Meydan happily for followers has two meetings this week, on Thursday and Saturday. Thursday's card looks full of quality and finding winners as ever a tricky task. After two great weeks for the blog, last Thursday saw a series of placed horses and was ultimately disappointing.

As always, please note this is written before any market is available.

The UAE 2,000 Guineas is expected to go to SOFT FALLING RAIN (Meydan 3.55). Won the trial in very good front running style. The clock for that race (7f) does tell an interesting tale though, a sedate first four furlongs, this horse then quickened from the 3 to the 1 pole before coming home comfortably.
undeniably got the run of the race then and with the third fourth and fifth all renewing rivalry, might not have it so cosy this time. However he's a well regarded progressive colt and can win again. Of the vanquished, GLASS OFFICE (place only) is suggested to do best. Fizzy at the stalls, well behind and keen early in the race, that first start after a break, and on foreign soil, might well be left a long way behind. Was well fancied that day in the market but disappointed. Capable of much better.
Fortify might be the fly in the ointment, entered in the Kentucky Derby and presumably therefore highly rated in the Godolphin camp but still has it all to prove on the track for my money.

The 4.30 is a fabulous and likely very illuminating contest. Daddy Long Legs will be well known to UK readers, and the former O'Brien inmate makes its first start for Mike De Kock. He's a serious player and might prove too classy, but might take a chunk more of the market than he should, so I'm looking elsewhere. In the form of its life, Barbecue Eddie will have his fans, as will the progressive Elderly Paradise, while Jebel giants Treble Jig and Haatheq renew acquaintance.
It would be no surprise if any of the five won, however on only fifth career start I'm taking a chance with OUT OF BOUNDS e/w (Meydan 4.30). Second to the aforementioned Barbecue Eddie on first run for a year, and well drawn here in 3. If this colt by Unbridled Cat can get out in front, will take plenty of pegging back this time and at what should be a very good price, can at least make the frame.

The opener at first glance looked to be between old rivals Kassiano and Royal Empire. Kassiano is 5lbs better in for a length and a half defeat when they met here in January, and won next time out, beating Con Artist quite comfortably. Both are still progressive and there is unlikely to be much between the pair, however I'm rowing in with JAMR (Meydan 2.45). has twice contested Group Two races in its three starts this season and just been found out in both. Inbetween let Elderly Paradise have a soft lead and though finished best from out of the pack, couldn't peg back the winner. Back into handicap company here, i think can go in at what might be a fair price.

As often I'm bottling out of the sprint. Mental will be favourite and the race revolves around the horse's fitness. Might simply have far too much class for these, on the other hand is likely to have a more significant target later in the Carnival. Similarly Krypton Factor runs after a break and might be vulnerable, while Iver Bridge Lad is a reserve but if getting in, worth a look. The Reaper is a favourite of mine but was disappointing last time, and Balmont Last has as good a chance as any, along with blog 'regular' Tamaathul and the classy Hitchens. No bet!

EDIT: Iver Bridge Lad replaces The Reaper in the field and for anyone who must have a bet, he would be the each way shout.

The finale doesn't have too many candidates. Anatolian's win was franked when the second and third there fought out a finish last week and is likely to be favourite, while Bob le Beau ran really well and the drop back to 12f is in its favour. However a bit of a flyer is taken here with SHIMRAAN e/w (Meydan 5.40). Has some very smart back form behind the likes of Byword and (on one occasion) close behind Cirrus Des Aigles. Even with the weight burden, that would win this by a long way. Ahmed Ajtebi does get his Carnival winners, so his booking is perhaps less of a negative than it might look to occasional Meydan watchers 
That said, Silvaner also has good runs behind Meandre and most notably Danedream in its cv, so is another worth a look in the market in a race where it's a very small stake only for me

Hopefully kept the best to last though. In receipt of 8lbs from likely principal danger Rerouted, winner for the blog a fortnight ago, MASTEROFTHEROLLS (NAP Meydan 3.20) gets a confident vote.
Placed efforts behind Blue Panis and Mutahadee last season showed plenty of talent and there just doesn't look to be anything of that ilk here. Back on the same mark as these efforts after being raised just 4lbs for a nice win three weeks ago, MasteroftheRolls can follow up. 
Burano is 1lb better for 3/4 of a length behind the selection last time, but prefer the selection's turn of foot and overall form profile.


BETS:

Singles: EDIT First prices Paddy Power and my opinions. Added Iver Bridge Lad e/w as 25/1 is a joke price imho! 33/1 with betfred! Hitchens is a big old price at 12/1 too.

3.20 MasteroftheRolls NAP (3/1) Fair to good
3.55 Soft Falling Rain NB (11/10) Go off odds on I think; Plus Glass Office Place only, expect about 5/4

Small Stakes only:

E/W Singles E/W Treble:

2.45 Jamr e/w (7/1) Too big
4.30 Out of Bounds e/w (7/2) too short
5.40 Shimraan e/w (12/1) v good but probably won't be backed

Not really a bet for me, but if anyone wanted a 'recent course winners multiples' this card does have strong interest. 
Kassiano; MasteroftheRolls; Soft Falling Rain; Barbecue Eddie; Tamaathul; Anatolian. Have had a fun e/w accumulator on these six!

Hope it won't be a Valentine's Day Massacre, unless by punters! :)

Thanks as always for looking in!