Meydan: classy handicaps take centre stage on a quiet SaturdayPICTURE: Dubai Racing Club
Classy handicaps take centre stage at Meydan
Preview: UAE, Saturday
Meydan (Aw and turf)
IT may not be an official Carnival meeting but Saturday's Meydan card has attracted several Carnival aspirants with two turf handicaps in particular offering a touch of class.
Keith Dalgleish saddles Santefisio in the first, a 6f dash and he faces the maximum 15 rivals in an ultra competitive race over the course and distance the trainer's first UAE runner, Stonefield Flyer, ran well for a long way on Thursday before tiring in a race Tamaathul lowered the track record.
His best form is arguably over further and on Polytrack though and Dalgleish said: "The Carnival races are proving hard to get in so this is an ideal opportunity to get him going and hopefully a big run will boost his claims."
South African trainer Mike De Kock, who opened his 2013 account on Thursday, echoed similar sentiments about his runner, Royal Ridge, the mount of Paul Hanagan.
"We have been trying to run him at the Carnival on Tapeta but he has been eliminated so this is a chance to run him. The trip will be a minimum for him but he seems in good order."
De Kock's charge shares top-weight with Ahtoug, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni who was in treble form on Thursday, while fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is set to saddle Mysticism, a new recruit from America.
The Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Firestreak may be best of the locals with Wayne Smith in the saddle.
Bin Suroor is responsible for four of the 16 declared in the concluding 1m2f turf handicap with Silvestre De Sousa aboard Flag Officer suggesting he is the yard's first string.
Doug Watson would appear to have a strong hand with recent Abu Dhabi winner Mantoba joined by stable companions Jawhar and Dr Faustus who were fourth and fifth respectively in the same race.
Watson said: "That was Mantoba's first turf run for us and he relished it. He has always worked well but did not handle the Jebel Ali dirt. He had some good form for Brian Meehan and hopefully he can build on that win.
"He had the run of the race compared to the other pair and we were pleased with Jawhar on his local debut and one day things will fall right again for Dr Faustus. All three are fit and well and I am looking forward to the race."