The flat is back and it’s back with a rather large bang!
It’s Dubai World Cup night on Saturday and the quality of some of the races on the card is exceptional. Unbeaten Manobo goes in the Dubai Gold Cup, while Hod Rod Charlie can step up and put some pressure on the excellent Life Is Good in the big one.
It’s the first day of the British turf flat racing season too. The Brocklesby gets us under way and early indications are that Richard Hannon’s Persian Force is fancied. The Lincoln is the main feature, also Guineas winner Mother Earth makes her reappearance in Ireland.
We’ve a bust afternoon of punting, beginning with a long shot in the UAE.
12.20 Meydan (Godolphin Mile – Group 2) – DESERT WISDOM
The Godolphin Mile is run on the dirt and is worth well over £400,000 to the winner.
Former Charlie Appleby horse Al Nefud can take another step forward and Soliste Thunder looks fair value, but locally-trained four-year-old Desert Wisdom is just way too big at around 16/1 and can be chanced to small stakes.
Drawn OK in 6, the son of Dubawi can lay up which is often needed on this track, but was excellent last time too from off the pace and there should be plenty of that in this high-quality event. Adrie de Vries rides.
1.35 Meydan (Al Quoz Sprint – Group 1) – MAN OF PROMISE
It says a lot when Jersey Stakes and Group 1 British Champions Sprint winner Creative Force is Godolphin’s second choice, but there is good reason for that. Their Man Of Promise is rather making up for lost time just now and he’s doing it with great aplomb.
After beating the smart Lazuli easily in January, Man Of Promise monstered a very high-quality field on Super Saturday last time and now looks one of the leading six-furlong turf sprinters in the world.
He’s on the right side of the track under William Buick and can see off his pal, along with Happy Romance, Suesa and Emaraaty Ana.
1.50 Doncaster (Cammidge Trophy – Listed Race) – GARRUS
Charlie Hills is excellent with sprinters and his Garrus is a high-class one indeed.
Versatile, he can win in various conditions and over five or six furlongs but the latter is the distance for the Cammidge Trophy and it looks ideal for him now.
The form of his Group 3 win in France is impressive. Based on the horses he beat an argument can be made for him being rated 115+ in time. Marco Ghiani takes the ride who is an outside chance for the jockey’s title this year.
Diligent Harry is feared most, ahead of Bielsa and the filly Mo Celita who may just want it a bit softer.
2.40 Kempton (Queen’s Prize Handicap) – BANDINELLI
On a big day for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin in Dubai, they have various runners with big chances back home including this Bandinelli in a competitive Class 2 handicap.
Drawn on the inside under Jack Mitchell, Bandinelli can get into a good position and he’s also a course and distance winner with very, very solid and progressive form overall.
Auriferous is of some interest too, as is Moliwood.
2.45 Meydan (Dubai Golden Shaheen – Group 1) – EASTERN WORLD
Charlie Appleby, the main man on the flat these days, may well be left to rue what might have been with this Eastern World.
Favourite for last year’s Lincoln, he didn’t quite hit the expected heights on the turf and was sent to Dubai’s Ahmad bin Harmash over the winter.
Eastern World took well to dirt from the off, running well over a mile but after some under-par efforts he was dropped to six furlongs in a Group 3 on Super Saturday and won very well.
The form is good and there is no reason why he won’t continue to improve, something that if it happens will see his numbers look good enough to challenge Meraas, Red Le Zele, Wondrwherecraigis and Al Tariq in this Group 1 event at a very nice price. It’s a big chance for Ray Dawson too.
3.20 Meydan (Dubai Turf – Group 1) – MOHAAFETH
Make no mistake about it; this race and the mile-and-a-half Sheema Classic are of the very highest order.
Alfareeq is no mug, the Japanese are here in force and have Vin De Garde, Panthalassa and Schnell Meister all in with chances, while American challenger Colonel Liam has solid form and the consistent speed to stay competitive.
The race was run last year by Lord North for the Gosdens and he goes again after a decent reappearance in the Winter Derby having previously suffered a throat infection, while the impressive Saffron Beach is proven at this level and has a valuable weight pull with the colts.
Mohaafeth however is easily the most interesting. After winning brilliantly last May he was a leading contender for the Derby before being pulled out. He won at Royal Ascot too, but rather disappointed at York with William Haggas and many others left scratching their heads.
As it turns out, the unfortunate chap has been discovered to be a rig rather than a colt and has been running with a compressed testicle!
With that issue resolved, he can reach his full potential this season and is great value to begin his year the right way.
3.35 Doncaster (Lincoln Handicap) – MODERN NEWS
The first big betting handicap of the turf season. The Lincoln is always competitive in nature, but it does take a certain type to win it which means attempting to second-guess potential improvement levels, mostly with four-year-olds.
Irish Admiral is a big price for the Haggas yard. He always had promise and the form of his Redcar win is good. The yard also runs favourite Mujtaba who could improve no end from last year, but there’s a chance he prefers it a little softer than it is forecast to be.
The better horses all seem to be drawn on the far side and that includes Modern News. The Appleby horse did well last and year and based on the usual progression from then, as well as his good run under the circumstances in Dubai recently, means he has an outstanding chance.
It’s a big day for Harry Davies too and he can be valuable aboard Modern News, being value for a fair few of his 7lb claim.
3.55 Meydan (Dubai Sheema Classic – Group 1) – YIBIR
This really is a very deep race. Hukum, Authority, Dubai Honour and Shahryar all have some sort of a chance here and are to be taken seriously.
Glory Vase brings in some excellent form from Japan too, while there is no doubt that Alenquer is a Group 1 horse.
Great Voltigeur, Jockey Club Derby and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Yibir however is outstanding and can add another big race success to his increasingly impressive CV.