There are two Carnival meetings at Meydan this week; with seven races as usual on Thursday to get us underway. The feature is the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas, which has a field of 15. It is very hard to oppose Gold Town, who beat several of these in division one of the trial for this...
He’s rated 11lbs clear and looks solid enough. Maybe Daffg, who is improving and has been kept fresh for this after winning his maiden well, can be next best. Only six contest the first handicap on the card, over a mile and a half on turf. Golden Wood won a similar event on opening night and is unbeaten in two starts at Meydan, but there’s a concern that the small field might not muster up the pace he needs to pounce late. Best Solution is rated by far the best of these, but Saeed Bin Suroor’s second string, the lightly-raced Memorial Day takes a drop down in class and might be better-suited by the tempo of the race, so he is worth chancing.
Onto race three, a weak-looking ten furlong dirt race, which has just seven runners. Saltarin Dubai is running into form and is considered, but a two kilo pull at the weights might not be enough for him to reverse form with Don’t Give Up. The selection chased a strong pace last time and still won well, and may even improve for that initial start on dirt. The six furlong turf sprint is incredibly difficult to solve, with several running here rather than taking on Faatinah on Saturday. Faatinah just held on last time over course and distance and is respected off just a three pound higher mark. However, he’s prey to a late closer and perhaps veteran Sir Maximilian can run on and claim his first win at this trip, having made eye-catching late progress last time. Raafid, back on turf and off a break, has each-way appeal, while High On Life is very well-treated on his dirt form.
The penultimate race is a two mile grass handicap in which Los Barbados, Prince of Arran, Natural Scenery and Red Galileo all clash again, having finished in that order in a mile and six contest three weeks ago. The first-named rather stole it on that occasion, however, so Prince Of Arran is taken to reverse the form over this longer trip, with James Doyle ranking him as his best ride of the weekend.
The final race is a competitive mile turf handicap, in which Suyoof heads the weights for Mike de Kock. The five-year- old made an eye-catching seasonal bow, finishing fifth, and did win on his second start last year. He’s the pick, with the consistent Hors De Combat, never unplaced in three local starts, very much respected. The opening Purebred Arabian Group 2 should be straightforward enough for Paddy’s Day, despite the US import having to concede weight all round.