Forecast favourite Rich Tapestry looks to be the obvious starting point having won the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint here last month, beating the re-opposing Muarrab (2nd), Kifaah (6th) and Anfitrion Sale (8th). He broke well from an outside draw and ran out a convincing winner, although there is an argument he may have had to settle for minor honours if the hot favourite Marking hadn’t unseated his rider when leaving the gates. He obviously likes it here at Meydan having won twice and placed twice from four and in truth is difficult to oppose, although at the short odds I am hoping to find a little more value.
Muarrab boasts an impressive strike rate with ten wins from fifteen when racing on an all-weather surface, yet this drops to one win in five here at Meydan. He ran a below-par fifth here in January and although improved last time out to reverse the form with Reynaldothewizard he was still almost two lengths behind Rich Tapestry and may have to make do with minor honours again today.
Kifaah has two course and distance wins to his name and could prove to be the main danger to the favourite. He ran a great race last time out, really stretching the field only to be reeled in close to home by the fast finishing Marking. Nevertheless he was still well clear of the remainder of the field which included the re-opposing Shaishee. Based on that run he looks capable of a top two finish and is the each way selection at current odds of 14/1 as a 2nd placed finish would return more that backing the favourite to win.
Five furlong specialist Sole Power returns to action here and is partnered by jockey Ryan Moore. Given his record over the trip and the fact that he has previously ran well when returning from a break it would be no surprise to see him finishing the race strongly and trying to get his nose in front. However he isn’t getting any younger, doesn’t have a great winning record here at Meydan and was well beaten in three of his last four runs so isn’t for me at the early prices.
Goldream hasn’t been seen since finishing ahead of the re-opposing Mirza (6th), Sole Power (9th) and Stepper Point (10th) when winning the Prix De L’Abbaye at Longchamp in October but has to be considered today given that he has won on seasonal re-appearance for the last two years. If fully fit he could prove difficult to beat but is passed over today as it could just be a prep run for the Al Quoz Sprint later this month.
Instead we side with Sir Maximilian who won this race last year, has a 60% strike rate for making the frame over todays’ trip and has two wins over course and distance. He has improved with each run this year and ran out an impressive winner here a couple of weeks ago so with race fitness and good form on his side he is the selection.
Sir Maximilian (E/W if 9/2+)
Postponed has a 75% win record over todays’ trip and signed off last season with victories in a Group 1 at Ascot and a Group 2 at Longchamp. However for the last two seasons it has taken him a couple of races to get to his absolute best so in my opinion is worth taking on at the forecast short odds.
Preference is for Dariyan who has three wins and three placed efforts from seven career runs and although this is his first run over at Meydan his trainer A De Royer Dupre has a great record here. He was last seen a respectable third in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December and should be open to further progression.
Others to mention include previous course and distance winner Haafaguinea who is yet to finish outside the first two when racing at Meydan and Sanshaawes who steps up in trip today but has a good record here over shorter distances and will no doubt be a popular choice for many with Ryan Moore in the saddle.