Richard Mann previews week three of the Dubai Carnival at Meydan with the Group 2 Fillies and Mares Cape Verdi the feature race on another cracking card.
The Group 2 Fillies and Mares Cape Verdi (16.15) is the highlight of the latest offering from the Dubai Carnival on Thursday with Poetic Charm expected to prove hard to beat for trainer Charlie Appleby.
Godolphin have enjoyed a stranglehold on this race in recent years and although Saeed bin Suroor has taken the last three renewals, Poetic Charm will be Appleby's first runner in this contest since Certify was successful back in 2014.
This four-year-old daughter of Dubawi has some very smart form to her name and won a Longchamp Listed race last summer as well finishing second to the high-class Wind Chimes at Deauville.
Like so many of Dubawi's crop, she gives the impression that she is improving with time and racing, and she might not have reached her ceiling just yet.
Bin Suroor is responsible for Victory Wave, sixth in a handicap here two weeks ago, and Asoof who made steady progression in England last year and is another with more to offer.
This one-mile trip might just be on the sharp side for her, though, with similar comments applicable to Furia Cruzada who is very adept on dirt and turf but has been doing her race over further more recently.
Key Victory and Settle For Bay were both major disappointments when flopping in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes earlier this month and take in the Azini Mina Handicap (17.25) on retrieval missions.
The former was heavily backed last time and seemingly had few excuses though the latter, who won the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last summer, endured a wide draw trip and might just be better suited to the return to handicap company.
Still, both have something to prove and I'm keen to switch to the dirt for the second and final bet on the card.
The opening six-furlong Azizi Farishta Handicap (16.15) looks a cracker but early pace and a rail position will be absolutely key and Almanaara looks to have everything in place to make a bold sight.
Doug Watson's charge is now 2-5 over this course and distance having spent the early part of his career trained by Dermot Weld in Ireland and he has proven deadly when able to get on the lead.
He did just that won winning by 7 1/4 lengths here two starts back, displaying really good pace to lead up before kicking clear in the straight, and as we continue to see on the dirt here, those on the front end are often at a distinct advantage.
The six-year-old wasn't able to lead when failing to show his true colours here last time but he has bagged stall one this time and I'll be disappointed and surprised in equal measure if he doesn't lead up on Thursday.
Prices of 4/1 looks perfectly fair and he makes plenty of appeal against a field in which quite a few will be having their first experience of the Meydan dirt surface.
Make no mistake, this surface is an unforgiving one and they will need to learn and learn fast. As such, I'm happy to stick with the streetwise Almanaara to make hey in the desert.