Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, February 9, 2017
On this Thursday at Danonymous, we’re heading back to Meydan, where we’ve got FREE picks & analysis from Mike Bench (@mikebench1991)!
Mike is an NHC qualifier and he won the 2013 Championship at the Orleans at age 21. Today, he has put together an extremely thorough writeup for us. He’ll be covering Meydan every Thursday during the Racing Carnival. We thank Mike for his work and wish you good luck if you’re playing along!
Take it away, Mike!
Night six of the Dubai International Racing Carnival commences Thursday and it is one of the few weeks where there are two nights of Carnival action. We will return with picks for Saturday which features the UAE 2000 Guineas. Thursday’s feature is the UAE 1000 Guineas where Godolphin figures to hold a strong hand with Really Special among three runners in there. Godolphin figures to have a good night tonight, I have picked them on top three times and they can definitely meet that figure tomorrow. Six races Thursday as we will omit the opening arabian race and without further ado, lets get to the picks.
ROI Through Night Five of Carnival
Win Selections: 34-9-7-4 ; +$5.80 ROI
Pick Three Selections: Bet $433; Returned $1,207; ROI: +$764.00
1st: #10 Top Score 2nd: #8 Mirdif 3rd: #2 Megnaas
The opener sees us go to the turf for three year olds in a conditions race and we go in the direction of #10 TOP SCORE. He starts for Godolphin having run 3rd in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and makes the switch back to turf. This colt ran well in conditions races including nearly winning a Group 3 on good ground in Turkey. A move forward and a prime rail draw can allow Adrian de Vries to save ground and run on late. Gets the slight call to give Godolphin a good start to the night. #8 Mirdif is the highest rated horse in the race on official ratings on the substance of a third in a Group 3 in Ireland last year. He was running off a high mark in a small field in Ireland but did not quite have the kick after showing on the lead. If Pat Smullen can get this colt to settle early, he certainly has the ability to land this. #2 Megnaas has to overcome a wide draw and a very poor last race. However, the race was on the dirt so we can safely toss it and ran well in his one turf race in South Africa. He was purchased with dirt intentions and so it is disappointing he did not take to it at all, and they try to save face by running him on the turf here. He can run well as he did show potential in South Africa, but wouldn’t be surprised to see him completely miss the frame.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 1,2,8,10 / 1,3,9 / 2,8,9
1st: #9 Top Clearance 2nd: #3 Triple Nine 3rd: #1 Emotionless
Trying a longshot in the 10 furlong handicap of the night. #9 TOP CLEARANCE had a wide draw last time and chasing wide is not the way to win on the dirt at Meydan. He draws much better tonight in post position 3 and runs off his lowest mark since going to the UAE. He was a winner at Meydan off a mark of 100 and has a runner up over the course and distance off a mark of 104. I am encouraged at his mark of 98 tonight with today’s jockey Chris Hayes staying aboard. He can track from the inside and perhaps outrun his odds. #3 Triple Nine ran a game race chasing a loose on the lead winner in his first race in Dubai and any move forward should put this Korean in the frame with Pat Cosgrave aboard. He loves the 10 furlong distance and the only negative is the wide draw in post position 9. But he is a must use on the tickets. It is still a question whether #1 Emotionless wants anything to do with the dirt. But today will be the spot he will have to prove it. He broke from the widest gate in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge and never got close to the rail. Should be closer to the plastic early here for William Buick and being out of 2001 Breeders Cup Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine, you would think he can run on the dirt.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 1,3,4,7,9 / 2,7,8,9 / 9
1st: #9 Line of Reason 2nd: #2 Fannaan 3rd: #8 Jamesie
