More Meydan glory for De Kock
Man On The Spot previews all of Thursday's action from the Dubai Carnival at Meydan.
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Almost all of these have been racing on Tapeta, though not ANAEROBIO, who completed a hat-trick over the course and distance in a Grade 2 a month ago. Not surprisingly he's shot up the weights since his winning run began and stablemate Kavanagh, who was 5l behind in that latter race, should get a little closer without reversing the form. Mike De Kock also runs Zahee, who has only run on Tapeta here but who had some excellent form on Turf in Australia and looks a major threat. Free Wheeling was also behind the selection last month but has since ran very well behind Alexandra Palace over a mile and should now be at his peak.
Eastern Rules finished a length behind Zahee last month but that was his first start since August and he showed the benefit when landing a handicap two weeks ago for which a 3lb rise is by no means excessive.
It's difficult to know what to make of Taylor Said, a prolific winner on Dirt in the USA back in 2012 though not on the major tracks. Mickael Barzalona has opted to ride Dragon Falls for his stable and the Deauville Fibresand winner will be better for his run behind Eastern Rules a fortnight ago where he was noted making late headway. Intrigo also represents Charlie Appleby and he will have found 1m2f stretching his stamina last time after a very promising debut here. Mustaheel has gone well in his last two starts and as they were both over a trip too short he's expected to carry his big weight with distinction. Disa Leader has had his last eleven runs on this track and is rarely beaten far. He's gradually slipping to a winnable mark and Jonny Geroudis gets on well with him. STRING THEORY is handed the vote in a wide-open contest as he won a 1m1f handicap at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day and made a very promising start here over an extra furlong when runner-up to Ottoman Empire. This shorter trip won't be a problem. Banna Boirche has won nine races in his career and will have come on for his run a couple of weeks ago, his first since August.
Ahtoug had Hototo half-a-length behind when they were 1-2 over the track and trip in January. The winner couldn't defy a 6lb rise and better company three weeks later so the runner-up can reverse the form.
Dungannon beat a useful field of handicappers at Doncaster in October and though never in the hunt on his debut here last month will have gained benefit from the run and should make his presence felt. Catcall is comfortably the class act here and should have won the Prix De L'Abbaye. He has speed to burn but stops when hitting the front which he did at Longchamp and was caught by Maarek. Medicean Man likes it here and made a very satisfactory comeback behind Alsaaeqah with ABSTRACTION just behind and Monsieur Joe close up. There should be little between the trio again with the lightly-raced Abstraction perhaps the one to come out best and take this. The speedy Desert Law ran very well behind Ahtoug on his reappearance after a long break and should go well from this mark.
Red Duke returned to form at the non-Carnival fixture on Saturday though that was on Turf and he rarely runs on an artificial surface. Mike De Kock also runs Specific Gravity and recent winner ALEXANDRA PALACE, who has only been raised 3lb for last month's victory and can follow up in this big field as there looked more to come. Solar Deity was staying on strongly over that mile so the longer trip should work in his favour.
Cat O'Mountain is now unbeaten in five starts on the all-weather after a comfortable victory in a minor handicap last month. He'd definitely still on the upgrade but a 13lb rise may halt his winning run. Steeler, a close third in the 2012 Racing Post Trophy, has competed in two Group 2's here and performed with credit so he should be thereabouts now dropped to a realistic level.
In landing the Group 2 Cape Verdi over a mile last month, CERTIFY remained unbeaten after five starts. She was returning from an enforced absence that day and showed all of her old ability in beating three of today's rivals, L'Amour De Ma Vie, Pearl Of Africa and the very disappointing favourite Flotilla. Only the runner-up threatened at any stage and she can go well again though the main threat may emerge from Moment In Time. David Simcock's mare, a regular performer at Group 1 level, hasn't been seen since a tremendous effort in the E P Taylor at Woodbine in October but has run well when fresh in the past.
Empoli produced a tremendous performance to run Meandre close in a German Group 1 in September though he was disqualified for causing interference. TASADAY, runner-up in the Prix De L'Opera at Longchamp, should be better for her recent run behind Mujaarib though she has plenty of ground to make up. However, her placed efforts at the highest level in France suggests she should be up to this. The winner won't go down without a fight nor will fourth-placed Dastarhon, who was going on strongly at the finish. Quick Wit has been a great servant to Saeed Bin Suroor and had Burano behind when scoring over the course and distance last March.