‘Super Saturday’ extravaganza at Meydan – six Group races on a star-studded card as the cream of Godolphin’s firepower go on trial for the Dubai World Cup fixture. Read Neil Morrice’s preview below.
Meydan – Super Saturday
WITH the notable exception of Dubai World Cup night this is as good as it gets at Meydan, with a mouth watering card full of top class racing including two Group Ones.
In the Al Maktoum Challenge (G1) on dirt the spotlight falls on THUNDER SNOW as he continues his build up to a bid for back-to-back successes in the World Cup at the end of the month. The Saeed Bin Suroor-trained 5yo will be having his first outing since finishing third to Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.
He rightly dominates the market at a shade of odds against, but will probably not be at his peak suggesting there are better betting opportunities elsewhere.
Group 1 Jebel Hatta
Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (Group 1) (Turf)
1M 209Y – 17:30 – Race 7
Godolphin might well have left the best until last as few horses have impressed as much at the Carnival than DREAM CASTLE.
The 5yo lost his way after getting to within three lengths of Churchill in the 2,000 Guineas two years ago but with his two race unbeaten record this year he has rediscovered his zenith for Saeed Bin Suroor and Christophe Soumillon.
There was an element of panache in the way he dismissed Leshlaa and Blair House last time.
Charlie Appleby is mob handed with four of the ten starters with WOOTTON the one I expect to fare best. On the evidence of the formbook he has a fair bit to find but his homework for this has been of a very high standard, making him a big danger to the Nap.
Appleby has engaged James Doyle for LOXLEY who enjoyed abundant success in Europe last year, signing off with a Sterling effort to chase home Alignement in a Group 2 at Paris Longchamp. This fellow has also had a buzz about him at trackwork in the mornings and can get into the argument.
Neil’s Predicted Finish
1st – Dream Castle
2nd – Wootton
3rd – Loxley
4th – Blair House
5th – Century Dream
Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint
Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint Sponsored by Arabian Adventures (Group 3) (Turf)
5F 212Y – 15:10 – Race 3
Charlie Appleby had no hesitation in nominating BLUE POINT as the horse he was looking forward to most at the Carnival and this imposing individual didn’t fail to live up to that billing when annihilating the useful Faatinah on his only start.
He powered five lengths clear over that 1000m but can now show he’s just ass effective over 1200m. Admittedly his best form in Europe came with a success in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot but he acquitted himself well in the July Cup and was considered the Godolphin ‘good thing’ of the meeting when ruled out of the Group 1 Sprint here on Dubai World Cup night by a minor nose bleed.
For sheer tenacity HIT THE BID gets into the argument. He made MAZZINI pull out all the stops in a 1000m handicap and is weighted to comfortably reverse those placings. He is a tenacious battler but lacks the class of Blue Point.
FAATINAH is surely running for minor money after his humbling by Blue Point last month but the smart form over 1200 metres of EKHTIYAAR, admittedly in handicap company, put him firmly into the mix.
Neil’s Predicted Finish
1st – Blue Point
2nd – Hit The Bid
3rd – Ekhiyaar
4th – Faatinah
5th – Mazzini
Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold
Dubai City of Gold Sponsored by Emirates Skycargo (Group 2) (Turf)
1M 3F 216Y – 16:20 – Race 5
From a South African perspective all eyes will be on the former Vodacom Durban July winner MARINARESCO who Mike De Kock is easing towards World Cup night and will look for progression on the seven-year-old’s third outing at the Carnival.
Bernard Fayd’Herbe has expressed satisfaction in the progress of the blinkered gelding but a stumbling block is the ultra strong Godolphin contingent, headed by the Charlie Appleby-trained OLD PERSIAN.
Although he hasn’t raced since finishing fifth to Kew Gardens in the St Leger, this attractive colt goes to post with a lot of stable confidence behind him, having given off some very positive signals in his preparatory work.
SPOTIFY has an unblemished two from two record at the Carnival and is going the right way, but he had to battle to scrape home from RACING HISTORY in a Group 3 last time and now moves up another 400 metres on the distance ladder.
DESERT ENCOUNTER comes into the argument for David Simcock on the strength of his victory over this trip at Woodbine. The hooded seven-year-old appears to be better than ever and should not be underestimated.
Neil’s Predicted Finish
1st – Old Persian
2nd – Racing History
3rd – Marinaresco
4th – Spotify
5th – Desert Encounter