Timeform Dubai SmartPlays: Thursday December 18

Racing comes from Meydan on Thursday
Racing comes from Meydan on Thursday

Timeform's Dubai team bring you their three best bets from Meydan on Thursday...

"It would be a surprise if Zain Shamardal couldn't improve now and if doing so he is a major player..."

Meydan 15:55 -The Taj

A good renewal of this Listed event and based on his performances in handicaps here this season, The Taj, who was a useful juvenile when with Richard Hannon Snr, should take this step back up in grade in his stride. Sholaan is a smart performer at Jebel Ali and there's no reason why he won't take to this surface, plus with the promise of plenty of pace in this, he could have this run suit. Both hold a race-fitness edge too with just them and Nawwaar already having run this season. Rafeej beat Tamaathul in this corresponding event 12 months ago when it was only classed as conditions race and he definitely faces a stronger field this year. 

Meydan 16:30 - Surfer

Both Surfer and Haatheq were placed in Group 1 company at Meydan last season and with the pair often running well fresh, there is no reason why they shouldn't be close to their best despite the change in surface. Preference is for Surfer, who won this last year and runners from this yard have often been ready first time up. His prominent style of running should be suited to the dirt here, which based on the races so far is absolutely imperative. Gold City, a stablemate of the selection, looks the best of the rest.

17:05 - Zain Shamardal 

Zain Shamardal seemed to take well to this surface when a close third to Shaishee over 1m here 2 weeks ago, certainly shaping as if a lack of a run held him back. For that reason it would be a surprise if he couldn't improve now and if doing so he is a major player. Storm Belt is likely to be a warm order after landing a C&D handicap impressively last time, form which is already working out with the runner-up Henry Clay going in since. Elsewhere Farrier is hard to win with, again looking the case on his return at Jebel Ali last time, though his class should see him thereabouts either way.

Recommended Bets:
All at Meydan
Back The Taj in the 15:55
Back Surfer in the 16:30
Back Zain Shamardal in the 17:05

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