Office can strike in Guineas Trial
Man On The Spot previews all of the action from the second meeting of the Dubai Carnival at Meydan.
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Mahmood Al Zarooni has a very strong hand here with both MARINER'S CROSS and Not A Given certain to be fancied on their return after a break. The former is handed the vote as he was disqualified after passing the post first on his introduction at Newmarket last spring and then ran the useful Noble Mission close in a Listed contest there in May. Not A Given won three times on Dirt in the USA so whether he handles this surface may decide the outcome as he looks well enough handicapped while the stable's third entry, Modern History, is the type to win races here this season. Nordic Truce also won in the USA before transferring to Germany where he's competed at a high level while Belgian Bill will have come on for last week's blow out behind Lily's Angel. Spirit Of Battle ran a cracking race in that latter event but is poorly drawn while Capital Attraction is consistent at this level and deserved last week's success at Jebel Ali. Jardim needed his opening run here last year before running well in better company but Banna Boirche has been racing over further at Dundalk and though having no problems with this trip he may be a few pounds high in the weights.
Naqshabban made a successful debut over 1m4f here a year ago and has been raised 6lb. He may not be too inconvenienced by the lack of a recent run but this is tough and his stablemate LAAJOOJ, who had some strong form here last year before scoring at Newmarket in August, looks to have a better chance and is given the nod. Lindenthaler has competed at a high level in Germany and Red Dubawi in France and the latter is taking a drop in class. Wealthy finally came good in a minor race over the C&D in March but Blue Corner found Group 3 company too hot at Leopardstown and this is more his grade. Al Shemali, the shock 2010 Dubai Duty Free winner, hasn't come anywhere near that form since though he did win at Abu Dhabi in March when Anaerobio was behind. The latter ran well over a trip much too short behind Le Drakkar here a week ago and with that under his belt looks a big threat to all.
More Than Sotka won a Listed contest at Vichy in July and ran quite well when tackling Group 3 company at Deauville in August but Godolphin have dominated these trials in the past and have three entries though jockey bookings tell us little. All of them are maiden winners and have potential with Kempton winner Shuruq probably having the most scope at this stage. Kosika also won in Godolphin colours at Haydock last May under Mikael Barzalona but has changed ownership since and the jockey renews his partnership with Newmarket winner Music Chart today. MY SPECIAL J'S has a penalty to carry for her Group 2 victory at the Curragh in August but her overall form is strong enough for this and she gets the nod for Ireland. Daar Zayed has the advantage of winning on Tapeta in the USA though it was only a minor race and she was beaten in a better race at Keeneland subsequently.
Several of these ran behind shock winner Fityaan last week with Lui Rei doing best in fourth. That was over the minimum trip and it would be no surprise to see any of those behind reverse the form over the extra furlong with a run under their belts. Russian Rock hails from an in-form yard and has been in tremendous form at Jebel Ali. He's on a very fair mark back on Turf and has to be a threat while Devil's Cut is a very interesting entry at the foot of the handicap as he's from the Stephen Burridge stable that did so well here last year and has strong form in Singapore. Es Que Love is a useful handicapper who will love the fast ground while The Reaper ran really well in two starts here a year ago and Ger Lyons is already on the scoresheet at the Carnival. TAMAATHUL has never raced over this trip but looked a certain winner when storming into a clear lead over 7f last week only to be collared by Le Drakkar and hopefully he'll have enough pace to hang on this time.
The Singapore-based Dark Matter surprised better fancied rivals in this last year and though Soft Falling Rain will probably start a short-priced favourite there are reasons to oppose him. Mike De Kock's charge was bred in the southern hemisphere so has extra weight to carry as a consequence. He's also penalised for landing a Group 1 at Turffontein last April and has to concede over a stone to GLASS OFFICE and it's Dave Simcock's charge who gets the vote. He was very impressive when landing the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton and will take some beating in that kind of form. Mike De Kock also runs another pair of southern-breds in El Estruendoso and Zahee and they should be kept a close eye on for the future as should Timoneer, who had decent form in the UK but isn't well drawn here. Snowboarder had Luhaif just behind when scoring at Kempton in October and the latter's best form has come on Turf.
Star Empire is the only C&D winner in the line-up and though absent for almost two years that's rarely a problem for one from his yard. He's well enough treated to make his mark though the concession of 3lb to AHZAAMAH may be beyond him. The Godolphin entry was in cracking form at Ascot last summer, winning twice including a heritage handicap in September. There should be more to come from him and he looks the one to be on here. Ithoughtitwasover appears to prefer softer ground, a remark that also applies to the well handicapped Chicago, but Sham Sheer will have found the trip too short behind Sharestan last week and this will be much more to his liking. In The Spotlight has been winning easily at the highest level in India and it would be no great shock if she went well here.