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

By Angus McNae
Thu 9 Jan 2020

Week one of the Dubai International Carnival brought with it one outstanding performance from the three-year-old filly Final Song.

She posted a really good time figure which makes her a leading candidate for the UAE 1000 Guineas.

This division is traditionally quite weak, but this filly looks to be an outstanding leader of the group and the two fillies who finished behind her are clearly useful too.

The Doug Watson team are hopeful that Rio Angie can turn the form around in the Guineas but there can be little excuse for her defeat here and, at the moment, Final Song clearly heads up this group.

My eyecatcher for your Racing TV tracker from last week is Dubai Legacy. He finished fifth to Major Partnership on the turf and did well to finish so close having been slowly away and was last turning into the home straight.

This looked to be a strong race and Dubai Legacy is likely to be a future Carnival winner.

Week two brings with it a superb renewal of Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge which figures on an excellent eight-race card and I have another four selections for you this week. Best of luck.

3.05 Meydan: Ekhtiyaar at 9-4 with William Hill

This horse improved a good deal on the turf towards the end of last season at Meydan and he can regain the winning thread here.

He was impressive in victory here last February and was deemed good enough to contest the Al Quoz Sprint afterwards.

He finished ninth in that Group One contest and had a break afterwards before reappearing on the dirt behind Ibn Malik at a domestic meeting here at Meydan.

He will strip fitter for that and a run on the dirt will have really sharpened him up for a return to his favoured turf strip at Meydan.

4.15 Meydan: Benbatl at a general 1-2

Benbatl impressed at Newmarket on his return last season

This former Dubai Turf winner is one of the best horses we will see at the Carnival this year and his early appearance adds a classy edge to this card.

On decent ground, he is one of the best horses in the world from a mile to ten furlongs and he will take some beating here.

He was an impressive winner in a fast time after a lay-off at Newmarket last season before finding the ground too soft and essentially bounced following that big Newmarket effort when he ran in the QEII on British Qipco Champions Day at Ascot.

He has had time to get over that now and although he will return at restrictive odds, he will be very hard to beat here at a track that suits him well.

4.50 Meydan: Zakouski at a general 11-10

This horse has clearly had training problems, but Charlie Appleby has persevered with him and he could just be very well treated.

In late 2018, he comfortably beat the subsequent Group Two winner Headman and that gives us a real indication of his latent ability.

He has only run once since and that was when running disappointingly behind Skardu in the Craven Stakes. He has been off the track a long time and we are guessing as to how much ability that he retains, but he could just be way too good for this group.

Indeed, handicaps may be a thing of the past after this.

5.25 Meydan: Muntazah at a general 9-4

This is an excellent renewal of Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge and from a good draw in stall one, I believe Muntazah is the one who will dominate this field.

He set a new one-mile course record when winning here on Super Saturday last year and a performance something akin to that will see him win easily here.

He is tactically versatile so even if Heavy Metal crosses him for stall three, he can angle out and sit outside that rival into the straight.

His main rival is North America who was impressive when winning this last season but stall eight does not help him given that he likes to dominate and bully his rivals.

There is also a suspicion that Muntazah is best fresh and, if that is the case, he will be mighty hard to beat here.

Angus' four top tips for Meydan:

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