DOMESTIC MEYDAN cards somehow always seem less attractive once the Dubai World Cup Carnival gets underway, but this first, to be run on a Sunday, bucks the trend a bit. Seven races have been scheduled starting with a 1400m maiden for Purebred Arabians, with the Thoroughbreds swinging into action thereafter.

The feature among the septet is a 1600m turf handicap for 3yo and older horses, but since none below four have been entered, the field features those rated between 80 and 95. That has brought together quite a competitive field with Simon Crisford’s Franz Kafka, top rated at 95.

A score below him is Doug Watson’s two time British winner and UAE debutant Aquaman. Franz Kafka returns after a lengthy absence and might be in need of the run but a win in three starts here during 2020. Out of action since his finishing a battling second by a length behind Charlie Appleby’s Star Safari in a 2000m turf handicap here, the 6yo Dubawi gelding had two starts earlier put paid against a lesser field during on a domestic card, a race he won easily.

Almoreb for Musabbeh Al Mheiri has been consistent, but has time and again franked his form over Jebel Ali’s 1400m chute. His three UAE wins have all been there and his Emirati handler will be hoping he can put in a solid performance here after finishing a tepid but not too far fifth behind Silent Film in a 1400m event at Meydan a little over a fortnight back.

One that could really impress is Magical Land, a former Appleby trainee who is now in the care of Mike de Kock. The 4yo Frankel gelding scripted a terrific finish to mark his UAE debut, when edged by a nose by the aforementioned Silent Film.

He would definitely have come forward from that, just as his ratings have. And Appleby will look to deny his former ward by dispatching Valiant Prince, who runs fresh after his nine length victory in a novice event on the all-weather at Chelmsford in September.

The 4yo Dubawi gelding needed a fourth try to shed his maiden’s tag, but did it in style and is likely to be the one to watch here with his handler’s yard showing good early form. Rashed Ali Al Rayhi’s fields Zhou Storm, who hit the scene like a tornado when in the care of the trainer’s father.

A 4yo Due Diligence colt, he has sort of gone off the boil lately, with connections hoping the grass is not just proverbially green for them as he makes his turf debut. Moving to the 2000m turf handicap and Appleby’s Echo Point is likely to be on target with his two runners up finishes in better company working to his advantage as he drops down in class.

Ahmad bin Harmash schooled Symbolic Power won over this trip on the Lingfield all-weather last February and is bound to have his name in the hat as well, with the trainer’s first choice rider Ray Dawson’s choice to take the reins of Tell Me Thunder bringing the Swedish conditions winner into the mix as well.

Watson has a five pronged attack in the 1900m handicap on dirt with Far Sky, Pharoah King, Mulfit, Winners Club and Celtic Striker. Pharoah King registered back to back wins around this time last year, once beating Salem bin Ghadayer’s Book Review, but his only run this term yielded a distant seventh in a 1700m run at Sharjah, a race won well by Far Sky.

Fawzi Nass’ Kanood is also bound to draw attention having triumphed by over three lengths in a 1900m affair here in December. The 1200m sprint down the turf chute is a rather open contest with Al Mheiri’s Vasari eyeing a second course and distance win this term and Watson hoping the extra furlong will suit Jadwal, who posted a strong finish in a 1000m affair here two weeks ago.

Also part of the Thoroughbred action are a pair of maidens: one on 1400m of turf and the other over 1600m on the dirt facility. Both are aimed at 3yos.

Selections

Race 1: Sultana
Race 2: Shalfa
Race 3: Sari Dubai
Race 4: Jadwal
Race 5: Magical Land (Nap)
Race 6: Kanood (NB)
Race 7: Echo Point