The Carnival has gone by all too fast and Friday is the last evening meeting, before the excitement of Super Saturday and Dubai World Cup day itself. What remains is a mixture of horses trying to earn an invitation to the big night and those trying to grab a little bit of extra prize money before returning home.
The interesting thing, so far as World Cup day is concerned, is that there is no fillies’ race on the card. Therefore Friday’s G2 Cape Verdi, confined to fillies and mares, is a “cup final” for some, while others are using it as a springboard to a European/US campaign.
Very much in the latter category is With The Moonlight, the most likely winner. Trained by Charlie Appleby who has won this four times, she took the Cape Verdi, over a furlong shorter than this, last time out and although she has a small two kilo penalty for that, she will be hard to beat here. Her main rival comes from her own stable, 2.7 million Guinea purchase Tranquil Lady making her debut for Godolphin, although this trip looks on the short side for her.
The Jumeirah Derby is not quite as fancy as it sounds, but it did give us a subsequent Grade 1 winner when Nations Pride won it 12 months ago. His trainer Appleby could also win it this year, with One Nation looking his leading hope over Highbank. Don’t ignore Fawzi Nass’ Sharar though: He beat older horses last time out and is likely to still be improving.
The Jumeirah Fillies Guineas, race four, is a new race, but it too is likely to go to Godolphin. Saeed Bin Suroor’s Mawj is a Group 2 winner in Europe but she only held on by a whisker over 1,400 meters here last time, so the step up to a mile here is a concern. Appleby has said, somewhat perplexingly, that this is a “day out” for Fairy Cross who will be kept busy over the summer. A Group 3 winner at Goodwood in the UK, that form should be good enough to see her win this if Mawj struggles with the extra furlong.
On the subject of distance, I think Bhupat Seemar’s Morning will enjoy having to run over less of it in the opening Al-Karama Stakes, while the talented Color Up is my pick in the second race, the Defender 90 Handicap. The Defender 110 turf handicap that follows is ultra-competitive but Wild Lion interests, as does Ouzo, who has run well on all three starts here over a mile but now has a last chance over this shorter distance. A horse with a good finishing kick, he might find that the field comes back to him here. If he wins, incidentally, then his jockey, Saffie Osborne, will become the first female rider to win at Meydan Racecourse.
The final race, the Defender 75th Limited Edition Handicap, also looks a tricky one to find the winner of. They should go fast, which will suit Street Mood, a winner twice over course and distance this season, so he gets the nod.