A cracker to kick off the card. Dubai sprinting phenom Ertijaal faces Blue Point who brings some outstanding UK form to the table from last season. The key here is the 5 furlong trip – while Ertijaal is 5-6 over it, Blue Point is yet to race over it and the feeling is that Ertijaal will have too much speed today.
The ultimate aim for both horses is the Grade 1 Al Quoz over 6f on World Cup Night – a trip over which Blue Point should be far more effective. Hit the Bid deserves an honourable mention for Curragh trainer Darren Bunyan but he meets Ertijaal the best part of a stone worse off than earlier in the carnival.
I’m expecting Ertijaal to prove too quick today but Blue Point to reverse the form on World Cup Night.
A trappy heat this. Galvanise couldn’t get it done with a perfect front running trip in a 9.5 furlong boat race last time out so he looks vulnerable down to 7 furlongs here.
Secret Ambition has won his last two on dirt and ran well on turf last week but sees himself racing off a career high mark of 91 here – that would usually be off-putting but the field he faces here looks so weak that he is far and away the most solid option to take this. Pirates Code would be dangerous loose on the lead but from stall 8 I don’t think he’ll get there.
Kimbear is still off a lenient mark back to handicaps but last time out was desperately disappointing, folding tamely when well fancied behind Boynton. He’s by far the most likely winner but does not look like one to steam into at the likely short price.
I’m going to give one final chance to Ravens Corner here – he was my horse to follow for the carnival before it started but he’s had buckets of issues – mainly with the starting gate. He gets Mullen back on today, which is a big advantage, and has been dropped 2lbs by the handicapper. He ran better than the bare result latest and if stepping up on that effort can hopefully give the hot pot fav a run for his money. At this stage I’m following him off and over the cliff edge.
Decent heat this – a Group 3 over 10 furlongs. Leshlaa was one of the most impressive handicap winners of the carnival on its last start and has earned a crack at this level for sure, but its hard to get away from the claims of Folkswood.
Back from Australia, where he put in three very solid efforts (2 in Grade 1’s) he was only four lengths behind the mighty Winx on one occasion. He’s proven fresh so that’s of no concern here and is well drawn to attack – he was last seen in Meydan making Decorated Knight pull out all the stops in a Grade 1 – solid form.
I’m expecting him to print his ticket to World Cup night here
You could make a case for a lot of these. Noah from Goah is classy but was sh*te last time out. Bay of Poets has decent runs behind him but running to a beatable standard both times. Dream Castle is running out of excuses and the step back to a mile wont help. Whisky Barron is top rated and was top class in South Africa but your guess is as good as mine if he can produce it here. Championship looked top class last season but has had issues and didn’t look the cousin of the same horse on its reappearance.
Given all stated above I m going to take a chance on Janoobi here – given a good report from De Kock before running a cracker from the front latest he was only just touched off by a decent type. The step up to a mile should hold no problems and in a race with not much pace about I’m hoping he can nick a freebie in front and prove hard to peg back at an each-way price.
Classic Emperor needs to win this to get to the Godophin Mile, and while that could be a tip in itself, its Sha Tin handicap form is very difficult to weigh up in the context of a mark of 103. It’s hard to have too much confidence in him.
Drafted beat a subsequent winner last time out, but may have been flattered with that runner-up not staying and has been lumped with an extra 8lbs today, which could prove enough to halt its winning run. The ever-in For Bin Ghadayer runs two here, and while Capezzano is respected first time up for him and is the pick of Barzalona, I think the second string Claim the Roses has a lot going for him here.
He’s seven lengths to find with Drafted but was caught very wide that day and gets a handy swing in the weights. Much better drawn today, he looks the value to leave that form well behind.
Gold Star, Walton Street and Eynhallow ran 1-2-4 last time out in a blanket finish in a highly eventful race. Walton Street seemed to get the best of the trip so for that reason would look a shade vulnerable. Gold Star ran up the arse of two in the straight and still managed to get his head in front but arguably most unlucky that day was Eyanhallow who pulled hard the whole way round and was badly blocked off himself. He’s 3lbs better-off today and better drawn, and with a clearer run can get its head in front.