Carnival time for Theory
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from Meydan as the Dubai Carnival continues on Thursday.
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MERHEE, a multiple Grade winner in South Africa on Turf, made a very encouraging debut over 6f on Tapeta last week where he led for most of the way before collared by Jamesie. With that under his belt and a shorter trip he can go one better. Masamah was a close third with the slow-starting Racy just behind in sixth and both should do better on this surface. Ahtoug has been raised 6lb for his winning effort three weeks ago when he just got the verdict over Hototo and today's reserve Desert Law with several of these rivals behind. Roicead was the closest of them in fourth and he's won subsequently while Take Ten and Monsieur Joe were reasonably close and will have benefited from the run. Dungannon was in superb form in the autumn winning three of his last four including a strong handicap at Doncaster on his final start. Medicean Man could prove a threat as he arrived here a year ago to land this from just 1lb higher so the lack of a run shouldn't be a concern. He was conceding My Propeller 5lb when beating him in a Listed contest at Haydock in June and is better off at the weights. Irish horses have been going well here so the lightly-raced Abstraction is one to keep an eye on.
The lightly-raced and very progressive STRING THEORY gives Frankie Dettori a chance to get on the scoreboard at this year's Carnival. Marco Botti's colt is unbeaten on Polytrack and turned a competitive handicap at Wolverhampton on Boxing Day into a procession. Intrigo had some excellent form for Richard Hannon in very tough handicaps. He made an eye-catching debut here a fortnight ago when staying on strongly over a mile so should get into the mix. Clon Brulee did very well for David Barron winning five times and he'll be better for his opening effort here three weeks ago, his first start since September. He was just behind Ottoman Empire there and the latter won a similar race to this last February. Rebel Song has been narrowly beaten on his last two starts here but has climbed the ratings without winning while the Spanish raider Abdel looks a bit high in the weights on what he's achieved.
CERTIFY's presence adds lustre to this Group 2 though the fact that she's returning from a lengthy ban is an obvious concern. The one-time 1000 Guineas favourite hasn't been seen since her victory in the Fillies' Mile in September 2012 due to her stable ban and that form worked out poorly though her earlier victory over the brilliant Sky Lantern in the Sweet Solera could hardly have been bettered. Shuruq also represents Godolphin and has the advantage of a recent winning run and last year's UAE Oaks heroine has to be regarded as a major threat. Flotilla gained the second of her Group 1 victories in the French 1000 Guineas but her two subsequent efforts, both at the highest level, were disappointing. Mensoora landed a couple of minor races at Scottsville before failing in a Group 1 at Greyville while L'Amour De Ma Vie has done her winning on Fibresand at Deauville. Pearl Of Africa has progressed from handicaps and landed a Listed contest on Polytrack at Dundalk in November.
KIldare handler Michael Halford is already on the scoresheet at the Carnival so the fact that the tough and consistent Eastern Rules is returning after a break shouldn't prove a problem. Mufarrh didn't run at all badly behind Shuruq at the beginning of the month and his three all-weather victories have come on this track. Tamarkuz has won three times on Polytrack though he'll need to step up a gear but Mike De Kock's ZAHEE looks the one to be on as he was placed in stronger company than this at last year's Carnival after victories in Australia. The Gold Cheongsam had a pipe-opener three weeks ago but his overall form just leaves him something to find.
Richard Fahey has already tasted success at the Carnival with Gabrial, who had earlier finished runner-up to MUSHREQ here with his stablemate Tales Of Grimm beaten 4l. The winner, who won twice here last year including a Group 2, is the top-rated and should continue his winning ways. Trade Storm was also in tremendous form here a year ago winning twice including at Group 2 level so he has to be a threat. Brendan Bracken was conceding Shuruq 5lb when beaten less than a length three weeks ago so a big run from the winner earlier will point to his chances. Steeler also ran in Shuruq's race and performed with credit as it was his first start since finishing third in the 2012 Racing Post Trophy. Maputo has joined Godolphin after doing well for Mark Johnston for who he won six times including a Group 3 in Ireland. Mujaarib is a regular performer at the highest level in South Africa and the Group 2 winner will be ready for this despite a long absence while Tasady, a Group 2 winner in France for Andre Fabre, has to be considered despite her liking for soft ground.
Daddy Long Legs has gone backwards so Master Plan, a Group 3 winner at Greyville in July, looks best of the Mike De Kock duo. Chapter Seven was conceding a stone to Haafaguinea when narrowly beaten at Newbury in September so on these terms should have few problems reversing the form with that rival. However, finishing a close fourth that day was SAXO JACK, who has changed stables and is now with Saeed Bin Suroor. He showed very good speed on his reappearance here before blowing up and can get back on the winning trail. Aussie Reigns is a very smart and consistent handicapper who was having his first start in Dubai when just failing to catch Sheikhzayedroad a fortnight ago. The consistent Busker was given a lovely ride to land a very slowly-run affair three weeks ago though there's more likely to be a faster pace here but Jawhar did well to score over a mile as he's better over today's trip and should go well.