After another deluge of 18mm of rain at Sandown Park on Thursday, the weekend’s Imperial Cup card has been abandoned and that knocked out our only chance of a bet in the National Hunt sphere.
There are multiple flat options though, with Wolverhampton staging its Lincoln Trial and Listed Wulfruna Stakes and we have a tip in both, while it’s also Super Saturday in Dubai at Meydan as the track makes his final preparations for Dubai World Cup night on the 28th.
We have a few selections at Meydan, two of them in particular looking really good value, and we start with one in a trappy looking Listed race:
12.00 Meydan (Al Bastakiya – Listed Race) – YA HAYATI
This is a competitive Listed event on the dirt and one in which plenty of runners have potential, but patchy records for sure.
One of those is the promising filly Dubai Love who, if the form of her easy win here in January can be taken literally, really should win this but that was over a mile and she failed over this trip last time. Indeed, all of her other runs have been substandard and so we can probably take a chance on her not living up to her reputation.
Her Godolphin rival Ya Hayati, trained by Charlie Appleby rather than Saeed bin Suroor as the Irish Oaks entry is, has proven to be on a very steep upward curve having started at a lowly level.
He won a conditions race here last time, should go on from that, will enjoy this trip and could be decent value despite his wide draw and he gets the not under William Buick. Laser Show appears to be best of the rest.
1.35 Wolverhampton (Lincoln Trial Handicap) – FOX POWER
Taking into account his course and distance second when giving away weight in a conditions race last time, Richard Hannon’s Fox Power should prove to be too good for this field off his current handicap mark of 99 under top jock Silvestre de Sousa.
A winner here as a novice and a Listed scorer at Newcastle last year in the Burradon Stakes, Fox Power has proven himself not just in these conditions but also at a good level and it seems he has a handicap win in him before perhaps moving up in grade once again.
Wide margin Newcastle winner Red Bond may well prove to be very well handicapped, while he also obviously enjoys Tapeta, although his 8½-length win last time was the kind of success that often looks too good to be true and the 13lb rise he’s received could be enough therefore to anchor him.
Outsider Another Touch is worth considering for each-way purposes, but as a four-year-old from a top stable it’s fair to say more improvement is expected from Fox Power and he should be heading into the race with plenty of confidence from his yard.
2.20 Meydan (Jebel Hatta – Group 1) – MAGIC LILY
Most are expecting Godolphin to command this Group 1 race as they’ve often done in the past, with four of their five entrants dominating the betting this time around.
Spotify doesn’t seem to have what it takes to me, likewise Dream Castle, but in Barney Roy and Magic Lily there are two in the line-up who could yet prove to be top level performers in 2020.
Barney Roy, a Guineas runner-up and Group 1 winner in 2017 before his unsuccessful stint at stud, returned with aplomb over the course and distance in January but he did the same thing last season in England too without really going on. He’s also drawn wide here and could be vulnerable, especially to stablemate Magic Lily who even at five is progressing very nicely.
Her recent win at Group 2 level, especially the style of it, marked her out as a very good mare and with yet more progress to come she looks too big in the betting to ignore as her turn of pace could just be enough to score under Mickael Barzalona.
2.45 Wolverhampton (Lady Wulfruna Stakes – Listed Race) – HABUB
While heavy early favourite for the race Urban Icon has rubbed shoulders with some top types such as Mohaather and Space Blues along with finishing eighth in the 2000 Guineas, the truth is he’s been somewhat dragged along by such classy horses and hasn’t beaten them, nor really significantly improved.
With that in mind a chance can be taken at a nice price on Owen Burrows’ Habub instead. Hooded for the first time today, the five-year-old son of War Front has only had eight career races with no doubt plenty more yet to give, while his overall level of form so far puts him at least at the same quality as the jolly.
Should he take to the Tapeta surface OK, which on breeding he should, then he can get the better of Urban Icon and also Mark Johnston’s Cardsharp.
3.30 Meydan (Dubai City of Gold – Group 2) – DEFOE
In the hope that he’s a backable price on the day, Group 1 winner Defoe is taken to make a successful seasonal reappearance for the fourth year out of five.
Progressing all the time, Roger Varian’s lovely grey finally became a Group 1 winner when taking the Coronation Cup at Epsom last summer and, to prove it was no fluke, he doubled up in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot too with both wins coming over today’s mile-and-a-half distance.
Conditions are perfect for him and he is the proven horse in the field, so as long as his price isn’t too restrictive it’s Andrea Atzeni’s mount who gets the nod. Up and comer Pablo Escobarr rates next best ahead of the globetrotting Desert Encounter.