Heavy Metal is backed for a ninth course win at Meydan on Thursday as resident tipster Man On The Spot previews all the quality action.
3.05 Dubai Trophy Sponsored By Masdar Stakes - Turf
SPORTING CHANCE is 10lb clear on official ratings and has drawn the inside berth. He's tackling this trip for the first time but wasn't stopping when scoring at Maisons-Laffite in September when today's rival Dream With You was a long way behind. His stable also run the unbeaten Trolius, whose three victories have been on Tapeta including a dead-heat in a Wolverhampton nursery. Shining Armor has won four of his last five, all on the all-weather, but only scrambled home in a Kempton nursery last time and a wide draw won't help. Woven made a very good impression when just holding today's rival Estihdaaf at York and the runner-up has boosted the form subsequently. Good Fortune won a novices' contest on fast going at Lingfield but was a bit disappointing when beaten at Sandown last time while it's difficult to know what to make of Irish Trilogy, unbeaten in three starts since his debut, though Scandinavian horses don't have a great record here. Magic Image was only beaten a neck by Turn 'n Twirl at Lingfield though the winner let the form down here last week.
3.40 UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Sponsored By Strata
Godolphin always have their stall set out for this and ROYAL MARINE looks the one this time as he's already proved himself at the highest level. An impressive maiden winner at Doncaster, he took a giant leap forward when landing a Group 1 at Longchamp in October and will have the 2000 Guineas here as his target before going on to better things. Burj also represents the owners but looks second choice as his victories came at Wolverhampton and Brighton. Faith And Fortune is southern hemisphere-bred which is why he's conceding weight. He's completed a double in Argentina and joined Mike De Kock which won't do him any harm while Al Seel Legacy's has the advantage of a recent victory on the track having made a successful debut last month. Walking Thunder deserves a place in the line-up after two impressive victories here, though the widest draw of all won't aid his cause.
4.15 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi World Class Healthcare Cup Handicap - Turf
Abrantes, five times a winner at La Zarzuela near Madrid, ran well when sent to France for a Group 3 in June where he finished third. Alfredo Arcano has been in fine form at Dundalk and he can race from a 5lb lower mark back on Turf. Above The Rest, a Group 3 winner at Newcastle last summer, will have had a few cobwebs blown away here last week but MAJOR PARTNERSHIP looks just the type for here. The Godolphin colt hasn't had much racing but was winning for the third time when scoring at Wolverhampton in October and there looks much more to come. Intisaab, who won in Ireland back in 2014, has been brilliantly placed by David O'Meara to score another 10 times yet still looks reasonably treated so has to be respected. Mujaafy won his first two at Turffontein but didn't make the expected progress and Mike De Kock's horses usually need a run.
4.50 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 Sponsored By Mubadala Group 2 Stakes
HEAVY METAL came into this last year having already won a Listed contest and he made all for a very impressive victory. His main target was the Godolphin Mile on World Cup night which he won in great style from Muntazah,, reversing an earlier defeat in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar by Kimbear. The latter comes here with a prep run under his belt having finished third over a trip much too short so he's greatly feared as is the runner-up, who had an outing at Abu Dhabi last month. North America was third a year ago but that was his first start for 10 months and he went on to be beaten a neck by Thunder Snow in Round Two of this before easily beating that top performer in Round Three. Gold Town reappeared after an absence last year to win very easily then landed the 2000 Guineas by over 10 lengths. He failed to come up to expectations in the UAE Derby behind Mendelssohn where he couldn't get to the front and was beaten a long way.
5.25 Special Olympics Cup Handicap
LIGHT THE LIGHTS (NAP) won this last year having had a prep run over a shorter trip the previous week. Mike De Kock follows the same pattern with him this time and he's only 1lb higher so can repeat the process. Glassy Waters has run twice on Polytrack and won both under Hayley Turner. He's only had six runs in his career so there should be more on offer. Doug Watson has three entries and Tried And True has won two minor handicaps in recent weeks. This is a step up in class though he still looks best of the trio as Street Of Dreams disappointed last time and Active Spirit has been badly out of form. New Trails, a winner here in November, chased home the smart Cosmo Charlie at a respectable distance in a Listed contest and has the scope to do better while Welsh Lord won at Chelmsford in September and ran well in a Class 2 handicap at Kempton. Saltarin Dubai was a long way behind Cosmo Charlie on his reappearance but won a Listed handicap last March so has to be respected.
6.00 Cepsa Energy Cup Handicap - Turf
Hors De Combat finished third in this last year before landing a similar race the following month. He's only 1lb higher and has to be on the short-list. Joseph O'Brien has two entries, King's Field and Equitant, who finished 1-2 at Dundalk last month. The former should come out on top again at the revised weights but the Australia-trained ESHTIRAAK may have got in lightly. A winner at Moonee Valley in November, he looks like a tough miler and his trainer has already struck at the Carnival. Original Choice ran well throughout the summer with a close third in the Golden Mile at Goodwood the highlight and he arrives on a winning note having scored at Wolverhampton last month. Jamie Osborne will have Cliffs Of Capri, who won twice at Ascot last summer, tuned to perfection but Silent Attack didn't show much in three runs here last year.