Meydan, Dubai, Thursday 3/3 Preview

Profile Picture: Lauren Magill

Lauren Magill

March 2nd, 2016

Laura King, a presenter for the Dubai Racing Channel, previews the card at Meydan, Dubai on Thursday.

Meydan’s ‘Super Saturday’ has a warm-up meeting this year, with Thursday night staging a full Carnival card for the first time, including four pattern races.

We know there’s no such thing as a certainty in racing, but Doug Watson’s Polar River
[Meydan, 16.10] seems as close a one as possible in the UAE Oaks, in which she faces a paltry pair of rivals. She continues to “do everything right,” at home according to her trainer and defeat is almost unthinkable, with chief rival Vale Dori having to concede weight, after a belated start to the season.

If Polar River wins this, she will go onto the UAE Derby, a race that Watson knows “will be a lot tougher.” Tentative plans are then in place for a tilt at the Kentucky Oaks.

“It would be great for the owners to go, and great for the team here,” says Watson of a potential Churchill Downs trip. “But we have a long way to go. It is likely that she will race in America at some stage though, if not the Kentucky Oaks, then something later on, but let’s take it one race at a time.”

The card’s other three-year-old race, the Listed Meydan Classic on turf, is stronger, and while Simon Crisford’s Group 3 winner First Selection will attract plenty of attention, he’s been rerouted here after an aborted dirt campaign which is off-putting. Therefore, preference is for the Godolphin filly Pure Diamond [Meydan, 15.35], who surely would have won the trial for this with a clear run last time, and can reverse form with Comicas.

Seven line up for the Group 2 Balanchine, for which Very Special will be primed, having won the Cape Verdi, traditional lead-up race to this, last time. However, she beat a weak field and got a soft lead there and should find Euro Charline [Meydan, 16.45] a much tougher rival here. Marco Botti’s Group I winner escapes a penalty and should have enough class to prevail, even if not fully wound up, with the Dubai Turf her main target.

The final group race on the card is the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, prep for the Dubai Gold Cup, which Godolphin traditionally dominate. They have no standout stayer this year though, and this can go to Britain. David Simcock reports his Canadian Grade I winner Sheikhzayedroad to be “in great form, looking superb,” but Roger Varian’s Battersea [Meydan, 18.55] just gets the nod, after his cosy course and distance success last time. Meadow Creek, who steps up in trip, is another to consider, as is Certerach at a bigger price.

Two handicaps bolster the card and the first one, over seven furlongs on turf, can go to Mastermind [Meydan, 17.20] who is unlucky not to have a win to his name already this term, having twice gone close over course and distance. Mutamakkin, well-fancied when beaten out of sight on his local debut, is worth a closer look.

The closing ten furlong turf event can go to the progressive Musaddas [Meydan, 18.30], although Khusoosy is one from one in the UAE so far and is also respected.