Hopefully last week was an exciting and profitable one for blog followers, with Nap, Con Artist, romping away with his race in great style, and Await the Dawn also scoring impressively. Sajjhaa and Mushreq both received positive mentions while Dux Scholar also given a write-up, bolted up in a fast run finale.

Igugu was the big disappointment of the day, but @trakusracing stats indicate, at least to me, she is worth another chance, having set some almost insane fractions early to mid-race. She could not possibly win after that, but i think she will be spot on after that lung-bursting reappearance as long as there is no bounce syndrome (that was first run for 13 months).

THURSDAY 28TH.

First, do please note there is also a Saturday Carnival card this week, and I hope to have a blog for that as well.

My early look at Thursday's card, (no market formed) I thought it was decidedly tractable, with winners findable, however the more I delved, the more a few lurkers surfaced on the formbook! Might be trappier than i thought!

Starting with the 5.05, a race which might well set a record. All nine runners clashed here 21 days ago and the weights were exactly the same as here! Lovely Pass tracked the front runner, Mar Mar and came through nicely. Got first run there and stayed on through the line strongly to hold the fast finishing Shuruq by 1/2 length with Music Chart in third. Back in fifth was Emotif for Mike De Kock, which went off as favourite, but De Kock's first time outers have figures of 2/22 at the Carnival this year, not exactly stellar, so Emotif should improve too for that outing.

The race is over 1.5 furlongs further on Thursday. It's a really tricky one this, and Shuruq would be the one were it not for slight doubts about the breeding, but LOVELY PASS (Meydan 5.05) was confirming a previous verdict over Music Chart, so gets the vote to go in again. Wasn't stopping at the line and with Classic Cliche in the pedigree, I think this daughter of Raven's Pass (a 10f winner on final career start) probably should see out this trip, with Emotif emerging as the biggest threat. That said i think there are better bets on this card.


I suspect the opener on the card sets up for IN THE SPOTLIGHT e/w (Meydan 2.45). Bay Willow has stolen two Carnival races this year off easy soft fractions in front, but with the likes of possible front-runners Modun, Bob Le Beau and Elderly Paradise in opposition here, I think this could be something of a burn up. the selection can race prominently but unlike a few doesn't have to lead.
Kassiano would have been the selection and is progressive (form franked by our winning nap last week, Con Artist) having form figures 1,2,1 this year had it not been for the pace angle. However just got first run on Royal Empire last time and was all out at the line there over this trip, which I sensed stretched the stamina to the limit. Off a strong pace here, therefore i just prefer the selection whose stamina over 12f and 14f will be brought into play if I'm right about the pace.

David Marnane's ELLEVAL (Meydan 3.55) NAP impressed almost everyone when winning in tremendous style last time, beating some much higher rated horses, and looks to be an exciting 3yo in the making. The Kodiac gelding can provide consolation for Irish sports fans after Sunday's hiding at Murrayfield... Ahem... Me, A Scot?? ;)
It's hard to know what to make of Now Spun's Leicester maiden win in the mud, faces very different conditions here, while Luhaif was brushed aside by the selection last time. Deauville Prince represents Soft Falling Rain form, so it will be interesting to see how that one gets on. An admittedly slightly tenuous formline through Filfil (fifth in both races) favours the Elleval form at tomorrow's level weights.

The finale is wide open. Although brushed aside by Trade Storm last time, Anaerobio had a clear break to the useful third, Mikhail Glinka with two Carnival winners, Rerouted and MasteroftheRolls in fourth and fifth. The time was good and that looks slightly stronger form to me than Spirit of Battle's good second behind Seachantach, even though the step back up to 7f will help. A career strike rate of 2/20 isn't that inspiring though for that rival, even though the run behind Lily's Angel was an excellent effort.
David Livingston might be one of those fine two year olds, who having shown little at three, bounces back in its four year old campaign. Fanunalter is another possible though I did see on twitter he may run in Qatar this week and it just might be that KENNY POWERS (Meydan 5.40) e/w is the one at this specialist 7f trip, after a good run behind Time Prisoner last time. Wide open!

MUFARRH e/w (Meydan 4.30) gets the vote here. Eighth of twelve behind Hunter's Light might not look great last time, but Await the Dawn and Mushreq, 9th and 6th in that race, were decisive winners here last week. So far it is working out to be the race of the Carnival and Mufarrh had previously been only 2L behind Barbecue Eddie in a Group Two. 
Also second in a G2 was Amanee, behind Sajhaa, but that was a weak race for the grade and the near 4 length gap was telling, even though the winner has gone in again since. That said Amanee is probably the danger.
Producer ran a mighty race when second to Royal Ridge, given how difficult the horse was at the stalls and keen in the race, beaten only a head. Kinglet was an eyecatcher in that event and there may not be much between the pair again.

Needless to say I've left the sprint to last but at a price JUSTINEO e/w (Meydan 3.20) might be worth a very small play for anyone looking for a bet. Fifth over 7f to Time Prisoner this drop back will suit and the Roger Varian charge lead a furlong out in that race. Could be overlooked in the market. Hitchens is a long standing favourite but at eight I just wonder if the sparkle might be a little less these days, nevertheless should have one good day left in him somewhere.
EDIT: Just 5/1 isn't great about Justineo, and sadly The Reaper is a non-runner. Ger Lyons plans to retire the horse.

Thanks for reading! Have finally decided to go with Elleval for the nap. Might not be the greatest price but looks the likeliest winner on a tricky card, which, having glanced through Saturday's declarations, should produce plenty clues.

BETS:

E/W Singles E/W Double:

2.45 Meydan: In the Spotlight e/w 14/1, Paddy Power
4.30 Meydan: Mufarrh NB; e/w 14/1 Bet365. I Love this price!!

Win Singles E/W Double:

3.55 Meydan: Elleval 9/4 NAP Paddy Power. Can Live with that.
5.05 Meydan: Lovely Pass 11/4.

The other two races the selections would be Justineo (5/1) and Kenny Powers (7/1) for anyone looking for bets. I will probably leave these two.