The Dubai Carnival 2020 has eventually landed. We will be treated to a fascinating six race card under the bright lights of the Meydan grandstand. Many stars of the racing world will be competing but Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby has chosen to keep his powder relatively dry on week one. Despite some of the Godolphin blue-bloods being saved for future targets, there is some betting opportunities on the night.
Race 1: UAE 1000 Guineas Trial (7 Furlongs)
Rio Angie and Down On Da Bayou have been impressive in landing course and distance maidens in recent weeks. The level of that form is untested and it would be no surprise if one of the dirt debutantes can have their measure. Final Song was verging on Group 1 class during the summer in England, the best of her four runs came when third in the G2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes at Newmarket. The winner that day was Raffle Prize who went on to beaten by just a neck by Earthlight in the G1 Prix Morny. The runner up Daahyeh subsequently scored at G2 level before going close in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’. Dark Angel has sired a couple of impressive winners on the Meydan dirt surface already this season so that bodes well for Saeed Bin Surroor’s filly here .Final Song does need to prove her stamina at 1400m, as she did finish tamely at that trip on her latest start but she has 13 pounds in hand on official ratings and her class should see her beat this field.
Race 2: Emirates NBD Personal Banking Handicap (5 Furlongs)
Spanish raider Blueberry is of interest in this 1000m turf sprint. Trainer Guillermo Arizkorreta knows the time of day in the desert and his Abrantes went very close in this race 12 months ago. Abrantes beat the selection on soft ground at La Zarzuela in October but Blueberry impressed with the way he travelled through the race. He powered through the testing ground and only weakened late on to finish third. This strapping son of So You Think should relish the firmer ground at Meydan.
Race 3: Listed Emirates NBD Priority Banking Handicap (9.5 Furlongs)
New Trails is the class horse in this lineup. He won this race last year before running himself well in higher caliber races. His comeback run in the Entisar Stakes was a fair effort but he appeared to hit a flat spot before warming to the task nicely finishing fourth. Cheek-pieces go on this time and they could be what is needed to see him home in front.
Race 5: G3 Dubawi Stakes (6 Furlongs)
Drafted missed the Garhoud Sprint on December 5th and that is a concern before this, his seasonal debut. Ibn Malik won the Garhoud in fine style and he is very much respected in what is a hot race. Lavaspin will break from stall one and Walking Thunder is also likely to force the pace. For that reason, I am happy to row in behind Drafted once again because the speedsters are likely to set the race up for his late closing style.