Dubai Carnival: Meydan preview and free horse racing betting tips

Top-class action from Meydan on Thursday

Group Two action features on another cracking card at Meydan on Thursday - check out Richard Mann's betting preview here.

Recommended bets

3pts win Magic Lily in 4.15 at Meydan at 13/8

1pt win Roulston Scar in 4.50 at Meydan at 11/4

2pts win Muntazah in 5.25 at Meydan at Meydan at 5/2

We have seen some wonderful champion horses race in the Godolphin silks over the years and Balanchine would be right up there with the best of them, her sparkling victories in the English and Irish Oaks back in 1994 still worth revisiting on YouTube if you want doses of equine brilliance and good old nostalgia in equal measure.

Well over 20 years later, the Godolphin operation is still going strong under the watchful eye of Sheikh Mohammed and at a racing carnival created by the ruler of Dubai himself, the famous royal blue silks are expected to dominate another raceday feature on Thursday, a race named after one of their own, the Group Two Balanchine.

Poetic Charm flew the flag for Godolphin when routing her rivals in this race last year and trainer Charlie Apppleby can repeat the trick with Magic Lily 12 months on.

Having finished third to Laurens in the Fillies' Mile as a juvenile, Magic Lily was forced to miss the whole of her three-year-old season before returning with a couple of promising efforts late last year ahead of her Carnival campaign this winter.

That campaign began in the perfect way, running down the reopposing Nisreen in the final strides to claim first prize in the Cape Verdi in January - a performance that strongly hinted she will be able to make up for lost time in the coming months.

What was most pleasing about her victory in the Cape Verdi was that a mile has always appeared to be the bare minimum for her in terms of trip and with an extra furlong on offer here, it is hard to see Nisreen giving her as much of a fright this time around.

Furthermore, after only five career starts to date, Magic Lily still has the scope to improve further and don’t be surprised if she makes up in to a Group One filly in time.

Surrounding flopped behind the aforementioned pair in the Cape Verdi before bouncing back with a solid run in handicap company but this looks a race to keep simple and Magic Lily should prove extremely hard to beat.

Another strong fancy comes in the shape of Muntazah, an impressive winner of the Group Three Firebreak last year, and returning for another crack at the same race on Thursday.

Doug Watson's seven-year-old has been a revelation since switching to dirt and though beaten on his comeback last month, it is worth remembering that it took a couple of runs to sharpen him up last year.

Third in round one of the Al Maktoum Challenge before emphatically reversing form with old foe Secret Ambition in this race 12 month ago, his fourth in the Al Maktoum Challenge this time around was a run that he will surely build on.

The aforementioned Secret Ambition still might be improving but he has more to do in order to take down an on-song Muntazah and Capezzano is the one who could prove the biggest danger to the Watson charge.

Having progressed through the handicap ranks last winter, Capezzano beat Thunder Snow in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge and is clearly much better than he was able to show when flopping in the Dubai World Cup.

Whether he is cherry ripe for this first outing in 320 days remains to be seen, however, and that ought to give the Muntazah the edge on this occasion, for all Capezzano's run is clearly one to watch with bigger targets in mind.

A lower draw and a slightly lower mark would have made Lavaspin of interest in the Tabloid Handicap but this triple course-and-distance scorer might just be a shade high in the weights at present.

Furthermore, with recent winner Bochart and American raider Truck Salesman both sure to be ridden aggressively, Lavaspin won't have things his own way from the front and as such, a watching brief looks the sensible move.

The lightly-raced Dubai Future registered his third victory from only four starts when quickening up nicely over this course and distance last month but a wide draw, in addition to his 7lb hike in the weights, could make life tough in the Friday Handicap.

The Dubawi colt overcame stall 12 last time, Harry Bentley managing to work his way into a prominent early position, but there is no guarantee he will be able to do the same again on Thursday and instead, my third and final bet on the card comes in the Reach Handicap.

Roulston Scar was very good when slamming Dream Today easily on his debut for the Simon Crisford stable over six furlongs last month and it's interesting to see him turned out quickly having finished third back here only seven days ago.

Despite tiring late on last week, his run can certainly be marked up having help set scorching early fractions from an unfavourable part of the track and I thought it was to his credit that he stuck to his task to hold on for place money.

Given the amount of natural speed Roulston Scar possesses, the return to the minimum distance makes obvious sense and I'm happy to take 11/4 that this talented sprinter can regain the winning thread.

Preview posted 1530 GMT on 12/02/2020

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