Dubai World Cup Carnival 2022

Free Picks & Past Performances

Dubai World Cup – Saturday March 26th, 2022:FREE Past Performances


Meydan Overview & Selections – Dubai World Cup card:

There is a fabulous card at Meydan on Saturday where the Dubai World Cup takes centre stage at the end of a top class night of action.
There are some strong looking favourites through the night and the best international challenge that we have seen for many years at this meeting.
I have six selections for you and hopefully a few decent winners.

Race 2 Meydan (8.20am ET): Al Nefud

The dirt track at Meydan tends to be more speed favouring when races are run in the afternoon and with this being the first race on the card I am expecting a big run from this pacey, strong travelling gelding. He has been a revelation since moving to the Seemar yard in Dubai and has taken to the dirt track particularly well. The key to the turnaround in his form has been the fact that his new yard identified that he is a speed horse who is best suited to racing around this one turn mile at Meydan. He made all to win his first two starts here and was beaten into second last time by Hot Rod Charlie in round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge. That was a big effort from a wide draw in stall 11 over a 9 1/2 furlong trip that stretches his stamina. Returning to a mile here from a cracking draw in stall 2 he figures to make all here against the rail and land the Godolphin mile.

Race 3 Meydan (8.55am ET): Manobo

This horse is a potential superstar and although he will go off at restrictive odds he cannot be opposed. He was wildly impressive in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy where he comfortably beat East Asia. He surged clear under minimal pressure producing one of the most exciting performances of the Carnival. He has plenty of speed and looks to be a cut above his rivals here. This is not as deep a race as it can be and it’s hard to imagine that any of his rivals could win a Listed race by 10 lengths as this horse did at St. Cloud last season. A number of firms already make him the second favourite for the Ascot Gold Cup which is reflective of the impression that this horse has created throughout his career so far. He steps up to two miles here which should be no problem and his speed should prove way too much for his rivals.

Race 4 Meydan (9.35am ET): Casa Creed (Win & Show)

Man of Promise is a worthy favourite here, but he has never been the most consistent type and there is a chance he may recoil from a huge effort on Super Saturday where he thrashed the useful A Case Of You by just under 5 lengths. I prefer to get with Casa Creed win and show. He has a high draw on this straight sprint course which is advantageous and his main rivals are drawn high as well so he looks to be in the right spot to employ his late closing style. A likely strong pace will suit him as he is an off the pace type and he ran well off a three and a half month lay-off in Saudi last time where he ran on strongly to be beaten a neck by Songline. I can see him coming home strongly here to at least make the frame and if Man of promise is below form this is wide open.

Race 6 Meydan (10.45am ET): Dr Schivel

The USA have dominated this race winning thirteen of the last twenty renewals and Dr Schivel looks likely to continue that trend. He has only been beaten once over 6 furlongs and that was when narrowly denied in the Breeders Cup Sprint. He bombed in the 7f Malibu stakes last time out behind the brilliant Flightline, but he was found to have spiked a temperature after the race. If he turns up in the form that he was in at Del Mar he will be tough to beat even from his birth in stall 9. This looks as if it will be a race dominated by international raiders and it’s my opinion that Dr Schivel brings the best form to the party.

Race 7 Meydan (11.20am ET): Lord North

Lord North won this last year and I am supporting him to do it again. He was very impressive when he won here last year albeit in a slightly weaker renewal than this one. His seasonal debut at Lingfield has ducked under the radar. He was second to Alenquer who thrashed the track record and the time figure that lord North achieved was a career best. Align that with the fact he looked a bit rusty and was forced a bit wide on the home turn then we have a performance that should make everyone sit up and take notice. He has clearly not been easy to train and is lightly raced for his age, but we know that this superb surface suits him and his turn of foot could prove decisive in what is a tremendous renewal.

