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2021 Dubai Racing Carnival – Thursday 4th February

Meydan Overview & Selections – Week 3:

The Dubai World Cup Carnival continues this week with the UAE 2000 Guineas taking centre stage on a competitive and interesting card.

I have four selections for you – including my strongest bet of the Carnival so far – in the final race.

9:30am ET Meydan: Canvassed

This race seems to centre on the rematch between Taamol and Lavaspin – Taamol came out on top last month, but Lavaspin is better off at the weights this time. Stall 10 is a big disadvantage for a horse at his best when he leads though, while stall 1 is a hindrance to Taamol as well given he likes to come from just off the pace. He could find himself taking a lot of kickback. I am therefore siding with the Doug Watson-trained Canvassed. He started his career as a four-year-old and made an immediate impression winning easily at Newcastle and Kempton. His career has stalled since, but there were signs of a revival last time when finishing a good third in the Jebel Ali Mile and the drop in trip here could be a good move given how well he can travel. Pat Dobbs seems to prefer him to stable companion Rio Angie and this horse looks set to make the transition to sprinting before going on to better things.

10:05am ET Meydan: Dubai Future

He ran very well at the first meeting of the Carnival when runner-up to Walton Street, and that coming after a four-month break and a gelding operation. Provided he doesn’t bounce out of that, he has an excellent chance here. His run last time deserves marking up given that he was poorly drawn in stall 12 and endured a relatively wide trip. He also made a big move on the home turn in pursuit of the winner who enjoyed an easy lead. That move on the bend cost him vital ground and, although he had no chance with the winner, he would have finished closer had he enjoyed a better trip. Stall 4 affords him the chance to get a much better trip this time and Frankie Dettori can claim another winner here at Meydan.

10:40am ET Meydan: Naval Crown

This is a weak renewal of the UAE 2000 Guineas and, providing Naval Crown does not show a complete aversion to the dirt, should win easily. He lays over his opponents in terms of class, and the fact that he shows early pace in his races and likes to race prominently will be a major asset on this surface. He was a most impressive winner of the Convivial maiden at York last year and was subsequently thought good enough to contest a couple of Grade Three races in France. He was a little keen in both contests and underperformed, but I have little doubt that his potential remains firmly intact. I can see him jumping smartly and making all the running here.

12:25pm ET Meydan: Ehktiyaar

In my opinion, this horse represents the best bet of the Carnival so far this season. He is a very smart sprinter, goes well here and shaped as if all of his ability was intact when finishing fourth to Equilateral at the first meeting of the Carnival. That was over five furlongs and that’s a bit sharp for him, so this step up to six furlongs will be ideal. He won here last season over this trip from a mark of 110 and gets to race off the same rating here. He can also boast a third place in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy where he did best of those from a high draw. This race looks to be well within his grasp and easily rates the best bet on the card.

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