Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, January 12, 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! Last Thursday, Mike gave out a pick 3 that paid more than $800, and we hope he’ll continue the momentum today!
Take it away, Mike!
Night Two of the Carnival will hopefully go as well as Night One for us. Tonight’s feature is a listed sprint stakes featuring American Grade 1 winner Wild Dude. 2014 Kentucky Derby runner Wildcat Red is also in action on tonight’s eight race card that may produce a few surprises. Without further ado, lets get to tonight’s action.
ROI on the Dubai International Racing Carnival
Win Selections: 6-3-0-0 ; +$18.60
Pick Three Selections: Bet $78; Returned $1,004; ROI +$926.00
1st: #1 Bee Jersey 2nd: #7 Mazeed 3rd: #5 Fawree
A rare maiden race at the Dubai International Racing Carnival kicks off the night two festivities. The call here goes to #1 BEE JERSEY who ran an encouraging debut running very honest sectionals on the front end, about a half second faster half mile interior fraction versus the other maiden event that night and held on gamely. The second favorite who won that night hounded him all the way around and went by in the stretch. Think this one has a big chance to go gate to wire from a more advantageous inside draw tonight. #7 Mazeed looks to be showing some improvement for Mike De Kock, running on alright for 2nd last time. The big jockey upgrade to Christophe Soumillon is notable tonight and if he continues making progress, should be right there in the frame. #5 Fawree beat the top pick in his career debut but there are significant issues with him at the gate in his training. He had to be fitted with a blindfold and blanket prior to the start last time, so that concern will always be nagging. And on a track that is so good to front runners, this colt can not afford a mistake at the start.
Suggested Pick Three: 1,5,7 / 1 / 2,8,10,11,12,13
1st: #1 Curbyourenthusiasm 2nd: #3 Blue Rambler 3rd: #6 Red Galileo
Small field going 1 ¾ miles in the second event of the night and the clear call to me goes to #1 CURBYOURENTHUSIASM. This gelding was a winner at Chelmsford City on the All Weather two back going today’s distance off a mark of 105. He was subsequently raised to 108 and ran well in a listed stake at Kempton when cut back to 12 furlongs. He holds a bunch of class on the turf, having run in multiple Group 2’s in Britain including nearly winning one in his 2016 debut at York. In a race where many are questionable at the distance, this one isn’t, and despite carrying top weight, should lead them home here. #3 Blue Rambler is intriguing off his handicap mark of 101 considering his 4 wins from 8 starts on the flat including a 6th place finish in the prestigious Cesarewitch Handicap. Interestingly enough he was defeated in a match race hurdle as the 1/16 favorite. Perhaps the distance got him that day but he made a terrible mistake 5th from home pretty much killing his chances despite being the heavy favorite. Willing to give him a chance in Dubai as we know he can stay. #6 Red Galileo has not raced since October 2015 and makes his debut for Saeed bin Suroor. He was only 1 for 21 with capable trainer Ed Dunlop but he certainly has the right connections to take this down and runs off a generous mark of 100, but to go the extended distance off the layoff would be a heck of a training job. I will watch one.
Suggested Pick Three: 1,3 / 2,10,12,13 / 2,4,8
1st: #12 Prince Suhail 2nd: #10 Town’s History 3rd: #2 Ostaad
A non carnival event here in the third going 1 ¼ miles on the turf. This is a rarity as these types of races are typically conducted at Abu Dhabi Racecourse, but we will get a rare treat of the quality of stock that runs in the UAE when the Carnival is not running. The call in this inscrutable test goes to #12 PRINCE SUHAIL, who I hope can go off at a price. This gelding has been busy during the early part of the UAE racing season and has two decent runs at Abu Dhabi on the turf to his credit. I am disregarding his disappointing dirt races at Jebel Ali and hope he can make up for it here on the return to the lawn. The 1 ¼ miles should suit him slightly more than the furlong further that he was running at Abu Dhabi. He runs off a very manageable mark of 81 here and the jockey upgrade to Chris Hayes should put him in the mix in this spot. #10 Town’s History will probably go off favored here and he sports good form in the early part of the UAE season as well. He was a winner at Ripon in Britain last year in a 0-85 handicap prior to his runs on the dirt in the UAE. Hew on off a mark of 80 that day and has been raised to 85 since. However, he may have more to offer only making his 10th career start and Seemar’s first call jockey Richard Mullen is taking the mount. A use here. #2 Ostaad has been running mainly on the dirt but has a decent turf record, winning 1 of 3 starts so far. Watson may be prudent finding the rare turf spot at Meydan for this gelding as his dirt form has appeared to be slipping. Maybe the turf will wake him up and he gets Britain’s champion jockey from last season, Jim Crowley, so he is another to consider in a wide open race.
Suggested Pick Three: 2,8,10,11,12,13 / 2,4,8 / 3,7
1st: #2 Need to Know 2nd: #8 Heavy Metal 3rd: #4 North America
A very interesting 1 mile handicap is going to see me go stabbing here. I am quite skeptical of the two horses that figure to take the bulk of the action, Wildcat Red and North America. I am not convinced Wildcat Red is the same horse that he was when he ran in the 2014 Kentucky Derby and North America is taking quite a step up in class, being raised 14 pounds by the handicapper and 25 pounds overall since breaking his maiden. I am going to take a chance here with #2 NEED TO KNOW who comes off a mediocre finish in a handicap on opening night of the Carnival. His race three back puts him squarely in the mix where he tracked the pace and posted a surprise win over the highly regarded Polar River. He runs off a 7 pound higher mark than that tonight which is a concern but I like the post position draw and did not run that bad in the Fitzgerald listed stake, which produced subsequent next out winner Le Bernardin. Trading at 18/1 in Britain seems worth it with stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea returning to the saddle. #8 Heavy Metal was beaten when carrying top weight last time and returns to a spot that is more favorable to him at the weights. This gelding is drawn wide tonight tho and combined with a relative lack of early speed, this may put him at a disadvantage in this spot. However, his form on the dirt has been decent and moves to Salem bin Ghadayer’s top stable jockey in Mickael Barzalona. #4 North America is arguably the most intriguing horse in the race. Since switched to dirt, he has become a monster, winning 2 from 2 rarely coming off the bridle in either race. We’ll have to see if he can make the lead as easily tonight as he has in the past. Wildcat Red may keep him busy but I am taking a stand against him, too many negatives and these horses from America running in the ordinary handicaps are usually sucker bets.
