Dubai Carnival Picks for Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (Race 1):
The favorite in this race, and rightfully so, will be the American-bred Cat O'Mountain. This son of Street Cry out of a graded stakes winning Storm Cat mare, should be tailor made for this race. He's undefeated on the All-Weather (4 for 4) as well as at the distance (2 for 2). I'm going to side with a horse who I believe is improving and has a lot of upside, however, and that is Haafaguinea. Primarily a turf horse, Haafaguinea's only start on synthetic came in his maiden victory in the UK, which he won narrowly. He's won twice since then, the most recent of which came in a handicap at Newbury, where he appeared to run a bit greenly at times, but still was able to get the job done in a field that included Saxo Jack. He looked strong at the end of that race and galloped out nicely afterwards, which gives me confidence that he will not have a problem handling this slightly longer trip. It's also worth noting he's a recent Godolphin purchase and coming off the fourth month freshening, he should be ready to fire.
Pick: #5 Haafaguinea

UAE 1000 Guineas Trial (Race 2):
On paper, the Oasis Dream filly Wedding Ring looks to be the hottest horse of the bunch, having won her two most recent races. It's worth noting, however, that both of those races were in restricted company and she did not win either race by much. I, instead, will side with the Ghostzapper filly Letterfromamerica, who should have a big each-way chance. She broke her maiden last time out, in her third start, over today's distance at Roscommon. She will wear blinkers for the second time and although she has only run over the turf, Ghostzapper has produced stakes winners on the All-Weather, including Judy the Beauty. It's also worth noting that LetterfromAmerica is a half sister to last year's Breeders' Cup Marathon winner London Bridge.
Pick: #5 LetterfromAmerica (e/w)

UAE 2000 Guineas Trial (Race 3):
It's definitely concerning that Godolphin runner Emirates Flyer has been a bridesmaid so many times in his young career, but you can't fault who he has finished just behind. He finished a close fifth at Ascot behind No Nay Never and despite a bit of a tentative start, he weaved through the field and looked the strongest of everyone save the winner coming to the wire. He's also ran runner up to the undefeated Kingman, was a close second to Washaar who backed up that form with a win in his next outing, and most recently he missed finishing on top by just a neck. This will be his first run since May and his first start over the All-Weather, but he has definitely faced the classiest fields of all of the runners to this point.
Pick: #7 Emirates Flyer

Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup (Race 4):
This one is ridiculously wide open, as you could make a case for nearly every one of the horses in the field, but I'm going to side with the Godolphin runner Energizer. This son of the late Monsun showed plenty of talent as a two and three-year-old, particularly in his win in the Tercentenary over today's distance. He beat the likes of Mukhadram and Grandeur in that one and was purchased by Godolphin afterwards. He was, unfortunately, one of the horses caught up in the doping scandal and has not run in over a year, as a result. Another horse in a similar situation, Steeler ran mighty well in the first day of the Carnival, however, so I'm not terribly put off by that. If he runs as he did in the Tercentenary, he should best this bunch.
Pick: #7 Energizer

Dubawi Stakes (Race 5):
The feature race of the day, the Dubawi Stakes is in essence a rematch of last year's Dubai Golden Shaheen, as five of the first six finishers from there are running here, highlighted by the return of last year's Golden Shaheen winner Reynaldothewizard. Reynaldothewizard has won his last three races, all of which were over today's course and distance, but he has not raced since March and I'm thinking he's here to get a run under his belt and that he may not be up to top standard just yet. I'm instead going to side with the likely pace setter in this race and that's Russian Soul. He has run four times at this distance, in which he finished in the top two on three of those occasions, and has never finished outside the top two in five runs over the All-Weather. He finished relatively close to the well-regarded Shea Shea and Sole Power here last March and more recently ran a good second to British Champions Sprint Stakes winner Slade Power, as well as, a close third to Dutch Masterpiece in the Flying Five Stakes. Russian Soul won over today's distance in a G3 at the Curragh last time out.
Pick: #6 Russian Soul

Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise (Race 6):
Start Right will break from a very wide post, but that hasn't deterred him from running well in the past. The son of Footstepsinthesand, Start Right finished third in both of his starts at Meydan last year, the most recent of which was in spite of starting from the thirteenth stall. He may very well want to go further, but with blinkers on for the first time and a what should be a healthy pace up front, he could be the one to pick up the pieces late.
Pick: #15 Start Right (e/w)

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