Welcome to our FREE Dubai Carnival Preview for Thursday, January 2020.
Firstly a quick update on our recent results, which have seen a 50% strike rate so far this season, with 5 winners coming from our 10 advised bets. 2020 is certainly going well and in addition to those 5 winners, we went close with two 10/1 bets placing 2nd.
Members have been advised an early bet for Saturday at around 7/1, who’s now shortened in the market, so we’re very hopeful of another successful day.
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Some really good quality racing and whilst we have reviewed each race, we have been selective with advised bets.
Please note these aren’t aracingfirst account bets advised to members, just a nice friendly and hopefully informative review of the racing at Meydan today, and hopefully a couple of winners for you.
Top weight Ekhtiyaar must be respected based on his emphatic victory the last time he contested a handicap here, when winning by 5 lengths. He’s now rated 10lbs higher which makes life tough and is almost a stone worse at the weights with Dream Today who was 3rd that day. Ekhtiyaar then subsequently ran well behind Blue Point in Group company, so he’s a very classy type. He’ll be much better for this reappearance on the dirt last month, where he finished his race off nicely, it’s just a case of is the good enough to give lumps of weight away.
Abrantes is a very interesting contender from Spain, who came a very close 2nd behind Dream Today in this race last year and meets that opponent off the same weights here. He looks to have had a very similar preparation as he did last year, perhaps showing slightly better form and is sure to be a major player.
Dream Today comes here off a similar break as he did when winning this last year from Abrantes, and based on his last run where he was a little unlucky he was in a similar vein of form, although last season was his debut for the Jamie Osbourne yard. He runs well fresh and is extremely closely matched with Abrantes, and on last years form has around 7 lengths to find with Ekhtiyaar with a big pull at the weights.
Whilst he’s a lot higher in the weights, Ekhtiyaar was so impressive when winning the last time he contested a handicap, he’s taken to defy a 10lb higher mark. His subsequent 2nd to Blue Point was excellent and he can be forgiven being outclassed at Group 1 level on World Cup night. With a nice preparation run on the dirt, he’s sure to be in A1 condition and be hard to beat, with perhaps Abrantes just preferred over Dream Today as the main danger, but at the prices we’ll watch rather than bet.
Result: Ekhtiyaar WON
Commanding was very impressive on his 2nd start when stepping up to this trip and bolting up on the dirt last time. He looked like he’d taken a big step forward from his debut, travelling very strongly and pulling away from the field. With proven form on this surface, he’s a big player, although stall 13 doesn’t help. The Godolphin runners, First View, Laser Show and Lost In Time all merit respect without looking unbeatable and therefore even from a slightly tricky stall 13, Commanding looks the one to beat and at around 5/1 you can play safe each way.
Advised Bet: Commanding Each Way – generally 6/1 or 11/2.
Betfair & Paddy Power both 5/1 paying Top 4 Places.
Result: Commanding WON 13/2
With Benbatl a very short price and likely winner, especially in the absence of Dream Castle who looked to be his only real danger, this clearly doesn’t appeal as a betting race.
Zakouski looked impressive when winning his 2yo debut and was considered a potential 2000 Guineas horse last season. A slightly disappointing run in the Craven saw that dream end and he hasn’t been seen since. The run in the Craven was a fair effort and even just a reproduction of that effort would probably see him hard to beat. Lyndon B could well be his main danger, as he proved himself a smart improving handicapper last season, and he’ll be suited by a big field.
With Zakouski so short in the market, he couldn’t be advised as a bet, although he is very much the most likely winner. Lyndon B could be an each way play if you felt the need to play, but probably a race best watched.
Result: Zakouski WON
Muntazah was incredibly impressive when winning by 10 lengths here in February and then followed up again in March before a slightly disappointing 3rd on World Cup night. Those runs followed a 3rd place on his reappearance behind North America and perhaps he’s better for a run and may just need this.
North America looked like a world beater when winning his first two races here last season, firstly by 9 lengths from Kimbear, although he wasn’t as impressive next time, but still won relatively easily. He disappointed in the World Cup, but may just simply be best when fresh.
The others are pretty closely matched although we’d suggest Kimbear may come out on top having finished his race off nicely last time behind Secret Ambition, where Rodaini was 3rd with Thegreatcollection and Heavy Metal well beaten.
We’re expecting Muntazah as has been the case previously to need his comeback, so happy to oppose him. That leaves the most likely winner being North America, who is justifiably the Fav and if repeating the level of performance when winning on his return last season will be too good for the rest. Backed into around Evens this morning that’s just a little short for us to be betting.
This probably revolves around the Godolphin runners and looking at the early money, Chasing Dreams is clearly well fancied. She has been impressive thus far, although had next to nothing to bet last time at Wolverhampton. On form Platinum Star has achieved more and was very impressive when winning a listed race ar Ripon having previously contested some very high class Group races. He can be forgiven his final run as the drop back to 5f and rain softened ground wouldn’t have suited. The only one outside the Boys In Blue brigade that makes any appeal is Raakezz who was impressive when winning on the dirt at Jebel Ali. It’s hard to quantify the value of that form, although the 2nd has won since. That winner, Dubai Avenue and the 2nd that day Far Sky both run in the 3.40 race, so a good showing from either of them would be a boost for Raakezz.
Raakezz looks now to unfortunately be a non runner.
A tricky one, and whilst the market move suggests Chasing Dreams is well fancied. Platinum Star would look to be the more solid win bet, but they are both pretty short in the market, so another watch race rather than bet.
Result: Platinum Star WON
A good competitive handicap to finish the day and one where we’ll have a small interest in a couple at big prices.
The market is headed by Good Fortune for Godolphin, and whilst he ran well in the UK on his only run last season, that alongside two efforts here this time last year hardly suggest he should be as short in the market. That said he can be marked up on his 6th here behind Sporting Chance as he was unlucky in running and finished well from way off the pace. But he finished behind Nayslayer that day and that horse is 50/1 here and better off at the weights, so 2/1 doesn’t appeal.
Nayslayer himself ran really poorly on his latest run and whilst he may outrun his odds, he’s likely to find a few better handicapped.
Two that do make some appeal are Cliffs of Capri and Connect.
Cliffs of Capri ran well at the carnival last season, finishing an unlucky 4th on his first run from a handicap mark 4lbs higher than he runs off here and in a race that perhaps was a little stronger than his contest. He then ran really well on his two subsequent outings behind Mubtasim and Major Partnership, where a repeat of any of those 3 runs would see him go close. The stable do really well with their runners here and he comes here fresh after a break just as he did last year.
Connect was extremely unlucky on his debut here last season, when getting no run at all and staying on well into 6th behind Nordic Lights off a mark 6lbs higher than he races off today. He struggled up in grade next time, then didn’t handle the dirt behind African Ride and didn’t stay the trip behind GM Hopkins in March. Back over a more suitable trip, fresh from a break if he can reproduce his reappearance run last season and get a little luck, then he’s over-priced here. He is a little quirky, which comes with a risk, but he does have the ability to win at this level.
The Fav, Good Fortune does look short in the market and with some bookmakers offering 4 places, then both Cliffs of Capri and Connect appeal at each way prices.
Cliffs of Capri Each Way, Top 4 Places – generally 10/1
Connect Each Way, Top 4 Places – generally 20/1 (non runner)