Another Solid Meydan card on Thursday

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Ted Black

February 10th, 2016

In a sense, those thoroughbred racing fans who get up bright and early - especially on the west coast - every Thursday morning to watch the action from Meydan Race Course in Dubai are definitely starting the day in style.

Thursday's opener at Meydan is the $250,000 UAE 1000 Guineas for three-year-old fillies at one mile on the main track. Among the compact field of five sophomore fillies set to go postward are two American-needs with plenty of promise and a Godolphin runner that looms a sleeper.

Polar River, a daughter of Congrats who has won both of her outings at Meydan by nearly 19 lengths for trainer Doug Watson, should relish the extra furlong and could be an emerging star in Dubai.

Promising Run, one of two fillies in here trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, was second to Polar River in her seasonal debut last month but could make amends here. Last year she won twice in four starts, including the Group 2 Shadwell Rockfel Stakes at Newmarket.

The other Suroor trainee here is Dubai Fashion, a daughter of Dubawi who won her first start at Wolverhampton last fall on the all-weather track then was fifth on the turf. She could be tougher back on the main track.

Three races later on the card older male sprinters will be on display in the Grade 3, $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint at six furlongs on the main track, an early prep for the Grade I, $2 million Golden Shaheen here on the Dubai World Cup undercard on March 26.

Among the 10 runners in here, Reynaldothewizard is clearly the most accomplished horse in the field. Not only is the 10-year-old Speightstown gelding the defending champion of this event, he was the hero of the 2013 Golden Shaheen and boasts 10 wins and earnings of over $1.65 million from 24 starts.

Another runner with past Golden Shaheen success is Krypton Factor, hero of the 2012 running. Krypton Factor owns a 9-8-9 slate and $1.75 million bankroll from 41 starts and he was second to Reynaldothewizard in this event last year, but it has been 17 months since his last victory.

Another Grade I winner here is Rich Tapestry, hero of the Santa Anita Sprint Championship at Santa Anita in 2014. This Hong Kong-based star was third in last year's Golden Shaheen and third in the 2014 edition. He owns a 7-4-2 slate and earnings of over $800,000 from 32 starts, Rich Tapestry has always thrived over the Meydan strip.

While Reynaldothewizard, Krypton Factor and Rich Tapestry are proven commodities here, Marking makes his local debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. A four-year-old Bernardini stallion, Marking won his first two starts in New York last fall then was a solid second to Runhappy in the Grade I Malibu Stakes. He appears to have a bright future, but he may need a start or two to get adapted to the surface and facing seasoned older runners.

Looking to join the upper echelon are several local runners who have performed well over the strip. My Catch, Kifaah, and Muarrab have won over the course against lesser and now are hoping to enjoy the same success against proven graded stakes does.

Then two races later a field of seven sophomores will go postward in the Grade 3, $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas at one mile on the main track.

Steady Pace won a local prep for Suroor and is the likely choice here, but Market Rally, Rouleau, Qurbaan and Hombre Rojo all merit respect in this early prep for the UAE Derby.