Meydan Punt: three strong fancies on Thursday's card
Winter Lightning (2.30 Meydan)
The UAE 1,000 Guineas is quite simply a match between Winter Lightning and Rayya. Winter Lightning prevailed in the trial, albeit narrowly, but the Godolphin filly can prove her superiority in better fashion here. Both are having their third starts but Rayya had the benefit of a warm-up before their previous encounter and Winter Lightning should improve for the run more than her Doug Watson-trained rival. The extra furlong should only boost the chances of Winter Lightning, along with the fact Rayya had the premium draw last time (Winter Lightning is on the inside of Rayya here). I expect the Godolphin fancy to prove one of the bankers of the carnival and would be surprised if she was beaten, although she won't be a big price.
Comicas (3.40 Meydan)
The front four from the Dubawi Stakes reappear again in this Group 3 and, despite being a quirky individual, it is hard to get away from Comicas after his performance last time. He missed the break, was pushed along four wide the whole way round and then powered home in the final furlong. If the Distorted Humor colt breaks well and settles then the sky is the limit, but he has the potential to give you dizzy spells on the way round. He has a small penalty to carry but is drawn perfectly in two, and any sort of performance like the one he previously put up should see him home. His backers should watch out for the old boy Reynaldothewizard, who flew home late last time and will be a danger again.
Thunder Snow (4.50 Meydan)
As much as I admired the race Heavy Metal ran in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge, Round 2 is a whole different prospect over a furlong and a half further and Thunder Snow should turn the tables from their previous encounter. Heavy Metal is superb over a mile but this is new territory and whether he can keep up his relentless front-running pace for an extra furlong and a half and with a poor draw is a complete unknown. Thunder Snow on the other hand is a proven stayer having landed the UAE Derby over course and distance in a bruising battle with Epicharis. The Helmet colt will surely come on for the run last time and is a true, hardy Group 1 type – expect him to turn the tables on Heavy Metal by swooping past his rival in the final furlong despite having to come from stall eight.
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