Race 9 Meydan (12.30pm ET): Life is good

The best horse in the world will strut his stuff in the Dubai World Cup and it’s hard to envisage defeat. He is drawn in stall 1 and as long as he jumps smartly out of the gates he looks set to utilise his abundant speed and make all against the rail. He was hugely impressive when he beat Knicks Go in the Pegasus and his Breeders Cup Mile win was the best performance on a stellar card. He has to go one furlong further than he ever has and that is a concern. His sire Into Mischief tends to get fast horses rather than stayers, however I think this horse can carry his speed which is often something that is overlooked in dirt racing. Afterall 6f horses in the States regularly stretch out to a one turn mile successfully. I think his speed will carry him clear of his field and the advantage he could establish will be too much for the likes of Hot Rod Charlie to breach. His trainer Todd Pletcher told me he is “Super Confident”. I will leave it at that.

Saturday March 5, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Super Saturday:

Super Saturday has always been an excellent meeting as well as providing plenty of clues for World Cup night.

I have five selections at a range of prices, three on the turf and two on the dirt:

7:45am (ET) Meydan: Man of Promise

You couldn’t fail to be impressed by this horse last time out here at Meydan. He travelled strongly and quickened up instantly when asked to beat the useful Lazuli. That horse has franked the form since by winning the Group 2 Blue Point sprint. Man of Promise failed to move on last year after winning a Handicap here. He was well beaten in this race and on World Cup night, but I am hoping that he can move forward now and back up that impressive win last time out. He is still lightly raced and when he is right, he looks to be a Group 1 sprinter.

8:20am (ET) Meydan: Bendoog

This horse has only had two career starts, yet he is already very useful and could have more to give. He won his maiden here, beating future winners, and then was an excellent 4th in the UAE 2000 Guineas. He shaped like the best horse in that race as he forced an overly strong pace and ultimately did much better than any of those who attended that pace. That he was able to keep on and finish fourth is a testament to his raw ability. A more judicious ride will bring out the latent potential that this horse possesses. He is likely to be ridden prominently from stall 2, and hopefully he will not be compromised by fierce early fractions this time.

8:55am (ET) Meydan: Go On

Hypothetical sets the standards here, but stall 14 is far from ideal so I will pass him by for Go On who hails from the in-form yard of Doug O’Neill. He has had 4 winners at the Carnival and this horse gives him a shot at winning another big prize. He was a bit of a disappointment on his Meydan debut where he missed the break, got caught in kickback and never got involved. That run will have sharpened him up and I expect a much more prominent display jumping from stall 2. He owns the best single piece of form in the race having finished 4th just 5 lengths behind Hot Rod Charlie in the Grade 2 San Antonio stakes at Santa Anita. A repeat of that effort will see him go well here at a big price.

9:55am (ET) Meydan: D’Bai

D’Bai goes very well at this track and was miles better than the bare result here last time out. He was held up from his wide draw in a steadily run affair. He then made an effort five wide turning for home and could not run down horses that were sprinting off steady fractions. He did travel very well in that race and looked to be in great form. He is once again jumping from a wide stall (15), but he will be held up and as long as he gets a decent pace to go at, I can see him rattling home here under James Doyle. He won the Grade 2 Zabeel mile here last season, but this 7-furlong trip is fine for him given the amount of pace that he shows.

10:30am (ET) Meydan: Barney Roy

I like the look of Barney Roy from stall 2 here. He should get a good trip tracking the pace and may get first run on some of the hold-up horses like Lord Glitters. That horse beat Barney Roy narrowly in the Bahrain International Trophy, but Barney Roy had done plenty of running close to the strong pace and saw off all the challengers until being mugged late on by Lord Glitters. He figures to get a good trip here and can reverse the Bahrain form under an aggressive James Doyle ride.

Friday February 25, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 7:

 A low-key Carnival meeting on account of the action in Saudi this weekend and the looming presence of Super Saturday next week.

Nonetheless I am going with four selections to hopefully back up the two winners we had last week.

