The Dubai Carnival is heating up and our Meydan expert has five selections on a fantastic Super Saturday card, live on Racing TV.
What a superb Super Saturday card in store, which I am delighted to say we will be covering in full on Racing TV from our new Virtual Studio. Tom Stanley will join me with Nick Lightfoot reporting live from the course.
The format of this card replicates Dubai World Cup night itself in format and many will be looking to book their place on the big night.
While dubbed a trial for the UAE Derby, this Listed contest is not a strong race and El Patriota can prevail having won the trial in good style in late January.
Despite conceding weight all round, he is rated 109 and looks to have a class edge over this field. His nearest rival here is rated 102.
He seemed to take very well to the dirt last time and finished very strongly to win with a fair bit in hand. He has had enough time to recover from that effort and looks to be a seriously good dirt horse in the making.
He is a strong stayer at this 1900 metre trip and is lightly raced with just five starts, while he is unbeaten in all three dirt runs. He should be fresh and ready to book his place in the UAE Derby.
Charlie Appleby has won this Sheema Classic trial for the last three years and can make it four with Walton Street.
He broke the track record last time in handicap company and, while admittedly the beneficiary of an easy lead and a very good front-running ride, I thought he looked an improved model.
The fact that Charlie Appleby is eyeing the Sheema Classic is very interesting. That handicap win from a mark of 107 doesn’t make him an obvious candidate, but he absolutely bolted up and completely outclassed his rivals. He is a lot more progressive than his rivals here and I would be surprised if he is beaten.
Dubai Warrior didn't handle the dirt last time and will prove popular back on a more suitable surface, but there was more to that defeat than just the surface. He was very edgy and sweaty, wearing a hood down to the start and betraying the demeanour of a horse who had not settled into his new environment. He was also too keen in the race. I am very happy to oppose him with Walton Street.
Midnight Sands was set to run in the Godolphin Mile last year before World Cup night was abandoned and I am taking a chance on him in this trial.
He won five times for Doug Watson last season and, having joined Brendan Walsh and raced three times without success in America, he's now back with his former trainer at a track that suits him really well.
Watson has a good record with horses after a lay-off and I think Midnight Sands will be ready to run a big race on his return. The trainer and jockey Pat Dobbs have proved a formidable combination over this trip and with this type of horse over the years.
In many ways this is the most interesting race on the card with North America also returning to action. But I thought that North America was somewhat regressive last season, whereas Midnight Sands made rapid headway in handicaps.
He has clearly not been the easiest to train, but he has untapped potential and I am keen on him in this trial for the Dubai Turf on World Cup night.
He was thrashed in the 2000 Guineas and only ran twice as a three-year-old after a promising juvenile career, but he was tremendously impressive after a lay-off at Newmarket last July on his most recent start. He won that Listed race by six lengths in a lightening-fast time and suggested that, given the right conditions, he could become a Group One performer.
Those conditions are a decent pace and ground that is not particularly quick, and this beautiful and bouncy green trampoline of a surface will really suit this very strong traveller. He is nicely berthed in stall 4 to get a stalking trip.
I would be really keen on his chance if we had seen him since last July, but he nevertheless has immense potential. If he can bring that Newmarket performance to the party, he will be very hard to beat.
He could turn into a top-class sprinter and I am happy to side with Charlie Appleby and William Buick once again in this Al Quoz Sprint trial.
This horse has a very similar profile to Al Suhail in that he was a very promising two-year-old but only ran twice at three, winning on his final start last July at Deauville.
He quickened past the useful Glen Shiel on just his second run over six furlongs after a decent sixth in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. He very much looked like a sprinter in those runs and that is the route he is exploring now.
It is interesting that Buick chooses this horse rather than Man of Promise, on whom he won impressively here in early February. We should take the hint and back the immense sprinting promise of Royal Crusade.Click here to claim your FREE Racing TV Jacket!
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