It may not be the Carnival, but there's still some excellent racing at Meydan and Timeform's Dubai expert, Stephen Molyneux, returns to bring you his best three bets...
"Godolphin, predictably, have some strong chances on the card, none more so than Flag Officer in the concluding handicap at 17:15..."
Earl of Carrick is likely to be popular in the opening maiden at 14:30 and he does stand out on both Timeform and official ratings, but he's not the most straightforward and the value could lie with Cool Wind who shaped well when fifth on her reappearance in November. That was in a handicap off a mark of just 66 but she could arguably have given the winner, Count Paris, something to think about had she got a clear run through, the merit of that well advertised by Count Paris's subsequent placed efforts. The step back up in trip should suit and, whilst her absence since then is a slight concern, she remains with few miles on the clock in comparison to most in this maiden.
Sand Stamp at least ensured that Surfer had a race last time before being brushed aside and he should make a bold bid to go one better in the 7f handicap at 15:40. He just has a maiden win to his name, but shaped well on his reappearance when fourth to Ganas (poorly placed) and served it up to Surfer last time in a minor event before finding those exertions telling late on. The handicapper could easily have taken a dim view of that effort (winner is rated 106) but Sand Stamp is only up 2 lb to a mark of 90 and, from a good draw in stall 6, he should take a bit of beating.
Godolphin, predictably, have some strong chances on the card, none more so than Flag Officer in the concluding handicap at 17:15. He obviously comes with risks attached given he was pulled up on his only start in 2012, but Saeed bin Suroor has a habit of bringing similar sorts back and the very fact they are persevering with him should prove significant. His form back in 2011 is very strong, needing his reappearance before finishing second to Sea Moon in a handicap at York, and the merits of that run has been well advertised in the interim. He went off favourite for the race he was pulled up in last year, an estimation of the regard in which he is hopefully still held, and this race provides him with the perfect springboard before hopefully running in some more competitive events at the Carnival itself.
Timeform Dubai SmartPlays
Back Cool Wind in the 14:30
Back Sand Stamp in the 15:40
Back Flag Officer in the 17:15
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