Ihtimal can be Guineas queen
Man On The Spot previews the UAE 1000 Guineas card from Meydan as the Dubai Carnival continues.
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TAMARKUZ scored three times on Polytrack for Godolphin and was made favourite for his comeback over the track and trip last week but failed to fire after missing the break. He was behind third-placed Eastern Rules that day but is expected to reverse the placings and get back to winning ways. Alnashmy followed his victory in a non-Carnival handicap with an even better run when just failing to catch Zain Shamardal over a mile so he should go well while Russian Rock is the star turn on Jebel Ali's Dirt sprint track though he's never won beyond 6f. My Freedom started favourite for a strong handicap a month ago but never really got into the action and can do much better than that. Spirit Of Battle ran quite well behind Jamesie a fortnight ago and is at the right end of the handicap while the ex Andre Fabre-trained Dragon Falls has won on Deauville's Fibresand and looks just the type to do well in handicaps here.
Figure Of Speech, beaten a short-head by Brown Sugar in Kempton's Group 3 Sirenia Stakes, didn't appear to be fancied and never got into the action on his debut behind Emirates Flyer here three weeks ago when Najm Suhail finished just in front and Journeyman a couple of lengths behind. His stable is also represented by Pretend, who made all for a very impressive victory over this trip at Kempton in November and is the choice of Mickael Barzalona, and AUTUMN LILY who is handed the vote. She's a three times winner on fast ground and will be better for her run behind her stable companion Wedding Ring in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial where she only faded in the closing stages. Man Amongst Men was also involved in the race won by Emirates Flyer and was well beaten but will have come on for the run and can get much closer.
Mike De Kock's three southern hemisphere-bred fillies have to concede weight all round, as two of them did in the Trial which was won in emphatic style by Wedding Ring from Magrooma. That was a very slowly run affair however and the runner-up, who was having her first start since July, should make more of a race of it this time. Christophe Soumillon, who rode her that day, has chosen Mensoora this time and she will have come on for last week's run behind Certify in the Cape Verdi. IHTIMAL was only a neck behind Wedding Ring in a Newmarket maiden last June and did exceptionally well subsequently, scoring twice at Group level including the May Hill at Doncaster. She ended her campaign with a third place in the Fillies' Mile and her overall form gives her the edge. The remainder look as though they have plenty to do.
Star Empire won this last year when CERTERACH was close behind in third off level weights. The former made an eye-catching reappearance behind Sheikhzedroad over a trip much too short and that will have put him straight for a crack at completing the double. The selection could hardly have had a better preparation, coming with a late run to catch Topclas over 1m4f and running on strongly with the favourite Excellent Result not far behind and the consistent Jutland close up. The winner is back on the same mark as when runner-up in a Group 2 here in March with Star Empire and Tenenbaum just behind so looks the one to be on. Tenenbaum ran two poor races in the UK last summer but should do better back here. Manalapan tackles this trip for the first time but hasn't been stopping over middle distances while Statutory stays extreme distances and was last seen scoring over 2m2f at Pontefract by 14 lengths.
This looks a tremendous trial for the Dubai World Cup. Hunter's Light arrived here from France a year ago to capture this race then the Group 1 Round 3 of the same event when Prince Bishop finished third and Surfer fourth. He started favourite for the World Cup but wasn't at his best and has since raced exclusively at the highest level. Godolphin jockey arrangements can be misleading but the fact that William Buick is on board suggests he might just need the run. AFRICAN STORY, who was just in front of him in the World Cup, hasn't run since but has a tremendous record returning from a break and is handed the vote. The South African Group 1 winner Heavy Metal will have needed his run behind Anaerobia two weeks ago while Battle Of Marengo, a close fourth in the Epsom Derby, is an exciting addition to the string of UAE champion trainer Ernst Oertel. The much travelled 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden adds lustre to a sparkling line-up, though he generally just needs his opening run of the campaign.
EL ESTRUENDOSO has had very little experience but looked set to gain his first success outside of South Africa when moving smoothly into the lead at the furlong pole over 1m1f here two weeks ago. He couldn't hold the late thrust of Gabrial but this shorter trip is in his favour and compensation awaits. Banna Boirche ran some fair races on Tapeta here a year ago and the return to Turf can see him go well from what is now a decent mark. Disa Leader, a stablemate of the selection, has run well here in the past without winning while Dux Scholar is taking a hefty drop in grade and has been lowered a few pounds in the ratings. Marco Botti's acquisition from Brazil, Edu Querido, is an unknown quantity and worth noting for the future but Gold Pearl does best on Jebel Ali's Dirt surface. Chil The Kite never got involved on his debut here a fortnight ago but is very much better than that and looks a threat along with Ocean Tempest, who will appreciate returning to Turf.