yard and she ran a solid race in the QE11 at Ascot behind Roaring Lion but that came on soft ground. She was no match to Expert Eye in the Breeders Cup. She warmed up for this race by winning a mickey mouse event at Dundalk recently. I can’t see her troubling the market leaders.
Wootton hasn’t set the world alight since his Group 3 success in France when he got the better of Olmedo in a ding dong battle. He was 3rd in the St James Palace won by Without Parole at Ascot. At Meydan this season he was a big eyecatcher in the Zabeel Mile when finishing 4th behind Mystical Magic. To be honest he should had won that day but he was given a crook ride by the Doyler. He was backed into favorite in the Jebel Hatta but bumped into a better horse in Dream Castle. I cant see him reversing form with the latter but he could be the one for each way thieves.
Deidre is another one that has nice each way claims. She should have won the Hong Kong Cup last December but she couldn’t reel in the winner Glorious Forever.She was 3rd in the race last year behind Benbatl and might sneak in a place. Without Parole has been disappointing since winning the St James Palace last year and he hasn’t progressed as expected. He looked stronger on the Meydan gallops from what I saw in few clips and hopefully he can run well as he is a classy horse. Lord Glitters hasn’t run since finishing 6th in the QEII behind Roaring Lion. He might need the run here and he is facing much fitter rivals here.
For the winner I will stick with Almond Eye and I think she is a special filly that we will hear a lot more in the next few months.
Selection – Almond Eye
4.00 Dubai Sheema Classic ( Group 1 )
Rey De Oro was our selection in the race last year but could only finish 4th in a race won by Hawkbill. Poet’s Word was 2nd and Cloth of Stars 3rd. Since then Poet’s Word went on to win the Brigadier Gerard, Prince of Wales Stakes, the King Georges. Cloth of Stars final race was in the Arc when he was 3rd to Enable. As you can see there was no disgrace in getting beat by those horses last year. He’s won 2 out of 3 races since including the Grade 1 Tenno Sho. He was beaten by a neck in the Arima Kinen on his latest start. He goes into the race with a solid chance.
Old Persian heads the market for the boys in blue. He did us a good favour at Royal Ascot last year when he romped away with the King Edward VII Stakes. He then went on to win the Great Voltigeur by giving weight and a beating to Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter and St Leger winner Kew Gardens. He was 5th in the St Leger where in my opinion he didn’t really stay the distance. On his re appearance in the City of Gold at Meydan he looked very smart as he was hampered a few times but still managed to get the better of his stablemate Racing History in the dying strides. I feel he will have to improve again to win this against a much stronger Rey Del Oro this year.
Hunting Horn is another one of our Royal Ascot winner in the race but he’s there only to make the pace for his stablemate Magic Wand. She won the Ribblesdale at Ascot last year and comes here on the back of a good second behind Bricks and Mortar in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes. She was also a good second to Wild Illusion in the Prix Lopera at Longchamp which is really good form considering he latter was beaten by a head by Sistercharlie in the Breeders Cup Filly & Mare race last November. She will relish the good ground and wouldn’t want anymore rain.The step up in distance to 1m4f will suit and looking at all Aiden’s runners I think she is one of their best chance of a winner on the card. She is an each way bet to nothing in race and Ryan is quite sweet on her chances too.
Racing History could fight for the lead with Hunting Horn here and he might have a small each way claim if allowed to dictate from the front. We were on him in the City of Gold when he lead off a slow pace before getting picked by Old Persian at the business end of the race. Suave Richard is another one from Japan and he was 3rd to Almond Eye in the Japan Cup. Before that he was firmly put in his place by Rey Del Oro in the Tenno Sho. He was also 2nd to the same horse last year in the Japanese Derby. Clearly he has to find something on the market leaders but the Magic Man Joao Moreira can steer him into a place I think.
Cheval Grand is the other horse from Japan who was 3rd in the Arima Kinen and he wasn’t too far behind Rey Del Oro and the winner Blast OnePiece. Before that he was well stuffed by Almond Eye in the Japan Cup and I can’t see him winning especially from that draw in one.
For the winner I will stay loyal to Rey Del Oro and hoping it will be redemption time after last year’s fourth.
Selection – Rey Del Oro
4.40 Dubai World Cup (Group 1 )
This is the big race of the night and I have a feeling this year it lacks a few superstars in the line up as compared to previous years. We still have last year’s champion in Thunder Snow who is back to defend his crown. It is a feat that hasn’t been achieved by any horse in the past. He won the race last year by making all last year after North America missed the break. He had it easy at the front end and set up fractions that suited him. He is drawn wider again this time and he faced competition for the lead from North America and the new kid on the block in Capezzano who are both well drawn in 2 and 3. He ran a stormer in the Breeders Cup Classic when he finished 3rd behind Gunnevera and Accelerate. He had a little break since and he made his reappearance on Super Saturday where he was thrashed by Capezzano. He normally needs his first run at Meydan and he tends to improve on his second start. I feel that he finished very tired that day and it will be a hard task to make up 10 lengths over the winner.
North America is a Meydan specialist having won 7 races from his last eleven there. He has been prepared specifically for the World Cup and has won both of his races this season in great style. Missing the break last year was his undoing in race and he can’t afford the same mistake this year. He is well drawn in stall 3 but no horse from that draw has ever won the World Cup. If he breaks well then he will be involved in a furious battle upfront with Capezzano and I am pretty sure Capezzano will wrestle the lead from him to get the rail position.
Capezzano is next in the betting and has been our cash machine horse over at Meydan this year along with Muntazah. Since they applied the hood to him back in January he looked a transformed horse. He destroyed the field in the Mina Rashid before doing the same to Thunder Snow in the Al Maktoum Challenge on Super Saturday. He is ideally drawn in 2 and he has fast gate speed too which is crucial. Once he gets the rail it will be a question of catch me if you can and I can’t see him out of the places to be honest. He has a blistering turn of foot and has been progressing with each run. It will be great to see him win the race as he was only an unknown handicapper few months ago. Even if he doesn’t win he won’t owe us anything this season as he did us some massive favours at big odds.
Seeking The Soul is another US horse that has some solid form to his name and has performed creditably well in decent company. He was 2nd to City of Light in the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile and the same horse beat him in the Pegasus where he ran a stormer. He will have the assistance of Mike Smith on board who has won this race before aboard Arrogate. He has decent each way claims based on his recent form. Yoshida is the other US trained horse in the line up and he brings some solid Group 1 form to the table. He was 4th in the Breeders Cup Classic back in November and that was a very good run. He didn’t fire in the Pegasus on his last start but he can’t be discounted at all. If Capezzano and North America are involved in a battle up front it could play in the hands of Yoshida.
Audible is the US horse trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by the China Horse syndicate. His best run came last year when he was 3rd in the Florida Derby beaten by the superstar Justify. He was well beaten in the Pegasus on his last start. He is another one that could pick up the pieces at the very end in my opinion. Gunnevera finished 8th in that race last year and he ran a stormer in the Breeders Cup Classic last November to finish 2nd behind Accelerate. He dwelt in the stalls in the Pegasus and that was the excuse given for him finishing 6th. He did stay on strongly at the end though but he isn’t too reliable for my liking. Of the rest I can’t see anything else troubling the ones I mentioned above.
Selection -Capezzano & Yoshida