We have a fantastic card at Meydan today so I have provided a review of each race below together with a selection/next best.
2:35 MEYDAN - OUD METHA STAKES
We have a small field for this rated conditions contest but it is still a fascinating contest. The market is currently headed by the Argentinian raider, RUDY TRIGGER (13/8) who has an official rating of 110 having landed a G2 on his last start in his native country. I must admit that I don't know an awful lot about racing in Argentina but his race times have been extremely strong and his work in Dubai has been eye catching. I am reliably informed that he has speed in abundance especially from the gate and the plan will be to keep it simple and lead this lot from pillar to post. If Cristina Montoya manages to break in front then he should have every chance of stealing the win especially as his closest market rival, TAKING NAMES has developed an issue with the stalls in recent starts. I know that Doug and the team have been working extensively on rectifying that issue since the disappointing performance last month but if he skips a beat today in this field, then any chance he has of winning will be gone. Outside of the top two in the market, we have a couple of horses dropping in trip who will be staying on late in the straight. Their chances will largely depend on whether anything has managed to pressure RUDY TRIGGER early. The one who may prove to be overpriced is AL MOOHAAJIM (14/1). He pressed a very strong pace at Jebel Ali on his penultimate start (win time 1:10) before finishing 4th over this CD the last day (held up that time). If Fresu looks to go forward today and sits a stride or two off the favourite then he may be in the prime position to challenge and may sneak a 2nd or 3rd but he's probably one to be backing with an extra place.
SELECTION: RUDY TRIGGER (NB)
NB: AL MOOHAAJIM
3:10 MEYDAN - JUMEIRAH CLASSIC
I think it is fair to say that this race is all about NEW SCIENCE (2/7) who is a very heavy favourite for this contest. He is obviously held in high regard by Charlie and at times last year he looked like a very precocious type with his two defeats coming with cut in the ground. Charlie has won 3 of the last 4 renewals of this race and at the weights, NEW SCIENCE should be almost impossible to beat if ready to rock first time out. As far as the rest of the field are concerned, SOVEREIGN PRINCE got the better of both MR PROFESSOR and SED MAARIB the last day in the trial for this race. He did however get a dream trip that day and whilst he was clearly the best horse on the day, I do think that this trip may stretch him slightly and therefore SED MAARIB in particular may have a good chance of reversing that form.
SELECTION: NEW SCIENCE
NB: SED MAARIB
3:45 MEYDAN - FIREBREAK STAKES
This is without doubt one of the most competitive races on the card and it promises to be an absolute cracker. The current favourite is TUZ (11/4) who won a listed contest over this CD on his last start and this has been his target since then. I understand that he is one of the best work horses in the barn and Seemer has targeted this race to good effect in the past. However, on past form, there is a strong reason to oppose him as HYPOTHETICAL (4/1) comprehensively beat him in a handicap this time last year. Whilst HYPOTHETICAL'S comeback run last time out was very underwhelming, I know that better is expected today but given his running style he is going to need a strong gallop to chase which isn't beyond the realms of possibility given that we have a lot of 6 furlong and 7 furlong horses in here that are stepping up in trip. One such horse is, PRINCE EIJI (3/1) who ran an absolutely blinder on his debut for Doug Watson when finishing 2nd behind KAFOO (runs later on the card). The two pulled miles clear of the third that day and whilst this will be a very different test, I think Doug is quietly confident in his ability to take it in his stride. Finally, at a big price, we have DESSMAN (25/1). This horse was beaten out of sight by stablemate TUZ on his seasonal reappearance but he was expected to need the run that day. He is an American import and they always take time to acclimatise but some of his US form is incredibly strong and if he takes a step forward today, he could be bang there.
NB: TUZ + DESSMAN
4:20 MEYDAN - AL MAKTOUM CHALLENGE
People around the world will be tuning in for this race solely to see what HOT ROD CHARLIE (1/2) can do. Following the retirement of KNICKS GO this horse is one of only a handful of horses who may be capable of beating LIFE IS GOOD and they are very likely to class in the World Cup. However, if that race is to be a contest, then HOT ROD CHARLIE simply has to go and win this today and he needs to win very well. In truth he won't find a better opportunity. Whilst KAFOO (13/2) is a precocious type and is unexposed, he clearly doesn't have the same profile as the favourite and the rest of the field are all well below his level. I would expect him to win and win well but make no mistake, he will still face a massive task when he encounters LIFE IS GOOD who for me is one of the best horses I have ever seen.
SELECTION: HOT ROD CHARLIE
5:30 MEYDAN - BALANCHINE
We end the card with a G2 race on the turf for the fillies and mares. The first thing to note here is that Charlie Appleby has won the last 3 renewals of this contest and Godolphin have won 4 of the last 5 so it is clearly a race they target heavily. Today they are mob handed and have 6 entries going to post in a field of just 10! The main hope for the home team is CREATIVE FLAIR (6/4) who has re-camped to Dubai after a disappointing campaign in America at the end of last season. Prior to that however, her form in Europe was strong and we have to assume that she has only remained in training because Charlie and Co want to win a group race with her. If that is the case then you'd imagine she will be dialled up for this contest and will get plenty of assistance from her stablemates along the way. As far as the rest of the field are concerned, most of them are going to struggle to reverse the Cape Verdi form with PEVENSEY BAY (4/1) who got an ice cold ride from Peslier that day. I am a huge fan of Japanese horses and they are seemingly always underestimated, especially by European punters. She was value that day for even further than the winning margin and if she gets a similar pace scenario this afternoon and can get a clean trip through, she will be the biggest danger to CREATIVE FLAIR in the finish.
SELECTION: CREATIVE FLAIR (NAP)
NB: PEVENSEY BAY