9:00am (ET) Meydan: Rawy

The drop back in trip can see this horse once again break well and make all against the rail. He disappointed in the UAE 2000 Guineas where he was ridden aggressively from the front over 1800 metres but did not get home. He is now down in grade and trip and looks set to dominate this field from stall 2. This is not a strong race and Mikael Barzalona should be able to dictate matters from the front. He is a confident selection to land the spoils.

10:10am (ET) Meydan: Bochart

This talented sprinter has been out of form this season, but now that he has had his sights lowered and returns to a viable level he is very much of interest. The last time he ran in a handicap was here at Meydan, where off a mark of 98 he made all for a comfortable success. He gets to race off a mark of 95 again here and that gives him a good chance of getting back into the winners’ enclosure. My confidence is increased by the fact that he has a low draw in stall 4 and I anticipate him making a bold show from the front.

10:45am (ET) Meydan: Star Safari

Charlie Appleby has won the last 4 renewals of this race and he can win it again with this classy individual. He won the Listed Zabeel Turf last time out with a bit in hand, after not experiencing the easiest of passages through the race. His trademark turn-of-foot got him out of trouble. He also won this race last year from Bedouins Story. That race didn’t look very deep, and this is not that deep either, thus I am expecting a repeat performance from this talented gelding.

11:20am (ET) Meydan: Nations Pride

New Kingdom will be a short-priced favourite here for Charlie Appleby and the step up to 10 furlongs will certainly suit him, but I thought he looked one paced here last time and am disconcerted by the fitting of a hood. I prefer to side with his stable companion Nations Pride. He is lightly raced having just had three starts in the UK and has won two of them. He was impressive in gaining both off those wins showing a decent turn-of-foot in races that were run at steady gallops. Stall 2 should enable him to get a decent handy stalking position and his change of gear could prove decisive.

Friday February 18, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 6:

Lord Glitters was a winner here last week on the Dubai International Carnival blog and I have five selections this week across the six-race card. The action is a bit low key compared to previous weeks but still provides competitive action and some good opportunities to find a winner.

The dirt track did not perform to type last week, it was deep and slow and suited closers rather than front-runners. This is unusual, but it would pay to tread carefully with the dirt races this week, bearing in mind that the pace bias may well return.

9:00am (ET) Meydan: Desert Safari

I am taking a chance on this horse from the Salem Bin Ghadayer yard despite his wide draw in stall 10. Essentially, he is a speedy horse who looks sure to be ridden aggressively, he is likely to lead and if the track has returned to type may be capable of making all. His UK form is certainly good enough to win a race of this type. He boasts a very good second place last season at Ascot in a Class 2 handicap off a mark of 95. He seemed to handle the dirt on his first Meydan start where he showed bright speed before weakening in the straight as if needing the run. He will be much better for that effort and with the best gate jockey in Dubai in the form of Mikael Barzalona I expect him to jump quickly and lead this field all the way to the wire.

9:35am (ET) Meydan: Silent Speech

I see no reason why this horse cannot back up his recent success over course and distance. He is a lightly raced Dubawi with only three starts to his name, two of which he has won. He looks certain to improve, yet to win this he will just have to repeat his effort last time out. He travelled strongly in that race and from off the pace hit the line strongly to win going away. For a horse with a fairly stout pedigree on the Dams side he is speedy and his main asset seems to be a bright turn of foot that he has displayed in winning his last two starts. He can go in again.

10:10 am (ET) Meydan: Shahama

The 1000 Guineas winner should make short work of this Oaks field with the slight caveat that she is as of yet unproven at this 9 furlong trip. This 3yo fillies’ division is traditionally quite weak and she has looked to be head and shoulders above her rivals. She was very impressive in the Guineas cruising clear of her rivals to win by an untroubled 3 and ¾ lengths. She has a furlong further to go today, but that should not trouble her and there are no new shooters turning up in this race to provide a new test. It is possible that she is not only the best 3yo filly around in the UAE, but the best 3yo full stop.

