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UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and Cape Verdi Headline Meydan Card


The next race day in the Dubai Carnival is set to run on Thursday and there are more than a few high-quality contests kicking off on the Tapeta surface at the majestic Meydan Racecourse. Godolphin is out in full-force today and they have Dettori, Ajtebi and a cadre of other jockeys lined up on some very decent mounts.

The usual combination of globe-trotters lines up in some tricky handicaps in addition to the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial for three and four year-olds. The 5:45 Cap Verdi ranks as the day’s feature contest.


The opening fixture at Meydan runs 7f over the synthetic surface as 18 contenders face off for their share of the £42,308 purse. The race is restricted to 95-105-rated horses and the blue team lines up three solid selections here. Tybalt (Storm Cat) looks like he could be in the mix and he comes off the turf after a number of place and show efforts at Arlington, Hawthorne and Woodbine. This isn’t a dramatic step up in grade for this stakes-placed seven year-old, though the lack of a synthetic score complicates matters for him. The fact that Dettori gets Sahara Kingdom (Cozzene) shows how much confidence Saeed Bin Suroor has in the four year-old grey. He was a disappointing seventh last time out in a conditions race at Nottingham, but he was eased up towards the end after a few bumps and a mistake on the run-in. The lightly-raced colt still has plenty of room to improve and posted a career best figure of 104 despite finishing seventh. Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum saddles Swinging Sixties (Singspiel) and this Meydan veteran has finished second in his past two efforts- but the challenge is whether he can handle the drop back in distance.


Top-weighted War Artist (Orpen) looks set to dictate things in this grassy 5f contest but he’ll have to deal with fifteen other contenders seeking a slice of the £57,692 at stake. The European sprint specialist is a multiple stakes-winner though he hasn’t been in the best of form during his recent campaign in France. Sixth-placed to Starspangledbanner (Choisir) in the Golden Jubilee Stakes, he was able to score at Meydan during last year’s meet though the victory came on the Tapeta. The Rod Collet-trained gelding should attract plenty of attention. Terrific Challenge (Royal Academy) has run well in a pair of dirt sprints at Jebel Ali to finish second in both contests. The nine year-old will be looking to roll back the years here but his form at Meydan hasn’t been good in his only two attempts.


The UAE 2000 Guineas Trial doesn’t boast the highest purse of the day but punters can expect a classic Dubai face-off as Mike De Kock and Saeed Bin Suroor saddle the stand-outs in this one. Zanzamar (Fort Wood) ships in off a show in a Grade 1 contest at Greyville when sent off at 22/1. This looks to be a more manageable race for him and he is very much proven at the 7f distance. He is a co-top-weight alongside mysterious stable-mate Abstrato (Major Storm), who also merits a second look. The Godolphin team ran Janood (Medicean) in two classy races for two year-olds late last year, only to find him run well off the board. This is a sharp drop down for the classy Lodge Park-bred three year-old. He gets Dettori once again for this one and he could be poised to make a real statement if things go his way.


The Falcon Lounge Trophy is an exciting handicap going 1m on the grass. Several contenders come in off the back of some respectable runs with Mahmood Al Zarooni saddling Florentino (Swept Overboard). He ships in off the allowance circuit in the United States and could be poised to assert himself on the turf if Ahmed Ajtebi gets a decent trip. Derbaas (Seeking The Gold) has two wins over the Tapeta in his last two at Meydan and connections will be hoping that quality form translates well to the turf.  


The Al Sarab Trophy sees us shift back onto the synthetic surface as three Godolphin runners face off against a talented field of eighteen. Irish-bred Zinimix (Linamix) emerges from France for the first time and the seven year-old has run extremely well throughout 2010 and has enjoyed a lay-off since mid-October. His regular rider Gregory Benoist gets the mount again for their Dubai debut and the turf to Tapeta reference has proven positive in the past at Meydan. Mysterious Brazilian shipper Gallahad (Hard Buck) warrants a look after finishing second in a local Group 1 contest at Cidade Jardim in Sao Paolo.


The blue team saddles Aspectoflove (Danetime) for his second Meydan campaign and he’ll be looking to avenge his runner-up finish in the 2010 edition of this exact race. The Cape Verdi boasts the day’s smallest field and this five year-old son of Danetime enters the race in a rich vein of form. Irish-bred mare Anam Chara (Soviet Star) ships in off a lengthy spell at Dundalk and this is an absolutely massive step up in grade, though UK and Irish punters looking to back their away team would do well to jump aboard as she should hit at a very nice price. The play might be Deem (Dalakhani), who got the better of Aspectoflove last year on the Meydan grass at 1m1f. His score in the 2009 edition of this race at Nad Al Sheba adds further credibility for a Dubai specialist.


The Al Forsan Trophy is the nightcap at Meydan and this one is absolutely anybody’s guess. Multiple group 3 winner Simon De Montfort (King’s Best) has been laid off since last April but looks set to make a real statement in his first effort in Dubai. He’s won off an extended lay-off before and he has won at a higher level than this one. He is a specialist at 1m2f and should be a force to be reckoned with as Kieren Fallon gets the mount. Shimmering Moment (Afleet Alex) emerges off a listed score at Dundalk to try his luck against the big boys in Dubai, though he looks more likely to take a slice as opposed to challenging for the outright win. Undefeated Godolphin four year-old Zeitoper (Singspiel) looks a picture of consistency and boasts a Group 3 score in France. 

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