by Angus McNae, Racing UK
February 14, 2018
Thunder Snow was the star turn at Meydan last week when taking Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge. His performance though, although useful, was far removed from being one that puts him in contention to win a World Cup. His time was just below par for an extended 9f dirt race at Meydan and although he could improve some more I am doubtful that he is a legitimate World Cup candidate. He is essentially a useful turf horse who is effective on dirt. Five weeks of Carnival action have yielded ten winners here on the blog. Hopefully we can maintain the momentum. Week six is not a strong week. Small fields predominate, but we will get a chance to see a proper dirt horse in the shape of Gold Town, who should take the UAE 2000 Guineas in his stride.
Race 2 (10:05AM ET) - #2 Golden Wood (FR) (2/1)
Christophe Soumillon was at his brilliant best to win on this horse last time out and he is on board again on Thursday. The form of that victory has worked out well as the runner-up, Gold Star, has won since. He has only gone up 3lb in the weights for that success but given that he looked in tremendous form last time and has had a month to recover from his exertions he looks capable of defying the rise. He is usually held up (strong traveller) and could do with some pace to run at, but I will leave the tactics to Soumillon. That is often the best policy.
Race 3 (10:40AM ET) - #6 Jupiter Light (GB) (6/1)
Jupiter Light is having his second run since being gelded and his first for Salem Bin Ghadayer having been bought out of the John Gosden yard for 220,000 guineas. He is a winner on the Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton, which gives some hope that he will act well in dirt. He also starts his career in Dubai in a weak race and although Don’t Give up could easily win again he is certainly vulnerable to an improver. Jupiter Light improved for the gelding operation to win at Nottingham, when awarded the spoils, and there could be more to come provided he takes to the dirt. His keen going nature could well ensure he avoids the kickback and he is worth chancing.
Race 5 (11:50AM ET) - #4 Gold Town (GB) (4/5)
Gold Town is bred to be a dirt horse and moves like one, with his win in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial being impressive. He seemed to relish racing on this dirt surface and won comfortably despite racing through quick early fractions. Eased down to win by four and a half lengths, he was miles better than his rivals that day and those that take him on again are surely just pitching for minor honours. It will be disappointing if he cannot win this. He merely has to turn up and do what he did last time.
Race 7 (1:00PM ET) - #1 Suyoof (AUS) (6/1)
I get the distinct impression that this has been the target for this horse for a while and he can give Mike De Kock his second Carnival winner of 2018. Suyoof shaped really well on his first run here this season behind D’Bai. He was given plenty to do but under a quiet ride he caught the eye coming home strongly. At the 2017 Carnival a similar pattern emerged in that he needed his first run and shaped well before striking on his second start. He was a Grade three and useful winner in South Africa so a mark of 108 will be no barrier to success. He looks to be a massive player here.