10:45am (ET) Meydan: He’s A Balter

I am taking a chance on this Australian raider who should be a decent price. I thought he shaped like the best horse in the race when finishing second to Batwan on his Meydan debut. He travelled strongly and quickened up to lead just after passing two furlongs out. He looked the winner before Batwan, whom he had shot past when he quickened, came back to catch him close home. If his challenge had been delayed a little longer I believe he would have won. This is a slightly tougher task, however I felt he was a horse to follow after his recent effort and I am not deserting him now. Watch for him swooping late here on this fast turf sprint-track.

11:20am (ET) Meydan: Manobo

William Buick and Charlie Appleby can combine for another winner at this year’s Carnival with this unbeaten gelding. Four wins in Europe preface his Meydan debut and he looks to be a thoroughly progressive son of Sea the Stars. He was a 10-length winner of a listed race at St Cloud before stepping up in class to win a Grade 2 at Longchamp. Charlie Appleby has a great record in this race, including with the useful Ispolini and Secret Advisor and this horse looks capable of following in their hoof prints. It is possible that he may make up into a Dubai Gold Cup horse and if that is a legitimate aim, he should be able to land this prize. William Buick needs to overcome a wide draw in stall 10 but given a smooth passage I think he will win.

Friday February 11, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 5:

Hot Rod Charlie was a short-priced winner here on the Dubai blog last week. In winning he thrust himself firmly into the World Cup picture and if Life Is Good fails to turn up, he will most likely go off favourite for the big race at the end of March.

Five selections this week on an excellent 7 race card with the UAE 2000 Guineas, the Singspiel Stakes & the Curling Stakes taking centre stage. Good luck!

10:10am (ET) Meydan: Bendoog

A pacey front-runner drawn in stall 1 on the dirt here at Meydan is usually a potent weapon and given the pace that Bendoog showed on his debut he should be able to take full advantage of his draw. He won his maiden here in mid-January and that form is working out well. The third, Withering, won the Al Bastikiya trial last week in good style and Bendoog thrashed him by more than 10 lengths in that maiden. He is bred to be useful on Dirt being by Gun Runner out of a Mineshaft mare and must be supported here to back up that impressive debut win despite the step up in class. He rates as a solid play here.

10:45am (ET) Meydan: Modern News

On paper this horse looks to be the second string for Charlie Appleby behind the useful course winner D’Bai, but he figures to get a much better trip than that horse and for me is favoured here. James Doyle rides and the horse comes here on the back of three smooth victories in the UK. Those wins were achieved in decent company and there is no doubt he is ready for this Listed level. He travels very strongly in his races and stall 1 will help him adopt the perfect stalking trip. In contrast D’Bai needs to overcome stall 11 after a below par run when last seen at Newmarket. Modern News is the right play here on this occasion in a race that is fiercely competitive.

11:20am (ET) Meydan: Salute the Soldier

This horse should improve from his debut effort when fifth to Golden Goal in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge. That was his first run for 10 months and Adrie De Vries was not hard on him once victory was not possible. The rail on the dirt was very good that day and he was forced to race wide in the home straight which also didn’t help his cause. He should strip fitter now and a return to the form that saw him win Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge last season would be good enough to take this. Dubai Icon and Rebel’s Romance provide tough opposition, but this can go to the consistent Salute the Soldier.

11:55am (ET) Meydan: Lord Glitters

I will take a chance that this classy grey can get the set up that he requires and land another big prize. The key to him is a decent gallop from which he can close strongly from the back of the field. When he gets the right scenario he is bordering on Group 1 class and with plenty of pace on here he could get exactly what he wants. He renews rivalry with Zakouski whom he beat in this last year – Zakouski then turned the tables in the Al Rashadiya where the pace scenario was all against Lord Glitters. A wide draw is of little concern given his hold up style and jockey Danny Tudhope gets a great tune out of him. He looks sure to run a big race.

