If you're still here after last week's carnage, thank you. Obviously a very disappointing day, but I suppose it was bound to happen after four decent weeks. Nevertheless must try harder.

Selections near the bottom, as ever, but a different shape to this week's card, hence a one-off new betting strategy this week.

Of the selections, African Story didn't like the surface and the naysayers were correct, hold my hands up, took a view and got it wrong. Frankyfourfingers was something of a revelation winning in the style of a horse on the up and with more to come. Great shout that from @hughracing (Hugh Taylor) who nailed the race to a 'T'.
That's why Hugh is a pro, and your blogger a bumbling amateur! ;)

The rest (Kernoff reported lame) were disappointing, with the exception of Forries Waltz. on the face of it beaten a long way, but badly hampered on heels early and could never get competitive thereafter. I wouldn't give up on that one.

The PS, Silver Galaxy, as expected bolted up in the style of a progressive horse, but I can't really even claim that, one for committed odds-on backers only!

12 FEB

Another highly tricky card, however a few jump off the page immediately.

This week a different betting strategy, though I've previewed all the races (in no particular order)..


A page jumper here is Excellent Result, a dual winner here last year and still on an apparently tempting mark. Star Empire is ultra consistent, while a class dropper is Sociologa Inc, who had no chance behind Vercingetorix and True Story on reappearance. 
The very interesting Teletext last seen this horse split Ectot and Adelaide, a pair of Group One winners, and there's nothing of that level in here. 
The presence of Olivier Peslier should be a positive and did win on debut, so fitness should not be an issue. Only his sixth career start at the start of his second campaign, there's no apparent reason to leave him short of work for first outing of the year.

No surprise if he wins, and there's money for Songcraft who does go well fresh, but the racefit SANSHAAWES (e/w) NB, is up in trip, having just looked one paced at the top level over shorter.
There are plenty reasons to think this horse will go really well here down in grade. Sufficient stamina in the pedigree for sure, and if we go back to the gelding's 10f wins, was powering through the line, as he did even more notably when second to Prince Bishop in a Group one on Super Saturday last year. This is a good race for the grade, but a whole lot easier than taking on the likes of Designs on Rome, Vercingetorix and the aforementioned Prince Bishop.


This may lie between ASLAN (NAP; e/w if 9/2 or above, as long as 8 still look like running), who hacked up to take his maiden impressively last time, making all, and Layl which won a better race in the style of a horse on the up four weeks ago. Tracked the leader and kicked clear impressively when sent for home. Going to get a similarly nice lead this time from Aslan, however this time might find it harder to get past

Carrying only 1lb less, albeit on different cards, Aslan ran nearly a second quicker over course and distance than Layl. Of course that was at different meetings and comparing times on a new surface is a precarious exercise, but from where I time them off the home turn, both ridden out ran about 28.5 seconds to the line, and formlines through Tout and ultimately Quadrivium in America suggest 85 might be on the lenient side for the selection. Tomorrow Aslan will carry 10lbs less than Layl, and travelled sweetly enough despite being taken on up front.
Aslan, drawn one to Layl's eight, of course is stepping up from maiden company, but did it impressively enough, so is a value pick here. Layl is well known to UK punters and bookies, and I suspect as such might be priced up on the short side on what i would make virtually a 50/50. 

To be honest it's difficult to imagine many of the others getting involved, though Cry Joy will get the needed end to end gallop and is still unexposed, but looks booked for place money.


I'm not looking beyond REYNALDOTHEWIZARD here. Pretty much selects himself, a dull but hopefully correct pick. A winner in Group Three and Group One company, takes on these at level weights. Should get a nice toe into the race from Beat Baby, who can stay on into the frame at what could be a backable e/w price, and Listed winner Rafeej is another who can go well at a price, but this should be about one horse.


Arguably the toughest race on the card. Frankie Dettori's presence for the quirky Avon Pearl is sure to attract money. Had no realistic chance last week from stall 16 and, while a better effort can be expected, the step up in trip is not certain to suit given what seems little more than a sprint pedigree, and stall 12 is no gimme either. Can make the frame though.

