What a weekend of action we have this time around.
It’s a truly international affair on the Flat. At the Dubai Carnival there are some notable entries on Friday as we head towards Super Saturday, Dubai World Cup night and the European turf season.
Across and Friday and Saturday there is over $37 million on offer at the Saudi Cup meeting, while there are 50 points on offer to the winner of the Rebel Stakes on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Domestically, the £100,000 Winter Derby has attracted some good entries and over jumps there is huge action at Newcastle, Kempton and elsewhere.
Friday 24th February 2023
1.30 Lingfield (Hever Sprint Stakes - Listed) - MISS NAY NEVER
This is a competitive Listed event over the minimum trip. Tone The Barone, Exalted Angel, Arecibo and Alligator Alley may all be of a similar ability these days, but one horse stands out.
John Quinn’s Miss Nay Never has been in great form, has been improving and doesn’t look ready to stop yet.
She’s a class above these at the weights and can handle her wide draw.
3.10 Meydan (Handicap) - SILENT FILM
Charlie Appleby’s Silent Film kind of needed the run last time out and should be much sharper in readiness for this task.
A decent fifth, he raced wide and stayed on at the one pace just behind Spirit Of Light who reopposes and New Kingdom who has won impressively since, as has Coachello was behind him that day.
He has a kinder draw now and should be able to use what I think is superior pace to the aforementioned Spitit Of Light, as well as Bay Of Honour and Major Partnership who were also shortlisted, to skip away and score.
3.45 Meydan (Jumeirah Fillies Guineas) - FAIRY CROSS
Mawj is rated 5lbs higher than Fairy Cross officially, but their profiles are very different and it would be of zero surprise to see the Dubawi filly improve past her over the mile.
Saeed bin Suroor’s runner has Group 1 form in England but she did look like a sprinter as a juvenile, while Fairy Cross took the Prestige Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and looks ready-made for this sort of event.
Saturday 25th February 2023
1.50 Kempton (Adonis Juvenile Hurdle - Grade 2) - SCRIPTWRITER
Although he was beaten last time for the first time in his three runs to date, Milton Harris’ runner looks to be above the others here, even when giving away weight.
That’s not to say that this will be an easy task of course, with Nusret and Rare Middleton in opposition, but he still looks the one to be on and remains a backable price at the time of writing. Paddy Brennan rides.
2.25 Kempton (Pendil Novices’ Chase - Grade 2) - SOLO
An interesting race as ever. Boothill is an obvious one for the Harry Fry team, while Jamie Snowden’s Datsalrightgino is another worthy of strong consideration.
Slightly unusual for a novice race, both of those runners’ profiles show steady and admirable consistency but not huge improvement from race to race.
Solo was showing something similar, but is very clearly capable of more and has now had a breathing operation. Paul Nicholls’ horse can now regain his elevation up the ranks which at these weights would make him the likeliest winner.
2.05 Riyadh (Neom Turf Cup - Group 3) - MOSTAHDAF
This may be a Group 3 contest, but it’s worth £750,000 to the winner and it has attracted at least one very high class individual.
That individual is not the likely favourite Missed The Cut, although George Boughey’s four-year-old is a real improved, but rather the Gosden runner Mostahdaf.
This horse has done well for us before and in fact I thought he had a live outside chance in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.
His best performances put him at Group 1 level for me, he’s in the right hands and the extended ten-furlong trip should be to his liking.
3.25 Riyadh (Red Sea Turf Handicap) - TRAWLERMAN
Charlie Johnston’s Subjectivist hasn’t been seen since a mightily impressive Ascot Gold Cup-winning performance in June 2021, and while he has the class to carry top weight here it’s very hard to do it successfully after such a long layoff.
Japanese runner Echt is very keenly weighted, while Silver Tonic similarly could have been sneaked in here.
The suggestion however is Trawlerman. Always threatening to be a classy stayer, he eventually came of age last August when winning the Ebor at York.
He was a fine third at Group 2 level after that and there was also talk of a Melbourne Cup tilt.
He can take this for Godolphin, the Gosdens and Frankie Dettori.
3.25 Newcastle (Eider Handicap Chase - Class 2) - THE GALLOPING BEAR
This race goes off at the same time as the above event in Saudi Arabia, so do keep that in mind.
The marathon that is the Eider is as competitive as ever, despite Kitty’s Light being backed into a very short price this week.
Yes, she’s slipping down the weights and so looks well handicapped, but it rarely works out as regression can still be quicker than the handicapper is willing to match up to.
The solid one and a potential improver at ten years old is The Galloping Bear.
Ben Clarke’s runner has plenty going for him and he’s a nice price too.
3.40 Kempton (Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle - Grade 2) - RUBAUD
Paul Nicholls may well win another Kempton Grade 2 here, this time with his Rubaud in the two-mile Dovecote.
This race may be all about speed in the end and I reckon that, among this particular bunch, Rubaud has the most of it.
Fair enough, I did expect more from him at Newbury last time out, but before that he was climbing the ladder fast and in fact most likely was only beaten around here because of the unsuitable soft ground.
In these conditions, he’d be a much more confident bet.