It is very much the calm before the storm here in the UK with just about everybody’s minds on the Cheltenham Festival. They is a fair amount of action should you choose to get involved but my eyes are elsewhere.
They race at Meydan in the penultimate meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival; Saturday is Super Saturday! It is a decent seven-race card with a Listed heat, three Group 3’s, a Group 2 and two Group 1’s to enjoy. A few Bookies priced-up nice and early NRNB and I am having a go in all 7 races.
Dubai Carnival Super Saturday at Meydan racecourse
It’s a perfect meeting for a Saturday afternoon punt as the get underway at midday out time with the Listed 1m1½f Al Bastakiya Sponsored By Arabian Adventures on the Dirt track. El Patriota won the Al Bastakiya Trial coming wide and late with Vagner Leal not exactly hard at work in the saddle. Speight'spercomete was second and there is no obvious reason to think he can reverse the form. Panadol won a maiden last month at one of the Saturday meetings with a frontrunning performance skipping clear of the final turn. Barzalona rides again and similar tactics are expected though stall 12 makes it a little harder and this is a step-up of course. Endiffa was s third and second in the heats mentioned above so a line through him, strictly speaking, favours Panadol but as both of these will want to front run, I think they may cut each other's throats and set it up for El Patriota to pick them off down the run-in. I have 11-8 NRNB taken on Thursday.
We are on the Turf at 12.35 for the Group Two 1m4f Dubai City Of Gold Sponsored By Emirates Holidays. Walton Street has been a warm order for this in the build-up following the geldings impressive victory in the Listed Dubai Racing Club Classic over track and trip in January. He had Dubai Future beat fair and sqaure that day and was giving him a couple of pounds, they race off levels in this; Desert Fire fifth and Communique twelfth. I took 4-5 NRNB earlier this week and for me he is the banker of the afternoon.
Back to the Dirt track at 1.10 for the Group Three 6f Mahab Al Shimaal Sponsored By Emirates Skywards. A proper competitive sprint this with several in with chances. Doug Watson saddles the market principles with Canvassed having won a track and trip handicap earlier in the carnival perhaps his main hope. Premier Star won a couple of sprints in America but the hustle and bustle of a relatively big-field sprint like this will be a new experience. Bochart is a Meydan regular and has to be respected whilst Good Effort put one in in the G.3 Dubawi Stakes when fourth but will need more here. Important Mission has been running well without winning throughout the carnival, third, second, second, and off levels here might finally get a very well-deserved victory. Was giving Canvassed weight when second to him in February and was a close second in the G.3 Al Shindagha Sprint, the likes of Gladiator King and Bochart behind, last time. The wide draw aint great but at 5-1 NRNB he is worth a punt.
At 1.45 they face a mile on the Dirt for the Group Three Burj Nahaar Sponsored By Emirates SkyCargo. North America is the obvious pick on ratings but he hasn’t been seen in over a year and only raced twice since 2019; you have to take fitness of the nine-year-old on trust and the fact he retains the old ability. Blown By Wind was beat as the stalls opened in R.2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge totally missing the break but he had won the G.3 Jebel Ali Mile before that, eased out of the stalls that day and coming from last to win. He was third on his first start here, blew the start there as well, back in January. Mickael Barzalona takes over in the saddle and if the former Mark Johnston inmate gets out of the stalls oaky - you'll know your fate early - he might be able to get into this late-on. I took the standout 7-1 NRNB with Power each-way Thursday; easy does it early Mickael!
It’s the 1m1f Group One Jebel Hatta Sponsored By Emirates Airline on the Turf at 2.20. Lord Glitters has been rolling back the years recently but is too short for me and I just can’t see him winning this. The main reason is that I really fancy Al Suhail. Not seen since winning a Listed race at HQ in July having disappointed in the Guineas before that, at his best he would surely have too much for this field. Charlie Appleby wouldn’t have pitched him in here is he didn’t think the four-year-old could make an impact and with so few miles on the clock there ie every chance of more to come yet. I am on at 7-4 NRNB.
At 2.55 they face 1m2f on the Dirt for the Group One Al Maktoum Challenge R3 Sponsored By Emirates Airline. Salute The Soldier won R.2 last month (was third in R.1) but it has to be said he had a beauty of a trip tracking Capezzano on that occasion and the extra half a furlong today is not certain to suit. Thegreatcollection was second in R.2 (was also second in R.1) and is as consistent as the day is long but may be playing for place money again - these two are clearly closely matched. Secret Ambition has some decent track form but the one time he tried this trip back in 2019 in the Nad Al Sheba Classic he went out like a light turning for home. Last year Roman Rosso was fourth in R.2 and fifth in this and returned from eleven months off the track with decent fourth in Round 1 over an inadequate mile. I was surprised to see Paddy Power got 20-1 and I have that each-way NRNB. The run back in last January will have blown away the cobwebs and he has a great chance of placing up in this field, and wouldn’t be the biggest surprise winner in my eyes.
The lucky last is the Group Three 6f Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint Sponsored By emirates.com on the Turf at 3.30. Royal Crusade doesn’t have many miles on the clock and has looked pretty decent in each of his five runs. Having mixed it with some good’uns at two, second in the G.2 Champagne Stakes to Threat he only run twice at three. The colt won the G.3 Prix de Ris-Orangis at Deauville over the six there when last seen in July with subsequent G.1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes winner Glen Shiel behind. He was a fair sixth in the G.1 Commonwealth Cup before that in June only his only other start of last season. Open to improvement yet he looks the class act here and I have the 2-1 NRNB.