SLUMDOGMILLIONAIRE (e/w)  has some class back form and is more likely to stay, and on a line through WhitelineFever in South Africa has about three lengths in hand of Rock Cocktail, while Belgian Bill won well on reappearance and couldn't get into a handicap last week in spite of that, but 102 still looks a workable mark and is another that can go close.

Rock Cocktail was a big eyecatcher behind Umgiyo. Interestingly the horse was widely assumed to have been Anton Marcus's 'other' ride on the card that day, having flown in from South Africa for the very disappointing Red Ray, but as I've said (albeit at shorter) looks held by the selection.
We've seen both sides of Pilote this Carnival, two solid efforts flanked by a poor one. Two places behind in fifth when they were behind Hunter's Light, was Almoonqith, after a horrid passage was staying on well at the finish and he is fancied to reverse that form. A horse we have yet to see the best of in my opinion, while Tha'ir should do better back on turf..


ELLEVAL finished two places ahead of Mushreq last time, behind Hunter's light, and is favoured to come out on top again. A horse that seems to thrive with racing, looked to be coming to a peak last time. Mujaarib was a neck in front of Mushreq last season, and is another to consider, while Vancouverite is yet another to tie in closely with Mushreq.
Zahee would not surprise. Has flattered here on several occasions without always finishing strongly, and maybe this will prove to be the right trip. Has some classy form without the wins that the De Kock team might have expected. 
So a tightly knit handicap and minimum bet for me.


Just seven for the UAE Guineas but a teasing race nevertheless. MUBTAAHIJ won the trial decisively and will be a warm order to go in again. Ajwad set that up by making the running and should strip fitter, but back in third was Maftool who last 12 lengths at the start after a disagreement with the stalls, and must go a lot closer here given a fair start. Burnt Sugar did beat Maftool over 6f last summer but does have a sprint pedigree.


Darwin and Romansh are intriguing runners here, but the way TAMARKUZ won last time, in the style of a progressive horse, makes him impossible to oppose. Does have quirks, but tons of ability to go with them, and in the current mood should be tough to get near, let alone beat.


It does seem to me that in the four dirt races only a few count in each race, and I've selected four last time out winners on the surface. Should three, or all of them, win, then I can think we can conclude it is time to bin the surface, only a few act on it, there's an undeniable pace bias and in most races only two or three count.

In the hope that Layl makes the market in the opener (and, I accept, is a real danger), I'll Nap ASLAN for the reasons aforementioned, but it's probably the only one of the four dirt races where there isn't a sore thumb standout selection.


Win Singles, E/W trebles and E/W Fourfold: Prices Added

2.45 Aslan NAP e/w 9/2. Paddy Power/Bet365
3.55 Mubtaahij 13/8 Corals
4.30 ReynaldotheWizard 5/2 Hills/Bet365
5.40 Tamarkuz.5/2 Ladbrokes/Bet365


Singles, E/W Treble:

3.20 SlumdogMillionaire e/w 10/1 Betfair Sportsbook
5.05 Sanshaawes e/w NB 10/1 Bet365. Nice
6.15 Elleval e/w 8/1 Betfair Sportsbook

ALSO an e/w double on NAP and NB.

Thanks as always for your time, and good luck as always. Very much with the formbook again this week, let's hope it serves us better than seven days ago....

PS: This week's PS goes to RoiDeVitesse (e/w if 9/2 or better) on the Saturday undercard. Once with the Millmans in the UK, was a smart performer and had placed form at group level, before being sold to race abroad. The RP form has a three year gap but that's because some races in Bahrain aren't recorded, was infact running regularly (thanks to @jrmillman for that info).

Last year resurfaced at the Carnival and was very far from disgraced, about 6 lengths behind Shea Shea and Sole Power. Showed plenty of that ability on recent start, and this looks a fantastic chance to get the head back in front, down in Grade and on a now very winnable mark of 99.