Horse racing tips: 7 who’ll make you a fan if all goes to plan at Meydan

Here's the beasts we're backing in the Middle East.

Meydan Dubai


12:00 Meydan – Zabardast

A listed race with no small sum of £135k in prize money set to be distributed between a group of 3 year olds which (with all honesty) are probably not worth such a rich sum of cash. Make no mistakes, this is a puzzle and the gut feeling is that if you ran this five times you would get five different winners. We are offering an extra place to help (no offence, but we think you’ll need it!).

Commanding has looked to be crying out for this type of trip having ground out a win over 1 mile on Jan 9th but the suspicion is that this is because he is just a bit slow and was awful on his last start. Laser Show has two ways of running but given his trend has been good-awful-good-awful he’s due a good race from a good draw right? (Not for me!). Ya Hayati is the flier of the race, A Dubawi out of a Street Sense mare should relish this but we’ve never seen him on it and gets laboured with an awful draw in 14.

Finally we get to my idea of the winner: Zabardast has been laboured with crippling car park draws on the last two occasions and has been massively eye catching in defeat. Stall 11 is somewhat better today and I’m trusting Barzalona to get this out and get a good posse. If he does its game on and he’s the one to beat.

meydan dubai

12:35 Meydan – Ibn Malik

As you’ll see with a few of the later races in the card, the Saudi card last week has turned this race into a bit of a bag of sh*te for the grade and prize money.

Bochart has been one of the stories of the carnival so far, going up 17lb on ratings in two wide margin wins. They’ve been achieved by getting soft front running rail trips, which can always lead to big wins around here. If he gets the same again it’s race over but there should be enough pace pressure to keep him honest.

I’ll take him on with Ibn Malik. He’s far more battle tested than Bochart and the form of his 2nd and 3rd on his last two starts is proper group form and really stands the test.

13:10 Meydan – Space Blues

Not much depth to this race at all and plenty are in here to make up the numbers.

To keep it short and sweet, Space Blues is a cut above these. His form behind Advertise and Too Darn Hot is far and away the best form on offer and he should have little difficulty accounting for this bunch and punching his ticket to the Al Quoz. He’ll not be much of a price so the 11/4 to win both this and the Al Quoz on March 28th looks the play.

13:45 Meydan – Secret Ambition

In a race that seemingly has more pretenders than contenders, Secret Ambition and Kimbear have met twice over course and distance and are currently 1-1. The form of those two races is above what anything else is bringing to the table here (mostly handicap or turf form) and they really should be left to fight it out.

Secret Ambition lost absolutely nothing in defeat behind Capezanno last time out in a race not run to suit and just looks the more solid of the two as Kimbear (when admittedly upped to an unsuitable trip) shat the bed on his last start and now just has something to prove.

14:20 Meydan – Barney Roy

This looks a penalty kick for Dubai Turf-bound Barney Roy in what is one of the softer turf grade 1s you’ll see until the St Alary in the summer.

Spotify was put in his place by Ghaiyyath last time out and wants upping in trip not a drop (he’s running in the wrong race) while Dream Castle is firmly held on his run behind Barney on the 30th of January. If the short price on offer is not for you then the double of tonight and the Dubai turf looks to offer a bit more value.

14:55 Meydan – Matterhorn

The UAE pattern committee will have to have look at this and come up with some excuse as to how they can continue to call this a grade 1. A small matter of £270k to be dished out to a field of basically handicappers will be some touch for the connections of the winner.

Matterhorn is entitled to improve from his dirt debut and has turf form to easily account for this field but preference is for Military Law who looks a decent recruit to dirt. He’s only had three starts on the surface and is improving rapidly, winning a course and distance handicap two starts ago and then finding only Benbatl too good on Feb 6th in a grade 2 (a decent yardstick was well beaten into 3rd).

He looks by far the more solid option and should potentially have even more improvement to come. He should be fully cranked for this as realistically he hasn’t a chance in hell of winning the World Cup in a months’ time. “This is his Gold Cup”; to quote an overused cliché.

15:30 Meydan – Jalmoud

This is the race of the card.

Defoe comes here with one and probably two eyes firmly on the Sheema Classic on World Cup night. He hasn’t run since July, was well beaten on his seasonal reappearance last year and Postponed (similar profile) for the same connections was beaten at odds on in this race a few years ago. At the likely prices it looks worth opposing him here for something with the fitness edge.

Desert Encounter has some good form but his run behind Ghaiyyath on Feb 20th was pure rubbish so he looks best avoided as well. Pablo Escobarr ran a decent race in defeat on January 2nd and looks sure to go well. I couldn’t put you off backing him but I’m going to take a flier here and back Jalmoud. He had some top-class form in the Europe last year and judging from a recent interview trainer Charlie Appleby has not given up on him by any means.

He ran awfully in a handicap on Feb 13th but had excuses and wasn’t given a hard time and its really interesting that they are persevering and pitch him straight into a grade 2. He should be a fine each-way price and looks worthy of a wager with the front of the market looking vulnerable.

Find a full range of odds from Meydan over on

What do you think?