With the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival fast approaching the season steps up a gear with today’s Garhoud Stakes, the opening Listed race of the season, at Meydan.
First run in the 2014, the feature has attracted a strong field with last season’s Jebel Ali Sprint runner-up High On Life looking to bounce back a er poor recent run at Jebel Ali.
Trained by Sandeep Jadhav, he has fitness advantage having his third run of the campaign and from a plum draw in stall one he can easily return to form, and clearly warrants consideration.
Doug Watson’s Drafted, Almanaara and Kimbear all return from their summer breaks and they command respect, as their proven under the conditions.
Preference is for the last-named, the mount of Pat Dobbs and the highest ranked runner in the line-up.
An impressive winner on his local debut in January, he produced a career-high performance when landing the Firebreak Sta-kes, Group 3.
He should go well despite his wide draw. Almanaara, to be ridden by Dane O’Neill for his main employer Sheikh Hamdan, is bidding to give his owner a fourth triumph in the race.
He has plenty to find on the official ratings but can’t be dismissed on the evidence of his wide-margin victory over the course and distance in March, when making all and clocking a slick time.
He’s well drawn and could reward eachway backers at decent odds.
Drafted emerged one for equine stars last winter, racking up a couple of wins at Meydan and giving his owner plenty of fun having been a bargain purchase at the Racing in Dubai Sale in September last year.
He can get behind in his races and may struggle to land a telling blow over this trip at this level.
Satish Seemar’s Raven’s Corner, who holds the Meydan 1400m dirt record, lacks a recent run but hails from a yard enjoying a good season, most notably at Meydan.
He should enjoy the strong pace and makes plenty of appeal in the hands of Richard Mullen, the season’s leading rider.
Ahmad bin Harmash holds the aces in Race 3, the 1600 conditions race which is restricted to two-year-olds.
He saddles Superior and WalkingThunder, the penalised pair are unbeaten having won on their racecourse debut and it’s hard to split them. Superior, the choice of stable jockey Conor Beasley, gets the vote.
He made a good impression here last month and should improve for the experience, while the step up in distance today is a plus.
Shanaghai City, a wide-margin winner of a Meydan barrier in early November, appeals on his racecourse debut and can’t be over-looked.
A £55,000 purchase at Ascot breeze-up sale in April, he has the assistance of Pat Cosgrave, an eye-catching booking.
Harmash and Beasley combine in the finale with the consistent Rodaini.
He has been knocking on the door since returning after his summer break, twice finishing in the frame at Meydan, the latest when chasing home the useful Cosmo Charlie.
Rodaini is fancied to finally open his UAE ac-count at the seventh time of asking.
Bochart, a winner on his last visit to Meydan, has obvious claims despite being done no favours by the draw, while Pillar Of Society, a recent winner on his seasonal debut, completes the shortlist.
Quartier Francais opened his account of the season on his most recent appearance, getting be er Gundogdu and 12 others.
He can follow up in the opening handicap, race 2.
He can defy a small rise in the ratings and take his UAE tally to three from eight appearances.
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