We have a very mixed weekend this time around. There is Grade One action over the jumps as we take in the Tolworth Hurdle, though the Dubai Carnival also begins on the Flat over at Meydan.
Friday 6th January 2023
2.35 Meydan (Dubai Racing Club Classic – Handicap) – WALK OF STARS
As usual in early Dubai Carnival races, the top contenders are all owned by Godolphin though for me, it says just as much about the lack of ambition from others owners given the prize money on offer.
In this case, a mile-and-a-half handicap on the turf, the five biggies are trained by Saeed Bin Suroor; Marching Army and Nader, and Charlie Appleby; Walk Of Stars, First Ruler and Dhahabi.
All have different profiles and all are decent, but given what was expected of Walk Of Stars last season allied with the form of his run behind Deauville Legend, he seems well treated off 107 and he’s nicely drawn too for Will Buick.
3.10 Meydan (Dubawi Stakes – Group 3) – MOUHEEB
The top stallion and great son of Dubai Millennium may not have done very well in the race named after him, but it is a decent event for the sprinters over six furlongs on the dirt track.
In it, Michael Costa trains Mouheeb for Sheikh Ahmed who won a Listed race over the course and distance four weeks go and he may go in again. The form is good and his turn of foot on this surface was excellent.
Lasy year’s Golden Shaheen winner Switzerland may top the market but he’s getting no younger and may lack the speed to cope with the selection, with the former Michael Stoute-trained Mubakker a better alternative.
3.45 Meydan (Jumeirah Classic Trial) – COURAGEOUS KNIGHT
This seven-furlong turf event is not graded, but it’s a good conditions race. The Jumeirah Classic itself, run next month, is over a mile and can produce Guineas horses which makes this contest potentially much more important than many think.
Bay Of Plenty represents some decent Irish form, while Highbank may be second choice for Charlie Appleby but he made a terrific debut last season and could yet be top class.
William Buick however rides Courageous Knight and while he has taken a while to get going, he is capable of running into the 105-110 sort of category and he has the speed and toughness to land the odds.
4.55 Meydan (Al Fahidi Fort – Group 2) – NOBLE TRUTH
Though he’s not been seen since landing last summer’s Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot for Charlie Appleby, Noble Truth has the pace, power, class and of course the form to take care of this field.
True, it’s a grade up for him in theory, but the form of the likes of Al Fareeq, Misty Grey, Fast Raaj, Al Suhail, Dubai Mirage and Bouttemont doesn’t quite match up and he can make light of his absence and get back on track.
5.30 Meydan (Dubai Dash – Listed Race) – MAN OF PROMISE
This five-furlong event has drawn some pretty recognisable, and pretty good, turf sprinters.
Khaadem and Raasel represent strong British form from last summer, while Logo Hunter and City Walk have been excellent on the all-weather.
Lazuli has done well here in the past, though he was comfortably beaten this time last year by Godolphin’s first string, Man Of Promise.
That race was over six furlongs but Man Of Promise was fancied to go very well in the King’s Stand and weakened late on in a very fast Sprint Cup at Haydock, so the distance here may be perfect for him.
Saturday 7th January 2023
2.05 Wincanton (Handicap Chase) – NOT AVAILABLE
A potentially tight handicap chase, but one in which Not Available seems very solid in most areas and so has the appearance of a reliable type from a punting point of view. He’s slipping down the handicap but is generally in decent form, which is a good combo in such races.
Midnight Midge is solid in behind, while Desque De L’Isle and Interne De Sivola are at opposite ends of their careers.
2.25 Sandown (Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle – Grade 1) – ARCTIC BRESIL
Paul Nicholls’ Tahmuras has just a little more experience over hurdles than his main rivals for this Grade One, but he is most certainly vulnerable to a couple of big potential improvers.
Authorised Speed is most certainly one to be feared, but Henry De Bromhead’s Arctic Bresil won with any amount in hand on his debut at Cork and looks certain to go to the top. Rachael Blackmore comes over to Sandown for the ride.
3.00 Sandown (Veterans’ Chase Series Final – Handicap) – BROKEN QUEST
Initially I had no intentions of having a bet in this race, a three-mile chase in which all horses are aged 11 or older.
Having looked into it out of fascination however I came upon Broken Quest of the David Dennis yard who, on my numbers, has a cracking chance.
He has been running on faster ground for a long time and far be it from me to tell a trainer what’s best, but he is happy to run him now and it may just be that the old boy appreciates some cut at this stage of his career and he’s definitely capable.
At the advertised odds of up to 33/1 at the time of writing, he is worth backing if only to small stakes.
8.00 Kempton (Handicap) – COURT OF SESSION
There are some interesting types in this London Mile Series qualifying race.
Aussie Banker may improve, while Sun King is a potentially good recruit from Ireland for Michael Appelby. At four years old however, the Crisfords’ Court Of Session has more to give and he already has strong form.
In fact, in going down narrowly last time out to King Of Conquest he has put himself right in line to win a race like this, so considering the surface wasn’t right for him and he will be much happier here on Polytrack we can expect an even bigger performance.