12:30pm (ET) Meydan: Canvassed

This horse is a classy sprinter. He won the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday last season and then was an excellent third in the Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night. His reappearance was a little underwhelming behind Al Tariq in the Dubawi Stakes, but it’s entirely possible that he needed the run and will come on a lot for that effort. There is a lot of pace here courtesy of the wide drawn Al Tariq, Meraas and Bet Law and that should be perfect for this horse who likes to stalk the pace. Jockey Andrea Atzeni has not enjoyed the best of luck at Meydan so far, but this is a chance for him to put his recent experience of the surface to good use. I like Canvassed to overhaul the pacesetters in the run for home.

Friday February 4, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 4:

Three winners last week at Meydan, albeit at short prices, has given this column a bit of impetus and I am going to attack this week’s card with five selections.

Good luck everybody.

9:35am ET Meydan: Rudy Trigger

This Argentinian raider is fully 19 pounds clear on official ratings from his nearest rival. He is rated 110 having won three of his five starts in his native country and will be very hard to beat here. He handles a dirt surface and has plenty of pace which are attributes that are vital to winning on the dirt at Meydan. In his latest Grade 2 success he made all to win by 5 lengths in a very fast time of 1m 10.23s. If he reproduces that effort he will win by clear daylight. Opposition is thin on the ground here and from stall 4 I can see him dominating his rivals and sauntering to success.

10:10am ET Meydan: New Science

This horse makes his Dubai debut today and can continue to progress after displaying plenty of ability in his four runs in Europe in 2021. He won two of those starts, most notably a Listed race at Ascot where he beat the future dual Grade 1 winner Angel Blue. Following that Ascot success, he was unlucky not to go close to winning at Longchamp in the Prix De La Rochette. He was continually denied a run having travelled against the rail and once extricated was then badly hampered. That run is a complete right off. He is better judged on his Ascot win and with plenty of stamina on the Dam’s side of the pedigree this step up to a mile looks sure to suit, as will further in time. He is drawn widest of all in stall 7, but in such a small field William Buick should be able to fashion a decent trip.

10:45am ET Meydan: Tuz

Tuz is tough, consistent and mildly progressive and with doubts about the likely favourite Hypothetical this horse can take advantage. Those doubts about Hypothetical arise because of a lacklustre reappearance, which may be explained away by lack of fitness, but that is dark art stuff in my opinion. I prefer the consistent Tuz who won the Dubai Creek mile last time out with some useful horses beaten behind him. He was third in the Burj Nahaar last season behind a fully firing Midnight Sands and this renewal of the Firebreak Stakes is not as strong as that race. He hails from the in-form Bupat Seemar yard and figures to get a decent stalking trip on a track that seemed to be more of a level playing field last week.

11:20am Meydan: Hot Rod Charlie

The more I look at this race and try to convince myself that this horse is vulnerable the stronger I feel about his chance. He is the best dirt horse in the race by some way. He was third in the 2021 Kentucky derby, second in the 2021 Belmont Stakes, fourth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic and last time out was beaten just a nose in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes. That form shines like a beacon over what his rivals have achieved. He is a front-runner which is no bad thing at Meydan and can get to the front from stall 3. I am a fan of Kafoo who is lightly raced and will come on a lot for his experience in Round 1 of this Al Maktoum Challenge, but round two could be beyond him in the face of this classy American raider.

11:55am Meydan: Violent Justice

On Christmas Eve this horse stepped out on a racecourse for the second time in his career at Jebel Ali. He did so after a fairly promising start to his career at Meydan where he was slowly away, faced kickback, and ran with promise to finish 6th beaten just over 4 lengths. To say he learnt from that at Jebel Ali would be an understatement. He won impressively by 10 lengths in maiden company and is worth his place in this higher grade now. He has a useful dirt pedigree and is trained by Doug Watson who has such a sure touch with horses that he runs on this surface. He is worth chancing against a number of Godolphin horses who are not really bred to go on Dirt.

