A good start to 2013 for the blog with last week's Meydan nap Tamaathul running a very fine second at 16/1, and Friday's Dundalk nap, 9/4 when first posted, also triumphing. Also the short priced Jebel Ali double paid about 7/4 to reward early birds on Friday.

It's another really trappy card in the desert this week. The feature horse is Mike De Kock's Soft Falling Rain. This 3yo has the UAE Guineas as its target before a crack at World Cup night. Four from four in South Africa, its last win was in a race that produced five next time out winners, however GLASS OFFICE NB (Meydan 4.50) is fancied to create a surprise. The former is one of my shortlist of horses to follow through the next ten weeks, but last week the De Kock horses were disappointing, with the handler saying that his horses were more ring rusty than he expected and needed their runs, not being as far forward as hoped.
Glass Office's Kempton success was in a decent time for a 2yo. While the vanquished have mainly been running placed since, they were not in the same parish as David Simcock's decisive winner. The Simcock team with seven seconds and three winners in the last fortnight in the UK appear to be in excellent health and the progressive Glass Office gets a confident vote. Soumillon is not on Soft Falling Rain.

The opener is a real puzzle. it will be tough for recent eyecatchers Spirit of Battle and Iver Bridge Lad from the two outside stalls of 16, and a bigger run might be expected of the in form Capital Attraction in a slightly more manageable 13, however the likely solid one here is MARINER'S CROSS (Meydan 2.30). This horse won a decent 18 runner maiden on debut (subsequently disqualified for a banned substance) before a close second in a 5 runner Listed event at Newmarket.
That race has worked out well, however it's possible Mariner's Cross was flattered as it was a muddling affair and a slow enough time. Was only second start though so benefit of the doubt is given to the horse and with Godolphin in general making a fast start last week to the Carnival, this horse should take the beating. Depending on price probably not one to go in too heavily on, but worth a bet of some sort.

Neither the 1,000 Guineas trial nor the 6f sprint make appeal as betting mediums, though in the latter Invincible Ash should be sharper for last week's outing over 5f, finishing fastest of all from the rear, and in form Tamaathul, our Nap last week, should also go well and i couldn't put anyone off e/w bets on the pair. They have stalls 15 and 16, which on the straight course might be the place to be based on last week's sprint.

The finale looks wide open, and In the Spotlight is likely to be a worthy favourite, however I'm taking a flier with one at a likely big price. BOB LE BEAU (Meydan 5.25) is the e/w NAP shout. Two wins and a second from four all weather starts, but also acts perfectly well on turf, this horse was mixing it mainly in group Two and Group three company (plus being badly treated in the Ebor) during the summer and comes here on the back of a nice break. This represents a much needed drop in grade into a winnable handicap and Jessie Harrington's Big Bad Bob gelding might be overlooked in the market.
Won first time out as a 3yo and while stall 13 is not ideal should give us a sporting run for our money. Beaten only half a length by Sense of Purpose in mid-2011 in a Group Three, this trip will suit this horse much better than several of today's rivals.

Thanks as always for popping in or welcome if it's the first time! If there's anything for Dundalk on friday, or for Meydan's undercard on Saturday, will update here.

THURSDAY BETS: Slightly amended due to prices (always hard to predict for Meydan!)

Win Singles/E/W Double:

2.30 Meydan: Mariner's Cross (4/1 Ladbrokes)
4.50 Meydan Glass Office NB (4/1 Ladbrokes)

E/W Single:

5.25 Meydan: Bob Le Beau NAP e/w (Edit: 20/1 Paddy Power best so far, still hoping for a bit more) 4 places.