As in previous years, I'm doing a blog for the Meydan Carnival, start with the health warning that this is an amateur blog, and these are purely my opinions. All bets are of course your decision, but hopefully a few pointers along the way might help, even if they only encourage you to put a line through my picks. :)


5.55 Straight in with CAT O'MOUNTAIN (NAP)who gets the dreaded Nap vote for this week. A winner first time out in 2014, ending the Meydan campaign that season with a fine third to African Story in the Dubai World Cup. However not seen since winning a more modest event at Dundalk that October.

And that absence is the concern of course. We saw with the talented Faulkner recently that even a class horse in an average race can find things difficult on return. On the flipside though, who can forget when Hunters Light returned in a handicap last year in the Godolphin blue, initially priced at 7/1 and smashed off the boards, winning impressively.

Cat O'Mountain also takes on handicappers here, the fairly progressive Hunting Ground and the talented but sometimes tricky Farrier the likeliest to take advantage if the Nap isn't ready. However backing handicappers against horses with proven Group One form is the fastest passport to the poorhouse, you'll lose far more often than you win, (that might not be the case here of course due to the selection's absence) - but on that premise the selection is a fairly confident one, absence notwithstanding.

Interestingly, Hunting Ground was the stable's only runner to do well last week, and Emirates Flyer, second in that contest, was also the only runner from his stable to do well. Perhaps it was just a poor race where they were both flattered. Additionally, the selection has a smashing pedigree for this surface.

4.10 STEADY PACE finished two places and around 3 lengths in front of Rouleau when they met at Newmarket last time, and in these races it rarely pays to 'try and get clever', so the selection is taken to confirm the form here. Calder Prince and Market Rally are potential improvers and both can make a race of it, but I suspect they have to progress significantly from their Chelmsford and Monmore victories to down the principals.

4.45 Muarrab and Let'sgoforit both arrive on four timers here, while the all conquering Al Raihe team (4 winners on last week's card) are represented by Kifaah, but the old boy REYNALDOTHEWIZARD (NB) is taken to show them a clean pair of heels. A winner first time out in both 2013 and 2015, he is still the class act in the field and it will be getting harder for the 10 year old to make inroads when races become more competitive later in the season, so I see no reason for them not to have him cherry-ripe for his return. Indeed Reynaldo was the last horse to down Muarrab's colours, winning this very race comfortably by nearly four lengths last year.



The other races make desperately limited appeal this week from a betting viewpoint, no selection in the opening non-Carnival race, while the Fillies trial is open to any amount of guesswork. Polar River excited many on debut and might be too good for Promising Run, while the Singspiel has no betting appeal atall for me this year, Rather like the opener, just too much guesswork with questions against every runner.
In the finale the ever reliable Belgian Bill, who floored the subsequent double scorer Dark Emerald last year, can give us a good run at what should be a fair each way price. Easy seen it's a turf race, with a full field!

Many thanks for looking in and good luck if you get involved with any of the selections!




4.10 Steady Pace 11/10 Ladbrokes
4.45 ReynaldotheWizard NB 7/2 Ladbrokes
5.55 CatO'Mountain NAP 9/4 Bet365


3.35 Polar River 11/4 Ladbrokes
6.30 Belgian Bill e/w 9/1 Ladbrokes


ONE FOR THE ROAD: There's an undercard on Saturday and KASB (1.45) for the in form Al Raihe team makes plenty of appeal. Was running in G3 and Listed company a few runs ago, (less than 6 lengths behind Limato) and his last win came in a 0-95 at Newmarket. Will strip fitter for his New Year's day 3rd in a good race won by Kilt Rock, after a longish absence.


THANKS: Incidentally many thanks to those who supported the golf blog, however the number of hits was too low to justify the time invested in writing them. Happily the season was a decent one, and incase anyone is still interested will tweet weekly selections. Jimmy Walker should go very well in the Sony this week as he bids to win the event for a third year running.