Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Dubai Carnival Picks for Thursday, February 6, 2014

UAE 1000 Guineas (Race 4):
This will be our second time seeing Godolphin runner Wedding Ring during the Carnival, who won in her first time out off a three month layoff last month. She closed well into a fairly pedestrian pace and should benefit from what will assuredly be quicker early fractions this time around. I'll also be watching out for Letterfromamerica, a daughter of Ghostzapper who impressed when finishing third in Wedding Ring's last outing. She was the pacesetter that day and held on gamely to get a piece in what was her first start since July. Expect her to further improve here.

Pick: Wedding Ring to win, Letterfromamerica e/w

Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (Race 6):
A son of Distorted Humor out of a winning A.P. Indy mare, Artigiano, who finished sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf in 2012, is set to make his debut on the Tapeta. The surface switch is a non-issue, given his pedigree (which actually looks to be that of a dirt runner more than a turf runner to me). This will be his second race off the long layoff and his form was flattered when the two horses who beat him last time out, Mushreq and Gabrial, both came back firing. The former ran gamely to lose by just a neck to Mujaarib and the latter came back to win by a head. Artigiano was a bit keen last time out, but being his first run off such a long break that's to be expected. I expect him to settle better this time around and although drawing a wide post hurts, he should be ready to fire here. Defending champion Hunter's Light obviously has a chance, as he certainly loves Meydan, but he did flounder a bit towards the end of this meet last year and it's tough to side with him considering he will be a very short price.

Pick: Artigiano e/w

Cespa Mile Handicap (Race 7):
There are plenty of wide open races on today's racecard, but this doesn't appear to be one of them. Favorite El Estruendoso looks to be the clear standout. He ran a big race to miss by just a head to Gabrial last month and both drawing the inside post and the slight cutback in distance should only further help him in what will be his third start off the layoff.

Pick: El Estruendoso to win

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