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 4:

Three winners last week at Meydan, albeit at short prices, has given this column a bit of impetus and I am going to attack this week’s card with five selections.

Good luck everybody.

9:35am ET Meydan: Rudy Trigger

This Argentinian raider is fully 19 pounds clear on official ratings from his nearest rival. He is rated 110 having won three of his five starts in his native country and will be very hard to beat here. He handles a dirt surface and has plenty of pace which are attributes that are vital to winning on the dirt at Meydan. In his latest Grade 2 success he made all to win by 5 lengths in a very fast time of 1m 10.23s. If he reproduces that effort he will win by clear daylight. Opposition is thin on the ground here and from stall 4 I can see him dominating his rivals and sauntering to success.

10:10am ET Meydan: New Science

This horse makes his Dubai debut today and can continue to progress after displaying plenty of ability in his four runs in Europe in 2021. He won two of those starts, most notably a Listed race at Ascot where he beat the future dual Grade 1 winner Angel Blue. Following that Ascot success, he was unlucky not to go close to winning at Longchamp in the Prix De La Rochette. He was continually denied a run having travelled against the rail and once extricated was then badly hampered. That run is a complete right off. He is better judged on his Ascot win and with plenty of stamina on the Dam’s side of the pedigree this step up to a mile looks sure to suit, as will further in time. He is drawn widest of all in stall 7, but in such a small field William Buick should be able to fashion a decent trip.

10:45am ET Meydan: Tuz

Tuz is tough, consistent and mildly progressive and with doubts about the likely favourite Hypothetical this horse can take advantage. Those doubts about Hypothetical arise because of a lacklustre reappearance, which may be explained away by lack of fitness, but that is dark art stuff in my opinion. I prefer the consistent Tuz who won the Dubai Creek mile last time out with some useful horses beaten behind him. He was third in the Burj Nahaar last season behind a fully firing Midnight Sands and this renewal of the Firebreak Stakes is not as strong as that race. He hails from the in-form Bupat Seemar yard and figures to get a decent stalking trip on a track that seemed to be more of a level playing field last week.

11:20am Meydan: Hot Rod Charlie

The more I look at this race and try to convince myself that this horse is vulnerable the stronger I feel about his chance. He is the best dirt horse in the race by some way. He was third in the 2021 Kentucky derby, second in the 2021 Belmont Stakes, fourth in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Classic and last time out was beaten just a nose in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes. That form shines like a beacon over what his rivals have achieved. He is a front-runner which is no bad thing at Meydan and can get to the front from stall 3. I am a fan of Kafoo who is lightly raced and will come on a lot for his experience in Round 1 of this Al Maktoum Challenge, but round two could be beyond him in the face of this classy American raider.

11:55am Meydan: Violent Justice

On Christmas Eve this horse stepped out on a racecourse for the second time in his career at Jebel Ali. He did so after a fairly promising start to his career at Meydan where he was slowly away, faced kickback, and ran with promise to finish 6th beaten just over 4 lengths. To say he learnt from that at Jebel Ali would be an understatement. He won impressively by 10 lengths in maiden company and is worth his place in this higher grade now. He has a useful dirt pedigree and is trained by Doug Watson who has such a sure touch with horses that he runs on this surface. He is worth chancing against a number of Godolphin horses who are not really bred to go on Dirt.

Friday January 28, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 3:

So far, not so good with selections at the Carnival with some unfathomable results and a much better rail on the dirt track than could have been anticipated at this early stage of the Carnival.

There are five races on the turf this week, three on the dirt and I five selections on an excellent eight race card:

10:10am ET Meydan: Dubai Future

This horse is a class above his rivals and if he doesn’t bounce out of his impressive win here last time out, he will be very hard to beat. He has abundant back class including a fifth in the Sheema Classic last season behind Mishriff and he was most impressive when winning here at Meydan a fortnight ago. He destroyed a useful field displaying a fine turn of foot and beat the useful Star Safari by 5 1/4 lengths. A repeat performance will see him winning this easily. He has to give 3lb to his rivals here but looks to be in a class of his own in this field and he can be another winner at this year’s Carnival for the in-form Saeed Bin Suroor.

