It is Carnival time again and Triple G is once more concentrating on Meydan and the sixth meeting of the Dubai Carnival 2019. I am having a go in three of the handicaps and unusually leaving the Black Type races alone.
As has been the case all year, and not that surprising if you think about it as their channel has the TV rights, SkyBet was first up with the prices but shop around as they aren't always the biggest.
My first interest is in the two-mile Al Naboodah Honeywell Partnership Handicap on the Turf track at 3.05. Red Galileo is the obvious pick and is feared but I think Dubhe might have more to give at this trip. By Dubawi out of an Irish Oaks winner he should be better than his current mark of 98. If you watch his run here 14 days ago over 1m4f you will note he wasn’t knocked about running on out the back having been off track for 272 days and will surely come on for that run plus improvement is still likely as such a lightly raced 4yo. Buick is back in the saddle, rode him to his two victories to date, and I have taken a chance at 5-2.
They go on the Turf again at 4.15 for the 1m1f Al Naboodah Travel Handicap. Nordic Lights was perhaps a little to revved up, took keen hold, trying to make all in the Azizi Star Handicap on the 17th January over 1m2f here. He still managed to hold them all off other than stablemate First Nation and I think compensation awaits in this with William Buick taking over in the saddle. I have a bit of the 11-4 with Hills.
It’s 7f on the Turf course for the Al Naboodah Cargo Handicap at 6.00. Five-year-old Mubtasim makes his debut for Godolphin out of the Charlie Appleby yard having previously been in the ownership of Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum and with William Haggas. The gelding showed some form at two but never really progressed perhaps as well as would have been hoped for, was rated as high as 109, and is certainly interesting if only as to why Godolphin now have him. I can only assume they must think they can win a race or two with him and have taken a chance at 5-1 that Appleby has worked some magic with him.
Note the two big races of the day sadly have un-backable short priced favourites. The Group Three UAE 2000 Guineas Sponsored By Al Naboodah Ashok Leyland Partnership Stakes over a mile on the Dirt track is at 3.40. Walking Thunder is unbeaten in three runs here, most recently storming (sorry couldn’t resist) clear to win by an impressive nine lengths in the Trial over track and trip last month – my tip Royal Marine back in fourth; I can’t have him at 4-5 though. The danger would appear to be Moshaher who was an impressive winner on the 5th January over C&D but that was only a Maiden and this will require much more.
At 4.50 they face 1m1f 110 yards for the Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge R2 Sponsored By Al Naboodah Allied Products Division Stakes. North America won Round One over a mile very easily and is duly odds-on for this over slightly further. The gelding won G.1 R.3 of the challenge last year having placed in the earlier rounds before finishing a disappointing last in the G.1 Dubai World Cup; he looks un-opposable but is also un-backable at the 1-2.