This is the toughest race of the night and perhaps the toughest of the Carnival so far. We give the nod to #9 LINE OF REASON who I think may appreciate the stretch back out to 6 furlongs, which was his forte at the beginning of his career. He has been running on alright going the 5 furlongs ate and can get a nice track into the race down the stands side. He appears to be rounding into better form and is running off a mark of 101 that he can win at. Richard Mullen takes the mount on this veteran and is worth taking a stab. #2 Fannaan runs for the first time in the Al Mheiri barn, leaving the John Gosden stable and this was a progressive type in his two starts last year. The mark of 105 may be a bit honorous but if he continues to show progress from this runner up in two listed races in 2016, he can definitely be not only a factor today but one down the road. Jim Crowley takes the mount and this is one that has no problem with the 6 furlongs. #8 Jamesie may have bounced off a nice run in his first race at the Carnival and could bounce back today. He ran a good third two back off a mark of 102 and runs off a one pound lower mark. This is one that has been regularly running at the distance and can run a better race tonight.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 2,7,8,9 / 9 / 1,5
1st: #9 Really Special 2nd: #6 Fursa 3rd: #2 Rajar
Probably the most straight forward race of the evening as #9 REALLY SPECIAL looks to complete the 1000 Guineas Trial – 1000 Guineas double and faces much of the same competition she beat last time. She starts from a wider gate tonight but that does not figure to be a problem as she is likely to be prominent early. This undefeated type looks to move onto group competition and is a single on our tickets with Jim Crowley. #6 Fursa comes in from South Africa with a dirt oriented pedigree and starts for trainer Mike De Kock. She comes off a long layoff so she may need the race and there is always the question of whether she can handle the dirt. If she can answer both those questions, she could give the favorite a scare. #2 Rajar ran an improved race for Richard Fahey on the dirt, running third behind the top pick while showing improved gate speed. She showed she can run alright on the dirt and can run another decent race tonight.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 9 / 1,4,5 / 1,4,5,7,8
1st: #5 Tahanee 2nd: #1 Flash Fire 3rd: #4 Oh This Is Us
Here is a 7 furlong handicap that appears on paper to be a two horse race. We give the call to #5 TAHANEE who was forced to lead when nobody wanted the lead in a Group 2 last time behind the aptly named Very Special. Two back this horse was the trip note of the Carnival, she was threatening to run a big race when she nearly got put into the rail and never recovered. She runs back in a slightly better class off the same mark, which could work in her favor. Christophe Soumillon takes the ride for Mike De Kock and if she gets a clean trip, she can certainly factor today. #1 Flash Fire was a flashy winner on opening night of the Carnival and then was stuck behind a lone speed winner in a Group 2 but ran on gamely to run second. He certainly appears to like it in Dubai and drops into a handicap tonight where he can be a big factor. Would not be surprised to see this be another Godolphin winner. #4 Oh This Is Us runs for Richard Hannon, who does not run horses often in Dubai, is a progressive type that is looking for fast ground. He certainly gets it in Dubai and has been raised 4 pounds in the handicap for a win in a 17 runner race in Britain. 7 furlongs certainly appears to be the right distance and if he is ready fresh, can factor in the outcome.
1st: #4 Folkswood 2nd: #1 Best of Times 3rd: #7 Secret Brief
Godolphin sends out four runners in the finale and each of them look to have a chance. I am picking Godolphin to sweep the top three and the call goes to #4 FOLKSWOOD. He ran a solid second in a race that went wire to wire off a layoff, and continued the progressive form that he showed at the end of his sophomore campaign. This gelding was raised two pounds for that effort but this mark still seems reasonable. He has yet to run a bad race and can run forward or run from behind. Colm O’Donoghue takes the mount in the red cap, which is a little surprising, but not enough of a deterrent at decent odds. #1 Best of Times wears the blue cap Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor has been super at bringing horses into the Carnival off the layoff. He is saddled with a mark of 105 which is not that generous, but certainly has races in the past good enough to win. Oisin Murphy takes the mount as Godolphin continues to play musical chairs with jockeys. #7 Secret Brief is a Godolphin wearing the black cap running second back after running like he needed the race in a handicap He runs off a mark of 102 which was his mark last time and any improvement second off can put him in the mix. William Buick who had the first call for Godolphin last year gets the call.
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