Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Thursday, February 23, 2017
On this Thursday at Danonymous, after a week layoff, 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!
Apologies for missing last Thursday of the Carnival, I fell ill and then had to be evacuated from my place for a day, so had to do some scrambling briefly. But all is alright and we move on to night nine of the Dubai International Racing Carnival. Last time we had just a single 8/5 winner, almost complete blowout, so we have work to do on the win end to ensure a positive ROI for the meet. Thursday features the UAE Oaks, Nad Al Sheba Trophy and the return of Mubtaahij. There are also some competitive handicaps and some enticing wagering opportunities, so lets get to the action as we will omit the opening arabian race.
ROI Through Night Eight of Carnival
Win Selections: 47-12-7-4 ; +$0.20 ROI
Pick Three Selections: Bet $593; Returned $1,207; ROI: +$614.00
1st: #10 Nobelium 2nd: #1 Really Special 3rd: #7 Top Score
The Meydan Classic kicks off the thoroughbred portion this evening, and the call goes to one I would not have even considered last time. #10 NOBELIUM ran a giant race in his first start in the Trial and was an unlucky loser. Second time out, I would hope for improvement, and any further improvement should land him in the winners circle. Massive jockey upgrade to Christophe Soumillon here needs to overcome the wide draw but is capable. #1 Really Special showed she was not a natural dirt runner when running off the board as an odds on favorite in the UAE 1000 Guineas. Comes back quickly on a different surface, we will see if she has maintained form with Oisin Murphy aboard. #7 Top Score is another Godolphin who bested the top pick in the Meydan Classic Trial. Rebounded when switched to turf and showed decent form in Europe. A contender with Adrie de Vries aboard and could be a decent price.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 1,7,10 / 3,4,9,12 / 1,2
1st: #12 Huge Future 2nd: #4 Viren’s Army 3rd: #9 Classic Collection
There aren’t a lot of horses in form in this handicap and the call goes to a likely second start improver, #12 HUGE FUTURE. He had some market support in his comeback but could only manage a 5th off the layoff. Second back, I think there will be a better performance from a better draw. He ran 2nd off a mark of 95 three starts back and runs in cheekpieces for the first time tonight. Watch the market for support. #4 Viren’s Army is another Godolphin who comes off a disappointing effort when well supported. Tonight’s distance should be much better, having won at the trip in the past. Another one adding cheekpieces tonight and gets Colm O’Donoghue in the saddle. #9 Classic Collection is the Godolphin in the blue cap coming off a disappointing effort behind Folkswood, but it is encouraging that he wheels back quickly. He was a winner two races back off a mark of 96. It is unclear if he can win off this higher mark, but he should definitely be a factor here with Oisin Murphy in the saddle.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 3,4,9,12 / 1,2,5 / 4,6
1st: #1 Rajar 2nd: #2 Complimenti 3rd: #5 Nashmiah
Co-feature of the night is the UAE Oaks and most of these come out of a very slowly run UAE 1000 Guineas. #1 RAJAR gets the call as she seemed to be plugging on alright and gets the third run off the layoff. The distance should be suited by the pedigree and gets to save ground with Richard Mullen here. May offer the most value of those coming from the prep for this. #2 Complimenti was beaten by the top pick but is surely to start shorter odds here. Still a maiden, this filly was finishing best of all in the prep and was beaten under 2 lengths. Should get to save ground with Pat Dobbs aboard and gets a beneficial post position switch after starting from the parking lot the last two times. #5 Nashmiah from Saudi Arabia shocked them in the prep to run her record to a perfect 4 for 4. She proved that she can compete at this level last time and fought on gallantly. Wheels back quickly so that is a concern but can contend on her day.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 1,2 / 4,5,6 / 2,4,5
1st: #6 Beautiful Romance 2nd: #4 Vazirabad 3rd: #5 Sheikhzayedroad
Saeed bin Suroor has been super with returning horses over the course of the Carnival and can add to the total with #6 BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE. This filly capped off her 2016 campaign with a game win in a Group 2 at 12 furlongs in Australia. She ran a credible 7th in the Melbourne Cup last year and likes the fast ground. Today’s distance should be right up her alley and should offer good value tonight. #4 Vazirabad is a Group 1 winner making his 2017 debut in a prep for the Dubai Gold Cup in 5 weeks time. This gelding won the 2016 Dubai Gold Cup off a layoff at the 2 mile trip, but they choose to run with a prep this year. He has not run this short in awhile and has not won this short since the beginning of his career. May need one here. #5 Sheikhzayedroad is a very consistent type who may need this one off the layoff. The newly turned 8 year old runs for a trainer who has been cold through the Carnival, so it is best to tread lightly here. Loads of class but likely needs this.
Suggested Pick Three Play: 4,6 / 2,4 / 2,6,7,8,11
1st: #2 Hunting Ground 2nd: #4 Mubtaahij 3rd: #5 Alabaster
An interesting handicap used by California Chrome to Dubai World Cup glory last year is being used by Mubtaahij to prep for this year’s Dubai World Cup. However, I am going to try to beat him in this spot with the sharp #2 HUNTING GROUND. There does not appear to be much speed in this spot and Mickael Barzalona can utilize the inside to make the running. That strategy paid off last time and while he is raised in the handicap, his consistent form over the dirt shows that he can defy the raise in the weights and is taken to win again. #4 Mubtaahij was the runner up in last year’s Dubai World Cup after getting a dream run up the rail. They sent him to the United States, where he ran 2nd in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga. He disappointed at 10 furlongs twice in the U.S. when he had less than ideal trips, so I am curious about the trip for him today fresh. Cannot leave him out completely but lets try to beat him on the win end. #5 Alabaster was ultra game in victory last time when hope surely looked lost. That was against a lot softer and a much better performance would be needed to win tonight. He was purchased by Godolphin with much bigger races in mind, perhaps he is starting to come into his own.
1st: #6 Oh This Is Us 2nd: #8 Tahanee 3rd: #2 Bravo Zolo
An ultra competitive handicap at 7 furlongs caps off the night and the call goes to an unlucky loser off the layoff last time, #6 OH THIS IS US. He was running on strongly at the end after being held up for run at the top of the straight and was probably best in that race. He is not moved up in the weights as a result of that run either, so he gets the nod with Pat Dobbs aboard. #8 Tahanee was in the blanket finish with the top pick last time when starting third off the layoff. I think we saw the best of her that day and it is hard to imagine her improving while others may have room to improve. Definitely worth an each way swing if the improvement from others does not come. #2 Bravo Zolo was an easy winner on the comeback and is raised 5 pounds for the win. Not many spots left in the Carnival, so they have to run here. May be too much of a step up but has form that is too sharp to ignore.
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