A rollercoaster day on Thursday for the blog. The nap Elleval got rather caught on heels before trying to go for the same gap as the winner. in the end had to settle for a rail run and used a lot of petrol to nose briefly to the front before fading into fourth. The conclusion has to be that despite that less than ideal passage the horse wasn't quite good enough in better company than the time before. Lovely Pass was second and we missed out in the sprint. Paul Hanagan was very aggressive from the front on Justineo and even agricultural i thought, when challenged, before the horse faded into fifth.

The positives were much more satisfying of course. Kenny Powers ran a decent third at a nice price, (the horses i mentioned in that race filled the first three places!) and the e/w, double figure double, was in the money with In the Spotlight staying on gamely for third behind Kassiano and Mufarrh landing a fine 14/1 touch (touched 16 in the morning) for readers, once again franking the Hunters Light form.

A warm welcome to South African readers, i tend to concentrate on the flat through the summer and please note all race timings/prices are UK based. like everyone i have good and bad days and runs, no miracles, just sharing I'm sure your love of beating the bookies as often as possible!

SATURDAY:

Sometimes a card like Thursday's just looks right from the outset, and there are value plays on offer aplenty, other times.... I feel that Saturday unfortunately falls into the latter category, as I think a few favourites will be winning.

Most notably, ROYAL EMPIRE (Meydan 5.45) will take a world of beating, but whether it will be a backable price is debateable. Twice given Kassiano plenty to think about this Carnival and we saw how progressive that horse is, yesterday. With Christophe Soumillon back on board, Starboard, if able to get an easy lead, should rate the danger. The stable has had a poor start to 2013, though this one should at least make the frame, but I fear will be a sitting duck up the home straight for the selection.

Regular readers will know that I'm not keen on the sprints, however KAVANAGH (Meydan 2.50) NAP can strike here for Mike De Kock. The horse looked really well before its second to Mental last time and beat off the rest fairly nicely. Was about 2 lengths in front of the admirable Tamaathul there and can come out on top again on slightly better terms. Invincible Ash wins in its turn, usually when least expected, and is feared most.

The second is a messy race. Firebeam might well get his way out in front and is expected to make a bold bid, while the consistent Rerouted, a winner two runs ago for the blog, is respected, and Arnold Lane ran well here on Thursday. Red Duke ran better than the finishing position last time and is another to consider in a difficult contest. This is a no-bet contest for me, though if Arnold Lane is an e/w price, then that would be my tentative suggestion for anyone who simply must get involved.
EDIT: Arnold lane n/r. Firebeam should be in the frame with an easy lead and 6/1 Corals is tempting e/w.

To be honest I'm not keen on Race 3 either. Recent Carnival form is represented by Star Empire, Ahzeemah, Topclass and Certerach but its a far from insurmountable standard if the likes of Goodwood Group Two winner Saddler's Rock, Royal Diamond or Tenenbaum are fully wound up. This time it's a complete guessing game and i'm not playing! (Ejects toys from pram :) )...

At least race four is more enticing and recent winning blog Nap, CON ARTIST (Meydan 4.35) is taken to go in again. Stall 12 is not ideal, and the estimable @trakusracing has noted that Plantagenet, who clashes again, covered around 5 lengths further than the winner with a difficult passage throughout. Also has the inside draw which should help, however such was the emphatic nature of the winner's performance, i think he would have found plenty if Plantagenet had got within striking distance. Jawhar beat Dr Faustus in a weaker non Carnival race recently and they might be the other pair to give the selection something to think about, but even from the poor draw, the selection should score again.
EDIT: Infact i've been persuaded by @dubairacenight that at least a saver e/w bet on Plantagenet is a must!

The most intriguing race of the day is at 5.05. Musir is a Class Act, make no mistake, infact the class horse running for me here today. Second time out form figures of 1,2,1,2 further sweeten the case (the second to Twice Over perhaps the pick of all the form on offer today). However.... ran back from a failed stud career nine days ago and surprised connections by running so well. A bounce factor is very much on in that case. 
Interestingly David Simcock was equally surprised that Trade Storm, which he thought would need his last outing, absolutely bolted up, thrashing yesterday's winner, Anaerobio. A repeat here for me makes that one the likelier winner of the pair, but at the age of six, with four wins from 20 starts, wherever did that performance come from and will it be repeated?

In the end I'm going to oppose them both with FULBRIGHT e/w (Meydan 5.05). The second last time to Monwalk in Paris might well look even more impressive by the end of March and was just in front of Barbecue Eddie who beat him the time before in a Group Two. 

I'm hopeful that the market will be dominated by the former pair and we should get a nice e/w price.

EDIT: 

Singles and small e/w accy excluding Plantagenet:

2.50 Kavanagh NAP (10/3 Paddy Power)
4.35 Con Artist NB (4/1 in places) and small e/w single Plantagenet (About 10/1 generally)
5.10 Fulbright e/w
5.45 Royal Artist. Short but justifiably so. (10/11 Corals)



Thanks for reading as ever :)