It’s a good card again out at Meydan for Friday evening with seven races in total including the AE 2000 Guineas Trial and three Group races. I didn’t have the luckiest of evenings last Friday with a couple of unexpected results! Hopefully I have some winners this Friday to pay for a beverage or two over the weekend. I actually have a fancy in every race so you could have a cheeky Friday afternoon Super-Heinz if you want.
Best bets for the horse racing at Meydan – The Dubai Carnival
They get underway at 2.00 our time with the 6f Dubai Trophy Presented By Creek Views By Azizi Stakes on the Turf Track; it’s a tricky race with not a great deal of form to go on. Silent Speech is one I have had an eye out for since his win at Wolverhampton in November and I am not surprised he is in the Carnival team for Charlie Appleby. I backed him on debut at HQ when second and though he was unbackable at Wolverhampton I have been eagerly awaiting his third start. As I pointed out in October when he won at Newmarket he is a chestnut son of Dubawi out of Epitome making him a full-brother to winner Quintillus and a half-brother to six other winners! Help yourself to the 6-4.
At 2.35 it’s the 1m1f Jumeirah Derby Trial Presented By Park Avenue By Azizi Stakes on the Turf Track again. Sed Maarib nearly got to Sovereign Prince (one of the winners I did tip last week) in the Jumeirah Classic Trial over 7f here last week and the way he came home that night this step up in trip may help his chances. I have to be on New Kingdom as I think this one might be decent. I backed him on debut at Newbury over seven when fifth, saying at the time I thought a mile to a mile-and-a-quarter would be his game as he matured as a son of Dubawi out of winning mare Provenance (Galileo). He duly came out in September and won at long odds-on (not tipped because of the price) at Haydock over a mile. He had some big entries in the autumn but didn’t run again before sent out here to the Carnival. The fact he had entries in the G.2 Royal Lodge and G.1 Dewhurst Stakes suggest Charlie Appleby and the team think a fair bit of him and he is fancied to go in on his Carnival debut before a tilt at the UAE Derby come March. Get on at 7-4.
Albahr looks a good thing in the 7f UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Presented By Al Furjan By Azizi Stakes on the Dirt at 3.10, at least on paper. He did of course have that bad experience at the Breeders Cup in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf which hopefully won’t have left any mental scars. He won the G.1 Summer Stakes over a mile at Woodbine the last time he actually ran and is the clear form pick here off the back of that. Interestingly his year older full-brother Imperial Empire has been switched to Dirt and been winning round here in the winter; was sixth in the G.2 Al Maktoum Challenge here last week. With that in mind I am not that bothered that this is the first try on the Dirt for the chestnut gelding. Hopefully all will go smoothly at the stalls and I am on at 11-10.
At 3.45we have the Group Two Al Rashidiya Presented By Riviera Beachfront By Azizi Stakes over 1m1f. Good old Lord Glitters lines-up, I never seem to catch him right, but David O'Meara's gelding confirmed he retains plenty of ability when winning the Bahrain International Trophy in November – I didn’t back him! Art Du Val has to be respected given that William Buick has chosen him over Highland Avenue and Royal Fleet but he hasn’t won for a while and has seen the back end of Lord Glitters more than once; twice at last years Carnival. He has been rested over the summer with the Carnival in mind and may be one to watch after his race has blown away the cobwebs. The form of Highland Avenue tailed off somewhat last season and he has been gelded over the winter. I wonder if he has found his level though and isn’t quite a Group horse. Royal Fleet is the one most open to improvement as a lightly raced four-year-old and I noted on the Godolphin website Charlie Appleby saying “Royal Fleet has progressed through the handicap ranks and we are testing the water at this level. He has a profile that is going the right way and we feel that stepping up to nine furlongs could potentially produce more improvement.” He goes well fresh, from what little racing he has had, has a decent draw, and the extra furlong here should hold no fears the way he was winning over a mile last year. I am on at 6-1.
A couple I have tipped before go in the 4.20 the 7f Group Two Al Fahidi Fort Presented By Mina By Azizi Stakes but I have to be on Naval Crown. He was in with some of the best last year at times and other than a slightly disappointing effort on soft in the G.1 Jean Prat proved himself a decent consistent sort. Charlie Appleby said earlier this week “Naval Crown showed good, solid form as a three-year-old and has enjoyed a nice break ahead of the Carnival. He looks great and will obviously be very competitive if he runs up to his best form.” I think the seven furlongs suits him best and he is a strong fancy at the 11-8. La Barrosa ran well a couple of weeks ago and should go well again whilst and Of Legends won this race on his first start of the year last season but I still feel that flattered him and he will have to go some to double-up.
We are on the Dirt Track at 4.55 for the 6f Group Three Dubawi Stakes Presented By Riviera By Azizi Stakes. Canvassed won over track and trip twice last Carnival and finished off the campaign with a third place in the G.1 Golden Shaheen on World Cup night – I was on at 10-1. If the seven-year-old trained by six-time UAE champion trainer Doug Watson is in similar form this year he will win this. I have a bit of the 6-4. Al Tariq was sixth in the Golden Shaheen last year after a decent campaign as well and is the danger.
The lucky last T 5.30 is the 1m2f Aliyah By Azizi Conditions on the Dirt Track. Rebel’s Romance was mixing it with the best last winter winning two in the UK on the All-Weather in late 2020 before being shipped out to the middle-east and winning the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan, finishing fourth in the Saudi Derby and then back at Meydan winning the 1m1½f G.2 UAE Derby. He is four from five in his career and clearly has some talent. He has to give them all weight in this but is clear 7lb top-rated. It is the four-year-old's first appearance since Dubai World Cup Night when he won the Derby, he was in New York in the Summer for a run in the Belmont Stakes but never raced. Anywhere near his best after the layoff and he will beat this field hard held you would think. I have 5-4.Be lucky