10:45am ET Meydan: Shahama

On official ratings this horse is 12lb clear of her rivals and should win even if she can’t grab the golden rail on the dirt. This filly has been impressive winning her last two races at Meydan and has found herself in a particularly weak renewal of the UAE 1000 Guineas. She won a maiden here last year and was then impressive when winning the trial for this race. She clearly handles the dirt surface well and a look at her pedigree highlights that she is bred to be a high-class dirt per former. She is a half-sister to the Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky and in a weak field she should be hard to beat.

11:20am ET Meydan: Star Safari

This horse looked as if he retained all his ability when finishing a decent second to Dubai Future on his first start for 4 months. He was caught too far back given how that race was run and it was quite eye-catching the way he ran on strongly in the closing stages, without being given a hard time. He has good form here at Meydan having won three of his six starts and he is well drawn here in stall 3 over his preferred 10-furlong trip. He can give Charlie Appleby another Carnival winner.

11:55am ET Meydan: Desert Safari

This was a more than useful horse for Mark Johnston last season and is a very interesting recruit for Salem Bin Gahdayer. He is unproven on dirt but has loads of early pace and Mikael Barzalona is a master on this dirt track and it is entirely possible that from a good draw in stall 2 he will be sent to the front and make all the running. He will need to hold the rail and keep the speedy Bochart outside him. If he does that he will be very hard to catch from the front.

12:30pm ET Meydan: Real World

I have always been a huge fan of this horse who possesses a huge speed figure when winning at Ascot last June. He has to give weight away all around in this Group 2 contest – but he is better than all of his rivals. He has an inside draw in stall 1 and with the rail out 12 metres on the turf that is an advantage over those drawn wide. He boasts a very good season in 2021 which includes a defeat of Lord Glitters in the Strensall Stakes at York and a facile win in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot. He towers over these in terms of class and can complete a good day for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor.

Friday January 21, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 2:

Week one was a nightmare from a punting point of view – all selections running poorly. What was reassuring was the fact that pace on the rail on the dirt track looked to confer a big advantage and it will continue to do so throughout the Carnival. The turf course looked to ride as well as always without the usual Godolphin dominance. I expect that to change this week.

I am going with four selections again this week:

9:35am ET Meydan: New Kingdom

I am always keen to follow lightly raced progeny of Dubawi as they progress through their career and I take this promising gelding to make big strides now he is in Dubai. He has a lovely pedigree and built on his debut fifth at Newmarket with a win at Haydock where he showed he had learnt plenty from his debut and benefited from stepping up to 1600 metres. He goes another furlong here which will definitely suit him and he is well drawn in stall 2. He made all when he won last time and William Buick may adopt the same tactics from his good draw. He is the best-bred horse in the race and has a progressive profile and that makes him an attractive punting proposition.

10:10am ET Meydan: Albahr

This is the UAE 2000 Guineas trial and I believe this is one of the best horses to have contested this race for a number of years. I say that because he is already a Grade 1 winner. That win came in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine on his final start last season. Prior to that he won three races on the bounce in the UK including a Listed race at Salisbury. The big question he has to answer is whether he will handle the dirt surface. Given that he is by the multi surface sire Dubawi out of a mare who was by the dirt sire Street Cry there is every chance that a dirt surface will be no problem and he could improve for it. If he handles it he wins.

11:55am ET Meydan: Freedom Fighter

The Seemar team have farmed this race recently winning four of the last five renewals and I am taking a chance that this recruit for their Bob Baffert yard in the USA can continue their domination of this race. He brings Graded stakes form from America and handles the dirt. He has only had 4 starts in his career and after winning over 5 furlongs on debut was asked to step up to 7 and 8 furlongs. Now back to sprinting he can take a big step forward and outline the skills of the Seemar team with sprinters. He is a sporting selection to upset some tough local sprinters in a good renewal of this race.

