Angus McNae's top tips for week two of the Dubai Carnival

By Angus McNae
Wed 9 Jan 2019

The action at Meydan last week has whetted the appetite for a very good card this week where Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge on the dirt takes centre stage.

I have four selections but first a quick summary of what happened last week and notes for your Racing TV tracker.

Race 1 won by Bin Battuta: Off a big lay off he won a turf race that was run at a crawl. He sprinted better than his rivals.

Race 2 Al Hayette: Tough filly, faced kickback . Guineas and Oaks contender. A proper dirt horse.

Race 3. Faatinah: Best fresh, he won off a break in an evenly run turf sprint .

Rsce 4. Ravens Corner: Won the feature off a perfect trip and pace scenario. Life will get tougher for him.

Race 5. Dream Castle: Classy performer who finally rediscovered his mojo after a gelding operation.

Race 6. Another Batt: Trainer George Scott won with the Al Fahidi Fort bound campaigner. Tough and consistent.

Here are my four for this week.

3.05 Meydan: Estihdaaf at 7-1 with Sky Bet

Saeed Bin Suroor and Christophe Soumillon teamed up for two winners in week one and can keep up the good work here.

Estihdaaf has only raced three times, winning on his final start last year. His bare form looks solid enough and his time figures are OK but his potential is enormous.

I expect him to step up markedly on his two year old form, which he will have to do to beat Sporting Gesture - who clearly sets a tough standard but who will have to break well from stall 1 and could face pressure for the lead.

At 7-1, Estihdaaf makes sense here.

3.40 Meydan: Walking Thunder at 15-2 with Betfair

Good turf horses can fail when faced with dirt for the first time . Derby winner Masar is a classic example of this and those wanting to back Royal Marine at a short price will have that Masar performance etched in their minds.

For me, it makes Royal Marine unbackable here at a short price.

He does have a pedigree that suggests he will handle the surface and he is the best horse in the race but why is he racing here when his potential for turf is there for all to see?

I prefer Walking Thunder, who has been impressive in two wins on the dirt at Meydan and has the early speed to overcome stall 15.

He is speedy and I cannot deny the last furlong here is a worry but this field is weak and if the favourite does not take to the surface then this horse can capitalise.

4.50 Meydan: Heavy Metal at 9-4 with bet365

The feature event can go for the second year in succession to Heavy Metal.

It is a test of speed over a one-turn mile and this horse is a specialist miler. I think he will dominate this field from the front as he should be able to get the rail, which at the domestic meeting on Saturday seemed an advantage.

I have great respect for Gold Town and North America in an above average renewal of this race but on this occasion I think the true miler will win.

Things will change when it comes to Round 2.

6.00 Meydan: Silent Attack at a general 6-1

Has clearly had big training issues but he is clearly highly thought of and worth persevering with.

Off a 14-month lay-off he was an impressive winner at Lingfield in April 2018. He then disappointed in the Victoria Cup at Ascot and this will be his first run since.

He raced here at Meydan last season, where he was pitched into the Singspiel Stakes when connections could easily have opted for a handicap, and his sixth place was a good effort.

Soumillon takes over in the saddle on a horse who might just be best caught fresh.

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