Suggested Pick Three: 2,4,8 / 3,5,6,7,16 / 4,7
1st: #3 Tahanee 2nd: #7 Silent Attack 3rd: #16 General Macarthur
A competitive handicap going the mile is going to see me go towards an Argentinian first off for Mike De Kock. #3 TAHANEE has high expectations for Mike De Kock as she has been working quite well at home for the comeback and has the trainer excited for what there is to come. She should come close if she brings her work to the track and while De Kock may be slightly bearish in her chances, being quoted as saying, “She’s had a a layoff, she’s 85% fit and will improve but she can run!” That is good enough for me to take a chance on her first back as there are some questions with the favorites. First call jock Christophe Soumillon takes the mount here and has a big chance here. #7 Silent Attack will be wearing the white cap for Godolphin but he is the preferred one for me here. He was much too keen when running last week behind another Mike De Kock good one in Light the Lights. The drop in grade, 2nd off and the cutback in distance should alleviate some of the concerns that occurred last week. Pat Cosgrave retains the mount and has a good chance if the De Kock needs one. #16 General Macarthur is an interesting roughie at the bottom of the weights here. He had been running off a mark of 102 including in graded stakes, and while disappointing in those outs, he gets in at a very nice mark of 98. If Curbyourenthusiasm wins the 2nd or runs well, take a second look at this one as he runs for those same connections.
Suggested Pick Three: 3,7 / 4,7 / 1,7,8,10,12,14,16
1st: #7 Desert Force 2nd: #4 Muarrab 3rd: #1 Wild Dude
The featue on the night is the first stepping stone towards the Dubai Golden Shaheen and my best bet of the night comes here. #7 DESERT FORCE has been an absolute tear in his previous two Meydan efforts and looks poised to break into the Carnival spotlight here. He cleared the field last time going 7 furlongs and won as impressive as can be. There are some uncertainties about the other favorites, namely if Muarrab and Reynaldothewizard are long in the tooth, and Wild Dude having spent a winter in Halford’s preparation rather than American trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. Desert Force has gone up in the weights 21 pounds since the beginning of the winter and with the hot connections of Pat Dobbs and Doug Watson look poised to continue it. May not even go favored either. #4 Muarrab was the winner of the 2016 Dubai Golden Shaheen and was in fine form throughout the Carnival last season. However his return left a bit to be desired, as he had every chance turning for home in the sprint prep and was outkicked and defeated decisively. This gelding is now 8 and I can’t help but wonder if his best days are behind. However, if he could return better tonight and would not be surprised. #1 Wild Dude was star sprinter in America but was sent to Korea for a disappointing finish in the Korean Sprint and has spent the subsequent time with Michael Halford. Running in Dubai, I have to see a good one for this one off Lasix before I back. He is going to have to use his American speed from the draw to get into the mix early.
Suggested Pick Three: 7 / 1,7,8,10,12,14,16 / 2,4,7,13
1st: #12 Watchable 2nd: #10 Final Venture 3rd: #16 Steady Pace
Probably the most difficult race of the night comes here as a full field sprint down the straightaway at Meydan. The call here goes to #12 WATCHABLE who possesses some qualities that should do him well at Meydan. He races near the speed which in these races down the straight at Meydan tend to favor horses near the pace. This is a gelding that also runs well fresh, having run well in a listed stake at Haydock in his 2016 debut. He is drawn fine in gate 9 tonight and can lead or track a decent pace for jockey Daniel Tudhorpe and can get the money. #10 Final Venture is another with sufficient early speed who has stepped up in the handicap. He is 12 pounds better off than he was three starts ago and made a sufficient prep at Wolverhampton in Britain for this test today. Pat Dobbs can use his speed and is another contender that is likely to go off at decent odds. #16 Steady Pace goes for Godolphin here who comes off a disappointing run at Yarmouth in a 3 horse field and runs back on faster ground tonight. On the turf at Meydan running off a mark of 102 makes him a contender here if he can transfer the potential that he showed in Britain to Dubai. A spread race for sure.
1st: #2 Sanshaawes 2nd: #7 Majeed 3rd: #4 Basateen
Another nearly impossible race in the finale. Wide open races are what characterize the Dubai International Racing Carnival. And we are going to go with one that Mike De Kock feels fairly confident about, having likely improved on his run last week, #2 SANSHAAWES. This gelding had every chance turning for home but ran like he needed the race. I think the drop in class will benefit tonight and can give Mike De Kock another winner at the Dubai International Racing Carnival. He is running off a mark of 109 which is only 2 pounds above the level he won at last season, a mark that seems attainable to win at. #7 Majeed may be yet another live runner for David Simcock tonight though he runs fresh, having not run since the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine last season. This gelding was listed-group 3 quality in Britain last season and ran a fair race when raised up in grade. This level seems within his range even though he may prefer a slightly longer distance tonight. #4 Basateen has not raced since running creditably in the Dubai Turf behind Real Steel. He romped at this level and course and distance when running off a mark of 100. He runs fresh with a 107 rating tonight so that may be tough to overcome first off but must be included in case there is much more in the locker.
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