12:30pm ET Meydan: Rebel’s Romance

Once again I go to a Dubawi / Street Cry cross (see Albahr above). This time we have a horse who has already proved his worth on the dirt here at Meydan, being the winner of the UAE Derby last year. He now needs to step up meeting older horses for the first time but given his dominant display in the UAE Derby and the fact that he is unbeaten at Meydan he is worth supporting here. His only career defeat has only come in Saudi where the track is completely different to Meydan and this is a track which really suits this horse. He is reasonably well drawn in stall 5 and is worth supporting to complete a stellar day for the Godolphin blue.

Friday January 14, 2022: FREE Past Performances

Angus McNae’s Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 1:

The 2022 Dubai International Carnival at Magnificent Meydan where the Dirt meets the Turf begins on Friday. The action gets underway with two feature races – the Al Maktoum Challenge on the Dirt and the Cape Verdi on the Turf. Both races have attracted plenty of runners and the whole card is of the highest quality, with some decent international challengers adding spice to the meeting.

Four selections this week. All the best!

9:35am ET Meydan: Taking Names

Despite a dull effort last time out I think this Doug Watson trained colt can bounce back to the sort of form that saw him when his maiden impressively here last November. In that race he travelled powerfully and thrashed Summer Is Tomorrow, who went on to win a maiden by 4 1/2 lengths next time out. Faith in the selection requires forgiveness for Taking Names did not fire last time up, but he was slowly away and had to take a lot of kickback. He merely plugged on in that race and it’s possible that he recoiled a bit from his big first-time up effort. Pat Dobbs will be keen to get him to break better this time and make full use of his inside draw in stall 1.

10:10am ET Meydan: Wirko

You won’t go far wrong if you follow Charlie Appleby and William Buick on the Turf at Meydan and this lightly raced individual looks the ideal type too thrive under these conditions. He has only had four career starts, winning two of them and his win in the Listed Blue Riband trial at Epsom was achieved despite inexperience – and won in a fast time. Compared to most of his rivals today he is relatively unexposed and open to improvement. He has been off the track since running poorly in the Chester Vase in May where the prevailing soft ground may have been against him. The beautiful turf carpet at Meydan will definitely suit him and it looks like he has been saved for a big tilt at this year’s carnival. William Buick will have to negate the disadvantage of stall 10 but apart from that I can see very few negatives as regards this horse’s chance.

11:20am ET Meydan: Midnight Sands

This horse is a Meydan specialist having won 6 of his 9 starts here on the Dirt track. This one-turn mile is ideal for him, and he has had a recent run to blow the cobwebs away. On the face of it he was a little disappointing on his return to action, but he endured a bad wide trip and was not persevered with when beaten. That run should see him spot on for this and against a few rivals who have Saudi on their radar he may be sharper than some of them. He is highly thought of as evidenced by the fact that he went off favourite for the Godolphin mile last year on World Cup night and Pat Dobbs has chosen him rather than the useful Golden Goal. This is a deep dirt race with a lot of pace on but this will suit Midnight Sands who already boasts a Grade 3 win here.

11:55am ET Meydan: Wedding Dance

Charlie Appleby has won this race for the last three years and can land it again with this progressive filly. She will need to take a step forward from her cosy Wolverhampton success last time up, but she won that race in a very good time and it has always been a maxim of mine when assessing racehorses to ask not what they beat but how fast did they run. She was very strong in the closing stages of that race and stepping up to a mile here given her stamina laden pedigree can only be a plus. She is well berthed in stall 1 for a ground saving trip and I expect William Buick to angle her out in the home straight and allow her to finish her race off strongly. This is never a very strong fillies contest, and she looks to be a standout against this opposition.

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