The Dubai Carnival provides horseracing fans with more brilliant action from Medan on Thursday 16th February, with four group-races to bet on, all of which are named after some of the equine stars that have been owned by Sheik Mohammed. These include the Group-2 Balanchine (3.05), the Group-3 Meydan Sprint (4.15), the Group-2 Zabeel Mile (4.50) and the Group-3 Dubai Millennium (6.00).
Balanchine Group 2 Stakes – Turf
Very Special lived-up to her name when winning last year’s renewal, and she preceded that win with victory in the Cape Verdi. She’s already doubled-up in that race this year, and should be good enough to complete the double-double here. The formbook says she hasn’t got that much in hand with the likes of Opal Tiara and Muffri’Ha on her recent victory, but she’s expected to find more if required. Silver Step may also improve on her fourth placed effort in the Cape Verdi, whilst her stablemate Via Firenze could get involved if she doesn’t miss the break again. However, it could be Roger Varian’s Realtra who gives the selection most to do if arriving in peak form.
Selection: Very Special – Win @ 8/11 SkyBet, WilliamHill, BetVictor, PaddyPower
Meydan Sprint Group 3 Stakes – Turf
Ertijaal has lots of excellent course and distance form over the 5-furlngs here at Meydan and, though he’s done all his winning in handicaps, he was second in a Group-1 two starts ago. He should again have the measure of The Happy Prince and Jungle Cat, whilst Speed Hawk’s recent handicap win leaves him with a bit to find. Sole Power enjoys a 5lb pull with Speed Hawk, however it’s asking a lot of the old boy to have the legs of the much younger and improving favourite.
Selection: Ertijaal – Win @ 8/13 WilliamHill, Betway
Zabeel Mile Sponsored By Gulf News Group 2 Stakes – Turf
Light The Lights can give jet-setting trainer Mike de Kock yet another Dubai Carnival winner here, after he holds many of these on a line through Championship. The stable may also have a 1-2 or even a 1-2-3 with both Flash Fire and Noah From Gia in the field, with the latter perhaps the biggest danger as he’s a Group-1 winner in South Africa. John Gosden’s Cymric may also have a say after winning a difficult looking handicap here two-weeks ago. Meanwhile, Gifted Master could also run well, but his stamina for a mile will be fully tested, and isn’t assured.
Selection: Light The Lights – Each Way @ 8/1 Ladbrokes, Coral
Dubai Millennium Stakes Sponsored By Wheels Group 3 Stakes – Turf
Zarak should prove hard to beat if he runs up to the form of his seconds to the mighty Almanzor in the French Derby, or in their subsequent run at Deauville, as that form looks head and shoulders above anything else. If he does get turned over, then it may well be by German Group-1 winner Elliptique, whilst the filly Promising Run also must have a chance with her allowance after a winning a Group-2 here last time.
Selection: Zarak – Win @ 6/4 PaddyPower, Boylesports, Betfred