Benbatl will try dirt for the first time in Thursday’s feature at Meydan. The three time G1 winner will take on a host of seasoned dirt performers in what promises is a mouth-watering Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2. There is no shortage of quality on the undercard either, the listed sprint handicap is real barn burner, with Ekhtiyaar taking a duo of up-and-coming sprinters in Tour To Paris and Roulston Scar.
Well Of Wisdom had a tougher paper round than most 2yos from the Charlie Appleby yard in 2019. The son of Oasis Dream ran creditably in the Coventry Stakes before scoring at Listed level at Longchamp. His run in the G3 Prix de Cabourg at Deauville was well advertised when Earthlight (his conqueror on that occasion) went on to win G1 Prix Morny. Inmates from this yard are generally fit and ready to win first time up and this colt simply has the best form on offer.
Simon Crisford’s has enjoyed sparkling results with his small but select team of horses in Dubai in 2020. Roulston Scar and Franz Kafka are a pair of new recruits that have done the business for the ex-Godolphin supremo and Intuitive could well be the next horse to add to Crisford’s tally. This bay son of Haatef improved greatly for being gelded while in the care of James Tate, winning twice on the all-weather in England during the autumn. Current connections paid 180,000 guineas to secure him and he should be able repay some of that money here. Strong Each way claims.
Laser Show’s win in the Al Bastikiya trial came as somewhat of a surprise as Saeed Bin Suroor’s charge ran so poorly on his opening foray on the dirt. The addition of a visor showed him in a completely different light, as he travelled strongly before powering clear to win impressively. Kevin Stott keeps the ride ahead of Christophe Soumillon which is a major show of faith in the young rider and it is worth noting that this colt has a very similar profile to his trainer’s 2019 guineas winner Eshtidaaf.
Ekhtiyaar is the class act in this listed handicap and if he is the same form as he was when winning over this course and distance back in January; he would take a lot of beating. Doug Watson’s 6yo will have to be in tip top shape to give the smart Roulston Scar 4 kilograms. Simon Crisford’s new recruit looked a sprinter going places on his latest start and there is every reason to believe he is ready for this step up in grade. James Doyle is three from four when teaming up with Simon Crisford this year.
Military Law oozed class when winning the Listed Entisar Stakes in December. The good looking son of Dubawi put Saltarin Dubai and Gronkowski firmly in the shade on that occasion. That pair re-oppose here but with the selection now arriving off a break for just his third dirt start, there is no compelling reason why he shouldn’t uphold that form. Benbatl is likely to prove a class above anything in the race if taking to the surface, but Military Law can certainly take a share of the place money from a good draw in stall one.
Art Du Val is a confident each-way selection for the Charlie Appleby yard. This horse won at last year’s carnival before a light European campaign. He put in a nice front-running effort over ten furlongs last time out and that will have left him spot-on for this. The slight drop in trip is very much in his favor.