Richard Mann previews Thursday's action from the Dubai Carnival as Royal Ascot hero Blue Point makes his return to action.
King's Stand hero Blue Point makes his first start at this year's Dubai Carnival in the Group Two Meydan Sprint Sponsored By Gulf News (3.05) and Charlie Appleby's speedster can use this as a stepping stone for bigger and better things.
The Appleby camp have always had unwavering belief in their charge, belief that was repaid in spades last summer when he beat Battaash with a brilliant display at Royal Ascot, and the decision to campaign him chiefly at 5f looks the correct move going forward.
Blue Point ended last season with another big run, this time when third in the Nunthorpe at York, and with Roussel to give him a nice lead into the race on Thursday, he really should take some beating.
Like Blue Point, Faatinah is a strong stayer at the minimum distance but he failed to build on his comeback success last time and looks vulnerable in the face of a top-notch sprinter like he meets here.
There are more Group Two honours up for grabs in the Balanchine Sponsored By gulfnews.com but like Blue Point, don't expect Poetic Charm to be any sort of price after her resounding success in the Cape Verdi last month.
Another hailing from the the Appleby operation, Poetic Charm looks a typically late-maturing daughter of Dubawi and she should be able to see off the re-opposing Asoof (second) and Furia Cruzada (third) for all the latter might get closer this time with this extra furlong in her favour.
A big-race Appleby double might tempt many but I'm keen to keep my powder dry for Lavaspin who makes a fair amount of appeal in the InsideOut Handicap (5.25).
Last week's Meydan action gave us another illustration of the benefits of being a low-draw prominent racer on the dirt surface out here and Lavaspin fits that profile perfectly.
Satish Seemer's gelded son of Hard Spun has only made three appearances at Meydan so far, never far off the pace when scoring comfortably at the beginning of November before running out an even more impressive all-the-way winner a few weeks later.
He is tackling deeper waters now but only six career starts would suggest he has the scope for considerable further improvement and with so little early pace to take him on here, he should be able to claim the early lead from stall one.
With perennial slow-start Glenamoy Lad berthed next door in two, and the often pacey Switzerland out wide in seven, Lavapsin seems almost certain to enjoy an early tactical advantage and as we have seen so often before on the Meydan dirt, it will take a smart performance to reel him in if he is still holding sway on the inside rail when they turn for home.
Another plum draw should mean last year's Firebreak Stakes Sponsored By Reach By Gulf News (3.40) winner Heavy Metal takes all the beating again but he did flop last time and must bounce back to his best.
As such, I've decided to leave him alone on this occasion with the other bet on the card coming in the shape of Trolius in the Meydan Trophy Sponsored By Friday (4.15).
Simon Crisford's son of Cape Cross ran well for this column when third at big price earlier in the Carnival and he ran another solid race when sixth last time.
Another wide draw is far from ideal but the small field on Thursday, and more significantly, this longer trip, gives me hope that he can enjoy his day in the sun.
The Newmarket dogs had been barking long before Trolius made a winning start to his career at Wolverhampton back in the autumn and he soon had three wins under his belt before arriving in Dubai.
Both of his appearances on these shores have seen him run well over 7f but on each occasion he has looked in the need of stiffer test of stamina, something that his pedigree would also hint at.
With the excellent Chris Hayes now having had time to develop a partnership with him in the saddle, he looks worth another chance in a race that on closer inspection, doesn't look as deep as first feared.
The lightly-raced Art Du Val is the obvious danger but the debut Sandown victor was beaten in France subsequently when readily outpaced in the closing stages, and stall ten parks him out wide enough if he isn't able to travel with more fluency this time around.
He seems sure to go off a warm order but Trolius looks the value play against him.