Meydan: Canwinn out to to win race for second successive yearPICTURE: Dubai Racing Club
Canwinn bidding for repeat performance
Preview: UAE, Thursday
Meydan (Dubai) AW (Tapeta)
Canwinn (Dhruba Selvaratnam/James Doyle) will bid to win the 1m conditions race, the best of five thoroughbred contests, for a second year running at Meydan on Thursday evening.
However, he will need to be at his very best to repeat that victory and faces eight rivals for whom a serious case can be made for most.
Selvaratnam said: "Hopeful rather than confident probably sums it up - it is a good little race and probably stronger than the one he won last year. He needed his first run and has come on for that so he should run well."
In winning this contest last year he was recording consecutive course and distance victories but was only fourth on his return this year in a race behind Barbecue Eddie (Doug Watson/Dane O'Neill) who is penalised as a result.
Watson said: "Eddie has been a great servant and that was his fifth win at Meydan but first at one mile. He showed he stays well and has been in great heart since but the penalty makes it tough, although we have a good draw."
O'Neill rode Haatheq (Ali Rashid Al Raihe/Tadhg O'Shea) when third behind Barbecue Eddie but O'Neill elects to ride Watson's charge and could also have ridden last year's runner-up Tamaathul (Al Raihe/Royston Ffrench) and Musaafer (Musabah Al Muhairi/Wayne Smith).
However, it is Al Raihe's third runner, Rutland Boy (Harry Bentley) who is arguably the most interesting runner on his seasonal return. Second on his local debut over 6f, he won his three other starts in the UAE, including twice over this course and distance and steps up in grade here.
Bentley, who was aboard Barbecue Eddie when he won a month ago, said: "He was in flying form at the end of last season and seems in good order at home. Obviously this is a big step up but he deserves the opportunity and we will find out a lot about him."
Storm Ultralight (Satish Seemar/Richard Mullen) has his first start for an in-form combination having left Godolphin for whom he was last seen trailing in last in Maktoum Challenge I in January 2011.
The meeting concludes with a 1m2f conditions race and Jutland (Watson/Pat Dobbs) should go close after his impressive win at Jebel Ali three weeks ago.
The trainer said: "We are hoping he is a Jebel Ali Stakes horse but he handles Tapeta well and there is not really another race for about five weeks. He has a penalty but came out of that win in great form."
The Al Raihe-trained course specialists Rochdale (Ffrench) and Zain Shamardal (Pat Cosgrave) head the dangers.