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February 8: Free Dubai Picks; Thunder Snow Back at Meydan

by Angus McNae, Racing UK

February 7, 2018

Benbatl was the star on show last week at Meydan. In a slowly run race where he had to race most inefficiently (111.23 per cent) he fired off a sensational final 200 metres in 21.79sec. He is, for sure, a Group one horse, now fulfilling all the potential he showed when posting a big time figure when winning the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last year. The Jebel Hatta and Dubai Turf are on his agenda. He was a winning selection here last week and that makes it eight winners for me since the Dubai World Cup Carnival started. On another stellar card here are four more selections.

Race 2 (10:05AM ET) - #4 Montsarrat (15/1)

Montsarrat was an impressive wide margin winner here on the dirt two starts ago. He made all and routed his rivals by more than 10 lengths. Next time up he was surprisingly switched to the turf, where he shaped well despite being given a far too aggressive ride by Mickael Barzalona. In effect he rode a dirt race on the turf; kicking clear but paying for his exertions. He is better than the bare result there and now returned to dirt - and able to attack from stall 1 - he can regain the winning thread.

Race 4 (11:15AM ET) - #1 Hit the Bid (GB) (2/1)

Hit The Bid gave the very fast Ertijaal a fright on the first week of the Carnival. He pressed the winner throughout and only gave way late on. He was in receipt of weight but that was still a big performance and, having been given time to get over that effort, he can win this race with authority. This contest lacks much strength in depth and the speed figures this horse has posted makes him a standout. He should be backed with confidence.

Race 5 (11:50AM ET) - #8 Thunder Snow (IRE) (2/1)

Thunder Snow won the UAE Derby in 2017 and had a decent campaign in top class company on the turf in Europe over the summer. He is being aimed at the Dubai World Cup and made a respectable start to this year’s UAE campaign when second to Heavy Metal here in round one of the Maktoum Challenge. His jockey, Christophe Soumillon, looked after him that day and he shaped really well. Thunder Snow should relish the step up in distance and he can turn the tables on Heavy Metal, who is a doubtful stayer at this trip.

Race 6 (12:25PM ET) - #16 Zaman (6/5)

I respect the chance of Tangled here, who switches from dirt to turf, but Zaman is the one for me given his classy European turf form. He was an excellent fourth to Gustav Klimt in the Superlative at Newmarket and chased home an on song Expert Eye at Goodwood. That level of form translates well to this Meydan Classic Trial and he hails from the in-form Charlie Appleby yard. Stall 11 is not at all ideal but this horse has plenty of ability and William Buick may well be able to slot in and get a decent trip in a very winnable race.