This interesting contest for three -year-old fillies pits some local maiden form against a few good-looking Godolphin imports from the UK scene.
It was déjà vu watching Rayya pull 10 lengths clear of her opposing maiden field on debut. Much like Polar River did for Doug Watson a few years ago, she looks destined to go onto bigger and better things.
Unlike some of her rivals the dirt is of no concern for Raya and she’s drawn in stall one which should allow her to lead on the rail. If she matches that debut performance, we can’t see anything pegging her back.
This race revolves around Kimbear for us, he’s been given a potentially lenient mark of 104 and has moved from the US, where he was mixing it with some proper Group One horses for champion trainer Watson.
These imports can need a run however and with that in mind it could pay to look for an each way alternative against him. Mountain Hunter is obviously respected, but Layl ran a cracker on return in November and is still well treated on best form off a mark of 105.
He could well be a danger to all in this one.
Team Talk is fascinating, but he’s surely best watched in this one as he’s conceding weight all round and has been off the track for 14 months.
Light the Lights was an eye catcher in a Grade Three at Meydan last week and his trainer Mike de Kock stressed the run was needed for the horse to achieve full fitness.
With that effort under its belt and dropping to a handicap here, he’s simply the one they all have to beat for us.
The now 12-year-old Reynaldothewizard has won the last this renewals of this race and while it would be fantastic to see him make it a fabulous foursome, we have to look elsewhere for a bet.
Muarrab looked like he’d lost its way last season with a string off sub-par efforts, but looked back to his best when winning the trial for this contest by six lengths on its reappearance. He’s had plenty of costly reverses in his career though and doesn’t look like one to trust at a short price.
Our preference is for the unexposed Ravens Corner – who is two from three since moving to UAE connections and they’ve been raving about this horse in recent interviews and stable tours.
We don’t read too much into stable jockey Richard Mullen riding Reynaldo (how could he not) and we reckon this horse still has bags of improvement to come. This is by far its toughest test to date, but looks a fair price in the market to take a chance on too.
Faatinah is a very talented Australian sprinter, but has to concede weight to everyone and has surely bigger targets later in the carnival. Baccarat was a good winner of this race last year off a similar mark, but it speaks volumes that stable jockey William Buick desserts him to ride the more unexposed Van Der Decken.
He’s off the track for a year, but these are the types of horses that Charlie Appleby excels with and off a mark of 103, there should be much more to come from this one.
The highly-tried Dream Castle is a fascinating runner here and trainer Saeed bin Suroor reports that to be working very well.
He’ll have to be on his toes from gate 13, but has plenty of tactical speed to get him into good position. While he conceding weight, this is a top class group horse on his day and the break he’s had might just be the making of him.
Salsabeel, another first time gelding for Appleby, looks to have a decent mark of 105 and should be feared the most.