The Meydan Carnival is upon us and we’re all set here in the office. Some top class flat dirt and turf racing on the horizon, with over £100K prize money in place for every race so expect big fields, competitive action and best odds guaranteed on all carnival racing!
All roads lead to the World Cup night on March 31st and the €10 million Dubai World Cup – big cash! On that note, let’s get going….
Short favourites in 16 runner handicaps are generally not the way to make money from punting but Ertijaal looks such a cert here it’s hard to see him getting beaten. A facile winner of this race for the last 2 years off a mark of 108 and 116 (only 2 lbs lower than today) he has no less than nine of today’s opposition racing from outside the handicap. Considering he’s proven in these conditions giving weight away its hard to see it getting chinned barring accidents. The rest look to be playing for places but Final Venture for Paul Midgley was a winner first time out here last year and had a good prep at Newcastle last week. I d expect to see him go well here before hopefully finding an Ertijaal free race in the coming weeks.
A tricky handicap in which Alabaster looks to be favoured. He was third in a grade 3 here when last seen and the 102 mark looks fair. He hasn’t looked the most straight forward at times however and at an each way price I think it’s worth taking a flyer on Ply for the bin Ghadayer barn. Last seen winning at Kempton in November when in the care of Roger Charlton, he was winning for the third time on the spin on that occasion and didn’t look like it had reached the peak of its improvement. This trainer excels with these ex-UK types and while you are assuming his suitability to dirt it should be a big enough price to take a gamble. What can help here is a blistering early pace that we should get from Frankyfourfingers and Active Spirit at the head of affairs.
Light the Lights won this first time up last year but has been landed with gate 15 which is a death sentence round here. Emotionless has class but is starting to look frustrating and Benbatl showed some very good form at three years old but I think it speaks volumes that William Buick rides Bay of Poets here. He looks the type to improve from three to four and while he has his quirks I don’t think hes in any way short of talent. Charlie Appleby is obviously no stranger to training winners on the turf here and he certainly looks worth siding with here – Emotionless to take this one.
A fascinating heat here. Thunder Snow has the class here after mixing it with the best European milers all years; and don’t forget he was two from two on the dirt here last season. He ll have to be at his best here though as he faces battle hardened dirt milers in Heavy Metal and North America. North America was two from two against Heavy Metal before both bombed out in the Godolphin mile after “interesting” rides. While Heavy Metal has the benefit of a prep this year I think he would need both North America and Thunder Snow to underperform to win. I’m siding with North America here to confirm superiority over Heavy Metal – his trainer has given a positive update in a recent stable tour and the 8 draw should allow him to track the race in 2nd or 3rd, I m expecting him to kick on at the bend and prove too tough to peg back.
A 16 runner handicap here with no less than five from Godolphin lining up. The market can often be very informative of what’s expected from them. I think they could all be playing second fiddle to Mike De Kock’s Noah From Goah. A Grade 1 winner in South Africa he ran very well in two Grade 2’s here last year and gets his first go in a handicap here today. He has to concede weight all round but with a good draw and Christophe Soumillion on board I think he’ll go very well here.
Walton Street sticks out here with a good draw and potentially a very lenient mark of 98 – carrying just 8 stone 5lbs. This Cape Cross gelding won its first two starts before not staying 14 furlongs at Goodwood last time out. Still extremely unexposed, this horse has the potential to develop to a much higher mark as the year goes on.
15.05 – Ertijaal @ 4/6
15.40 – Ply @ 12/1
16.15 – Emotionless @ 6/1
16.50 – North America @ 5/2
17.25 – Noah From Goah @ 10/1
18.00 – Walton Street @ 15/8
* All prices correct at time of posting