Sajjha to star at Meydan
Our expert Man On The Spot provides a race-by-race guide to this afternoon's action at Meydan and fancies Sajjha in the feature.
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14.30 Meydan - Zabeel Feedmill Handicap (AWT)
Mike De Kock had his first success of this year's Carnival on Saturday and Jardim will be better for his run behind Capital Attraction a week ago where he never got into the action. Godolphin have made a tremendous start to the Carnival and Saeed Bin Suroor already has five winners to his credit but Pisco Sour has been a bitter disappointment since his two Group victories for Hughie Morrison in 2011 and finished tailed off here a year ago. The other Godolphin entry, Arthur's Tale, was narrowly beaten in a Grade 1 at Aqueduct and, though not running up to that form subsequently, he'll be better for his run here a fortnight ago. Bay Willow made all for a very easy victory over 1m6f here three weeks ago, his second success on the surface, so he's an obvious threat to all but it's ART SCHOLAR who is handed the vote. The November Handicap winner made an eye-catching debut here last week when coming from a long way back to finish a close sixth behind Anatolian and with that under his belt can score under Kieran Fallon. Eddie Jock was just behind in that latter event though stablemate Layali Al Andalus looks to have a better chance.
15.05 Meydan - Meydan Hotel Handicap (Turf)
Burano won a Listed contest here last February but already had a couple of races under his belt before doing so. Mahmoud Al Zarooni has three entries for Godolphin, of which the lightly-raced Samurai Sword is the most interesting for the future, though the owners look to have a much better chance with MASTEROFTHEROLLS. Saeed Bin Suroor's charge, a dual winner in France, ran very well on his opening two runs here a year ago and looks to have been saved for another crack by his connections. He'll take some beating though has a serious rival in Paene Magnus. Jim Bolger doesn't tilt at windmills and the son of Teofilio improved out of all recognition on Polytrack at Dundalk in the autumn. Mushreq, a dual winner in South Africa, and the German-trained Theo Danon, will both have come on a bundle for their run here a fortnight ago and must be respected.
15.40 Meydan - Bab Al Shams Handicap (AWT)
Muck 'N' Brass was narrowly beaten by Paene Magnus at Dundalk and is much better than he showed here a fortnight ago. Elderly Paradise is the best horse in Macau and showed that his turn was near when runner-up over a mile here last week where he stayed on strongly. The longer trip will help and he's a threat to all while the lightly-raced Novelty Seeker is dropping back after failing to stay 1m7f last time. Ostinato is trained in Hungary but wasn't beaten far in a Group 3 in Germany in October though this points to another C&D victory for JAMR. He was in tremendous form at this time last year and sharpened up with an eye-catching run behind Barbecue Eddie a fortnight ago.
16.15 Meydan - Meydan Golf Conditions Stakes (AWT)
HITCHENS looks the one to be on and hopefully he'll be fit enough after an absence since September. David Barron's cracking sprinter came here a year ago and did superbly, opening with an excellent second in this race before landing a Grade 3 from Krypton Factor, who later had his revenge. He's a very smart performer on his day and looks the one to be on though Mike De Kock's Kavanagh is interesting as he's been narrowly beaten in Group 1 company in South Africa and has won a Group 2. Ganas swept all before him in the non-Carnival fixtures before Christmas but this is much tougher with the likes of Lingfield Listed winner Ballista and three times C&D winner Garbah likely to make their presence felt.
16.50 Meydan - Cape Verdi Sponsored By Meydan Hotels (Fillies' Group 2) (Turf)
Ali Al Raihe won this last year with First City, who beat the long odds-on Mahbooba by a nose. The winner will no doubt be tuned for a repeat though she hasn't been showing the same level of form. Falls Of Lora won the UAE Oaks here last February though that was on Tapeta which appears to suit her style. She'll be a threat though preference is for another Godolphin entry in SAJJHA. She's a high-class mare on her day as she showed when narrowly beaten by Izzi Top in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes at York, the second time she'd been runner-up in that event. This is her first start since November but she looks the one to be on. Her stable also run Spellwork and Dark Orchid and neither should be discounted while Amanee has a fitness advantage over most of these and was racing over a trip short of her best a fortnight ago.
17.25 Meydan - Meydan Beach Handicap (Turf)
It's rare to find one of Mike De Kock's lurking at the bottom of a handicap and Jet Legend, five times a winner in South Africa including at Group 3 level last time, is noted. Trade Storm won a tough York handicap in August before failing to stay 1m2f at Doncaster and has to be on the short-list but it's DON'T CALL ME who is handed the vote. Dandy Nicholls' useful handicapper was in fine form last summer and autumn and made a promising start in Dubai when running on nicely behind Le Drakkar over 7f here two weeks ago. Runner-up Tamaathul has won subsequently so the form looks strong enough for this. The Yorkshire trainer also runs Rex Imperator, but he has never raced beyond 7f and is better known as a sprinter.