Dubai Racing Carnival - Meydan Overview, Week 4

Profile Picture: Chantal Variot

Chantal Variot

January 25th, 2017

A special week for Godolphin last week and there is every chance this one develops the same way with 13 runners split between Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby. Such power has not necessarily been as evident over the last couple of years with a more selective approach taken, but Bin Suroor and Appleby will be looking to maintain their excellent strike rates for the season on Thursday, which currently stand at 33 per cent and 36 per cent respectively. That could have been higher, too, but for multiple entries in certain races.

The Cape Verdi is one of a couple of Group Two races on the card (there is also a Group One for the Arabians) and Very Special is back to defend her crown, this time in the hands of Jim Crowley. It will be his first ride for Godolphin in Dubai, and, let’s face it, it isn’t a bad association to pick up, and one that looks set to be maintained throughout the Carnival with Sheikh Hamdan having few fillies in training over here. She can be quite a free-going sort, but that did not stop her easily landing this and the Balanchine last year before running a highly creditable race when sixth in the Dubai Turf. She had just the one run in England but a return visit to Dubai would always have been on the cards and she could well dominate the division again.

It will not be as straightforward on this occasion as the likes of Realtra, Muffri’ha and Tahanee are not far behind her ratings-wise, making this as deep a Cape Verdi as we have seen. The latter is particularly interesting, her run behind Fanciful Angel as luckless as you are likely to see with a frustrated Mike de Kock afterwards saying that he had “given up trying to analyse how the stewards here in Dubai read races”.

To be fair to the stewards, a couple of jockeys from that race will serve suspensions on Thursday, but de Kock did raise the valid point of Meydan employing a cut away at the top of the straight to fan the runners out more. In total, five jockeys will sit on the sidelines on Thursday (not all turf related incidents) and the local stewards have been burning the midnight oil at recent meetings to resolve certain issues, so perhaps it is something that should be looked into.

Anyway, back to the Cape Verdi, and the run of Tahanee did only come in a handicap, but she was a Grade Three winner in South America and a bullish de Kock suggests she is better than her rating of 105. Expect her to give Very Special something to think about.

The Al Rashidiya is the other Group Two, a race that De Kock has won eight times including the last five renewals.

Light The Lights is his sole representative and the strength of his victory over Championship in Listed company last time was well advertised last week when that one comfortably landed a Group Two. Tactically, this only looks like being run one way - and that is at a crawl which is not going to help any of his challengers with Light The Lights likely to be in the perfect position throughout. Promising Run looks as likely as any to make the running and that makes her of some interest but she needs to pull out more to be a genuine Group Two filly.

Away from the messy Group races, and Desert God (hammered in the betting last time), Gold Trail (Appleby) and Prize Money (Bin Suroor) are likely to dominate the betting in the first thoroughbred race on the card due off at 10.05am (ET). Desert God certainly was not as bad as the result suggested last time, while the case for the other two is obvious but don’t discount Good Trip and he looks the each-way shout. He was a couple of places ahead of Desert God on his penultimate start and has since run well in finishing second to Elhaame, staying on well as if a step back up to this sort of trip would suit. Connections wisely bypassed the Al Rashidiya in favour of this and his jockey, Adrie De Vries, will be getting down to his minimum weight to ride.

Charlie Appleby has brought over Adam Kirby to replace the suspended William Buick and he rides Baccarat in the finale but I am not convinced he is on the first string as it’s the Mickael Barzalona-ridden Jungle Cat who appeals more. A three and three-quarter length winner on his reappearance here last season, he finds himself just 3lb higher despite hitting the frame in races such as the Al Quoz Sprint, Palace House and King’s Stand subsequently. He has been given a break since finishing down the field in the King George at Goodwood in July and a bold show is on the cards from stall 7 (the higher the better).

Stephen Molyneux's Dubai World Cup Carnival week four tips:

10.05am (ET) Meydan - Good Trip

1.00pm (ET) Meydan - Jungle Cat