Meydan - 11th February
Another Thursday, another cracking card at the Meydan Carnival. The weather has claimed most of the action in the UK this week, but there are no such issues in Dubai. 6 races on the card which kicks off at 2:30 with a Group 2 for the Arabian-breds. From what I am told, Rb Kinetic will probably win that, but my knowledge of Arabian-bred racing would fit on a very small piece of paper so I will leave it to the experts.
The first of 5 thoroughbred races is at 3:05 with the Emirates Skycargo Handicap over 1m4f on the turf. Godolphin have no less than 8 runners in this field so it’s important to pick the right colour cap. The horse I like is BRILLIANT LIGHT ridden by Pat Cosgrave (in a white cap), who finished 4th here last time out in a race won by Ya Hayati. Brilliant Light raced in rear on that day, sitting away from a strong pace and in truth did well to close to be 4th, beaten just under 5 lengths. All of the other horses who finished in the money that day raced more prominently than he did and as a result were able to get first run on Brilliant Light. The 3rd, Star Safari, reopposes here and is the choice of William Buick, but he doesn’t look the easiest ride and with more positive tactics, I expect Brilliant Light to reverse that form. Stall 14 is not as bad as it may seem on the turf track, as it will give his rider options and with a likely strong pace to aim at, Brilliant Light represents some good each-way value.
At 3:40 we have the Meydan trophy, also on the turf and this race has my strongest fancy of the night, MYSTICAL DAWN. Richard Mullen is an unusual booking for a Godolphin runner, but his knowledge of Meydan will be invaluable for this inexperienced colt. Mystical Dawn won a maiden on his debut at Newmarket in October, when he was backed into 15/8fav and charged out of the dip to get up in the final strides. This step up in trip is sure to suit this son of Sea-the-Stars and he looks some good value to get the better of stablemate, Secret Protector. William Buick has chosen Secret Protector, who was an impressive winner on the all-weather at Kempton in September, with 3 subsequent winners in behind. He looked very impressive, but on breeding, this will be the minimum trip he will need (By War Front, out of a Galileo mare) and he may struggle to keep pace with Mystical Dawn when the pace lifts. The race looks to be between the 2 of them and I think Mystical Dawn is some good value to overturn the short priced favourite.
My final selection also comes on the turf in the Al Rashidiya at 4:50. DREAM CASTLE stands out for me. He won this race in 2019 and was a close 2nd in last years renewal behind Barney Roy. He finished 3rd on his return to Meydan in a race won by Lord Glitters 3 weeks ago. Most of this field ran in that race, when the pace completely collapsed and the race fell into the laps of the closers. Lord Glitters and the 2nd, Zakouski, both closed rapidly in the straight, but in this smaller field, with no obvious pace to follow, it is unlikely to be run to suit them again. Dream Castle, with Frankie Dettori booked, is much more versatile in his run style and given his wealth of experience at Meydan, is some serious value at around 5/1 in the early markets.
3.05 Brilliant Light 0.5pt Each-Way
3.40 Mystical Dawn 1pt Win
4.50 Dream Castle 1pt Win