Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, January 26, 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 Four of the Dubai International Carnival sees only six thoroughbred races on the night but two group two races as well as a UAE 2000 Guineas Trial. One thing to look out for tonight is Godolphin’s horses. They look to have a decent chance in every race tonight. I have picked them to win four out of six tonight and it is quite possible they can hit that mark or even possibly exceed them. A few pick three’s on the horizon as we hope to get back on the board on Day 4 and we wish you the best of luck.
ROI Through Night Three of Carnival
Win Selections: 21-5-2-3 ; +$0.20
Pick Three Selections: Bet $314; Returned $1,004; ROI: +$690.00
1st: #1 Prize Money 2nd: #2 Gold Trail 3rd: #8 Desert God
The opening thoroughbred event on the evening going once around the Meydan turf track sees this as a pretty straight forward event. The call here goes to #1 PRIZE MONEY who won a nice handicap at Doncaster in Britain in his final race before the ship to Dubai. He had been knocking heads in Group company and may yet be a horse that ends up in group company by the end of the Carnival. Has to carry a lofty weight but if he runs back to his Britain form, he looks to be tough in this so-so handicap with Christophe Soumillon in the saddle. Of note is that Saeed bin Suroor is 3 for 8 so far at the Carnival with runners first back on the turf. #2 Gold Trail wears the blue cap for Godolphin and is also coming off an emphatic win at Doncaster running off a mark of 102. He was raised 5 pounds for that effort and is running off 107 tonight. That seems like a pretty reasonable mark and he has good form at the distance. Figures in this spot with Adam Kirby aboard. #8 Desert God was the Indian sensation we picked on opening night of the Carnival and was a flop. Had a wide trip that night and I like the jockey change to Chris Hayes tonight. Perhaps with a more ground saving trip and the beneifit of a race he can run into a place.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 1,2 / 8 / 2,3,4,11,12
1st: #8 Light the Lights 2nd: #4 Promising Run 3rd: #5 Elite Excalibur
A straight forward Group 2 sees our most likely winner of the night in #8 LIGHT THE LIGHTS. Trainer Mike De Kock has won this race eight times and has a big shot at a ninth. In a course and distance prep for this he ran on powerfully in the lane to catch Championship who came back to win the Group 2 feature last week in great style. Christophe Soumillon has a big shot at the early double if he can reproduce the first out run. Won’t be going off much odds but is a single. #4 Promising Run goes first up for Saeed bin Suroor, so I am sure she will leave her mark here. Gets weight from the others but still needs to improve if she is going to compete with the top selection. Group 3 winner in Turkey has an interesting jockey booking in Jim Crowley for this. #5 Elite Excalibur had a rough trip first up in a handicap where he broke awkwardly and though the race flow was from the back that night, could never really get into it. He figures to be closer to the pace if he breaks better tonight and can round out the trifecta in this Group 2.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 4,8 / 2,3,4,11,12 / 1
1st: #3 Cosmo Charlie 2nd: #4 Fly At Dawn 3rd: #11 Top Score
The UAE 2000 Guineas Trial is a muddled puzzle of maiden dirt form and better turf form, but uncertain on the surface. Lets give the call to #3 COSMO CHARLIE who was very impressive on debut, beating a next out winner Capezzano easily that night. Steps up in class but is in a manageable spot if he can break out running for the early lead and put some pressure on those trying the surface for the first time. Pat Dobbs takes the mount for Doug Watson and this race will go a long way in determining if they are to be on the UAE Derby trail. #4 Fly at Dawn ran a decent second in his first race on the dirt at Meydan a month ago and should be better for that run. Wears the white cap of Godolphin tonight and they have a good record in this race. He has shown consistent form in his career so far on all three surfaces and no reason why he cannot give a good account of himself again with Mickael Barzalona in the saddle. #11 Top Score has an American pedigree being sired by Hard Spun out of an Elusive Quality mare so the switch to dirt should benefit this one. To me, he has the biggest upside of these and may be worth a stab if the price is right. Only a handicap horse in Britain last year and wears the red cap of Godolphin but if he improves on the dirt, he can be right there.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 3,4,11 / 1,3,10 / 4,6,9
1st: #1 Very Special 2nd: #3 Realtra 3rd: #10 Tahanee
The other Group 2 feature on the night sees another heavy favorite, coming from Godolphin in #1 VERY SPECIAL. This filly ran a gallant 2nd to Alice Springs at Newmarket in her lone start in Britain last season. She has two easy Group 2 wins over the course and looks poised to add a third Dubai Group 2 score to her tally. This mare looks really tough here as her only blemish lately came behind Real Steel in the Dubai Turf. Jim Crowley takes the mount and this will be one to watch for later as she gets her season started. #3 Realtra came off an extended layoff to win on the All Weather in Deauville and returns to the turf tonight. This was a prep by Roger Varian for Dubai and while she ran better than expected, it may be a good sign that she is progressing nicely. There is potential as they threw her into Group 1 company as a two year old and with Andrea Atzeni aboard, can make a splash here. #10 Tahanee was disappointing in her comeback in a handicap but is turned around quickly by Mike De Kock. This might be a little deep but there is reason for her to move forward tonight with Christophe Soumillon aboard.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 1 / 4,6,9 / 2,4,6,11
1st: #6 Tumbaga 2nd: #9 Heavy Metal 3rd: #4 Munaaser
An interesting mile handicap on the dirt and the big question of this race is #6 TUMBAGA who appears to have a lot of ability but has not raced since 2015. He sports a dirt pedigree, abundant early speed and the rail post position. Only one way for Soumillon to go. It’s a matter of whether he will be able to get the mile off the layoff. For second lets go with hard knocking #9 HEAVY METAL. He has been raised two pounds off his good 2nd behind the rapidly progressive North America last time. This gelding was well clear that day and if he repeats that last race, he will be tough to beat here. He has been a hard knocking type throughout the UAE racing season and may finally get in the right race with Mickael Barzalona in the saddle. #4 Munaaser drops in class for the third run in three weeks. He finally gets a distance that is better for him than the 10 furlongs and possibly the right class level with Jim Crowley aboard. This gelding is running off his lowest mark in quite some time, having been lowered three pounds by the handicapper. If he has another in him, he can show it tonight.
1st: #6 Baccarat 2nd: #2 Jungle Cat 3rd: #11 Steady Pace
The finale of night four of the Dubai International Racing Carnival and Godolphin has a huge shot at landing yet another one. I have them picked in all the slots of the top three here, with the blue cap being the preference, #6 BACCARAT. He is coming off a layoff for Charlie Appleby but performed well off layoffs in the past. He won off a 495 day layoff at the course and distance for today’s trainer. He progressed well enough in Britain over the summer, eventually becoming well handicapped there. This is a softer field in Dubai and can appreciate the return to Meydan. #2 Jungle Cat won the equivalent of this last year and tackled Group company throughout the summer last year. This gelding is up 6 pounds from that victory last year but did so easily and maintained form that would at least good enough to repeat here. Another contender here. #11 Steady Pace had a tough beat when last seen at the Carnival and is raised in the weights here. Drawn inside which is not the best, but has the benefit of a run which the other Godolphin’s do not. Also using.
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