While jumps enthusiasts will have their focus solely set on the Cheltenham Festival, fans of flat racing will be focused on a festival in much warmer climes as the Dubai Carnival kicks off.
The action at Meydan this afternoon will certainly offer us a look at potentially some of the best performers for the season ahead, with the World Cup meeting in March the ultimate aim for some of today’s runners.
The longstanding battle between Mike de Kock and Godolphin is set to resume today, with the former sending out the very useful True Story and Outstrip, amongst others.
But we are looking elsewhere for our best bets today, with this trio our best bets for the action from Dubai.
We are siding with the South African de Kock for the Listed Singspiel Stakes, as he sends two with decent charges.
A winner of this race on his reappearance last year, Mushreq is certainly what you would call a Meydan veteran.
He has run 11 of his last 12 races at the track, picking up the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort here last February a particular highlight.
The ever reliable Paul Hanagan is in the saddle again and he is selected to get us off the mark, with the unreliable favourite True Story yet to prove his winter gelding operation has calmed his wayward tendencies.
Another horse who has an enviable record round here is Saeed bin Suroor’s Emirates Flyer.
Winner of a UAE 2000 Guineas Trial this time last year, he was then beaten into second by the impressive Long John in the main event itself.
Stepped up in trip he ran an admirable third behind Toast of New York in the UAE Derby, and looks primed for a good run back at a mile.
An ever-consistent sort, he has only been out of the first three once in his 11 race career, that wan a 2 3/4l fifth in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot on his second racecourse appearance.
He looks a nice price to at least trouble the placings.
While the euphoric rise of Toast of New York in 2013-14 will be hard to emulate, owner Michael Buckley and trainer Jamie Osbourne will be hoping of plenty of success from French import Another Party.
A switch to the sweltering climate of the UAE could suit, as his better efforts in his Gallic homeland have come on good ground, something he’s rarely been able to enjoy.
Stepping down into handicap company could reap rewards after he was placed twice in Group 2s in Europe, and was beaten less than 3l in the Group 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville in August.
It’s a fairly open looking race, but the four-year-old should run a big one.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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