Live la Dolce Vita with Temple Meads
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from this afternoon's card at Meydan as the Dubai Carnival gets underway.
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After five preliminary meetings on Tapeta, mainly for the locals, the 2013 Carnival gets under way with many of the big guns back in action.
Mike De Kock knows exactly what it takes to win races here so Final Button, a Grade 3 performer in South Africa, is an obvious starting point though he could have been better drawn as could Iver Bridge Lad, who has some excellent form around here but has the unfavoured wide berth.
Belgian Bill won twice over this trip at Kempton in the autumn and has run well here in the past but the very consistent Yaa Wayl is closely matched with him being 3lb better off for a length beating at Kempton. Lily's Angel is certain to attract support from her plum draw and she's been in brilliant form in Ireland, completing a hat-trick culminating in a Listed victory at Dundalk. But she's having her first start on the surface and that could just hand the advantage to ARIETE ARROLLADOR.
The Spanish entry came here a year ago to run a superb race behind Barbecue Eddie over the C&D and looks to have been trained with the Carnival in mind following a light campaign in Madrid.
The Turf track comes into play for the first time this season. Fawzi Nass and Kieren Fallon struck up a brilliant partnership with Krypton Factor at last year's Carnival and are already on the scoresheet in Dubai this season so the former Robert Cowell sprinter Lui Rei is one to note with his low weight.
Desert Law is a fine sprint handicapper who will be tuned up for Godolphin while Dandy Nicholls saddles the speedy pair Inxile and Addictive Dream who both have good records here. Balmont Mast has been going very well on Polytrack at Dundalk but appears to prefer some give on Turf while Confessional looks a few pounds high in the weights.
Happy Dubai has scored at the last two Carnivals and can be relied on to do his best but TEMPLE MEADS looks just the type for this. He won the Mill Reef in 2010 and has had very little racing subsequently but looked on the way back behind Ballista at Leicester in September and is on a very fair mark.
Saeed Bin Suroor has a powerful hand here with three runners plus the first reserve. Jockey bookings suggest Royal Empire is the one to be with though the ex-French Kassiano has plenty of potential.
Topclas had Tanfeeth behind when runner-up over 1m3f three weeks ago but there's little between the pair this time while Rochdale found the trip too far in the same event. Mushreq has been racing in Group 1 company in South Africa and was a winner at that level in 2011 while Rocks Off has been cleaning up in Bahrain.
The lightly-raced Universal is just the type Mark Johnston does so well with but in a very tight looking handicap it's the race-fit FARRIER, an easy winner on Dirt at Jebel Ali and successful here last year, who is handed the vote.
A fine prize which has attracted an excellent turnout. Theo Danon is a Listed winner in Germany who can get competitive along with Al Shemali, who was the shock winner of the Dubai Duty Free in 2010.
So Beautiful hasn't had much experience but ended last season landing a Longchamp Group 3 in June so has to be on the short-list. Sharestan is the form pick on his two Listed victories for John Oxx but all of his form is on ground with give and he's no certainty to handle much quicker going.
REROUTED, a Group 3 winner for Barry Hills in 2010, ran well at last year's Carnival and will have been primed to do even better this season by Mike De Kock. His close third to Delegator was a first-class effort and he'll take some beating. Red Duke has had his last ten starts at Group level and his sights are lowered slightly so he has to rate a threat.
Fulbright progressed from handicaps to land a Group 2 at Newmarket for Mark Johnston and there's every chance he'll improve again. He's now with Godolphin as is Out Of Bounds, a Grade 3 winner on Dirt at Santa Anita when last seen a year ago.
Fanunalter was well beaten in this a year ago and is best on soft ground on Turf as he showed when landing the Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot for Michael Wigham while Muraweg didn't look up to this class when trained in the UK, though he ran well here last month after completing a hat-trick in Bahrain.
Rutland Boy can be relied on to do his best but he was only just in front of Mufarrh here last month and, as the latter was having his first start since 2011, he can have his revenge.
Jamr was a very progressive handicapper here last year and deserves a crack at this level but with fitness and form on his side it's BARBECUE EDDIE who gets the vote after he was brought with a very smooth late run to complete his hat-trick last month.
Firebeam never quite lived up to his reputation in the UK though he was placed at Group level and this represents a drop in grade. Tamaathul has run very well on his two starts already this winter though he does appear better on Tapeta. Rosendhal has won at Group 3 level in Italy but prefers heavy ground so this can go to AMANEE.
Mike De Kock's charge won a Group 2 on his last start at Greyville in South Africa so the assessor appears to have been lenient with his handicap mark. Arnold Lane had plenty of decent handicap form in the UK but is held by Don't Call Me on their run at Ascot in September.
The lightly-raced Lockwood is another Godolphin representative who won a Group 3 in France last season and should do well at the Carnival while Freezemaster, who gets in as first reserve, is trained by Stephen Burridge, who had such a successful Carnival last year.