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Like many of these turf races at Meydan, the Jumeirah Classic is dominated by Godolphin with the returning NEW SCIENCE my best bet on the card this Friday. He was impressive on debut when winning at Yarmouth before finding the Chesham at Royal Ascot a little too much on his second start for Charlie Appleby. The son of Lope De Vega got back on track at Ascot in July before ending the season in fourth place in group company at Longchamp last September. He’s still lightly raced and like many of these Appleby three-year-olds, he has room for improvement and is my opening selection at Meydan.
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Despite not having a pedigree for dirt, HYPOTHETICAL raced extremely well here at Meydan last season having finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup and was also second in this race last year. Mickael Barzalona has so much tactical awareness on this dirt track and with him riding and his mount having more fitness under his belt, I think he can secure the Firebreak on this occasion.
Hypothetical should represent value against Prince Eiji with Andrea Atzeni now in the saddle for Doug Watson and Sheikh Obaid. Atzeni for me hasn’t shown great qualities as a dirt rider, especially at the gate and if he misses the kick, the favourite will be up against it and have any chance of victory ruined.
The highly anticipated Meydan debut of HOT ROD CHARLIE takes place on Friday with all eyes on the Doug O’Neill trained runner in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. The Kentucky Derby third and Belmont Stakes second is making his UAE debut in preparation for the Dubai World Cup in March with William Buick booked to ride. The Pennsylvania Derby winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic fourth clearly stands out against this opposition and should score from a good inside draw with Everfast and Kafoo set to chase him home.
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The Al Bastakiya Trial looks a competitive affair with Doug O’Neill saddling Khantaro D’Oro on his UAE debut after a second-place finish at Santa Anita over Christmas. William Buick has decided to ride Secret Image with James Doyle on King Of Conquest, who stayed on to finish a good second on dirt here at Meydan on New Years’ Day. However, VIOLENT JUSTICE was impressive when winning his maiden by over 10-lengths at Jebel Ali and can improve further to score for Doug Watson.
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The Godolphin team were a little surprised by the victory of Pevensey Bay in the Cape Verdi but she might be up against it in the closing Balanchine on Friday. Soft Whisper returned a little lame after that race for Saeed Bin Suroor with my preference for Charlie Appleby’s CREATIVE FLAIR under William Buick. She won at Newbury last June before running good races at Chantilly, Saratoga and Belmont and a return to this trip looks perfect on Friday. I have a feeling the Appleby team are about to take off at the Carnival and I’m hoping this filly can end a good day for his team on Friday evening.
Best bets at Meydan on Friday:
*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
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