Dubai World Cup night is invariably a wonderful night’s racing and I am looking forward to seeing Japan’s unbeaten superstar Almond Eye take her chance on Saturday in the Dubai Turf dropping back in trip. Jockey Christophe Lemaire is adamant the filly has the necessary pace for 9f even though she has been campaigned over further of late.
She could be called the winner from some way out in the Japan Cup – 12f – last time and receives a 5lbs mares’ allowance against the boys. Lemaire gave fellow Japanese challenger Rey De Oro too much to do in the Sheema Classic 12 months ago and he cannot afford to get too far back on Almond Eye who is 5/4 at BetVictor to maintain her unbeaten record.
In the opener at Market Rasen today I hope to see Yaa Salaam (2.10) build on his promising hurdles debut when third behind two previous winners at Fontwell. The runner up – Khage – won at Chepstow last week and today’s better ground should suit this five-time flat winner in Germany.
Shanroe In Milan is interesting returning from a five month break for Charlie Longsdon but he may need slightly further on a left-hand track and he is reluctantly overlooked. Second Time Around had not been asked a question when coming down five out at Kempton last time, but I am surprised that he is again going right-handed as he jumped slightly out his left – as he had at Huntingdon on his chase debut – last time.
Follow The Swallow (3.45) is 9lbs higher than when runner up over C&D back in the autumn but is taken to reward each way support for Graeme McPherson. The selection has never won in Britain and only has one career win to his name under rules, but he will love underfoot conditions and has been given a short break since disappointing on ground softer than ideal last time.
I don’t think Ballyhome quite gets three miles and he is 3lbs higher than when caught close home over C&D last time. Fergal O’Brien’s 8-y-old has been freshened up and returns from a two-month break but stamina is an issue for me albeit today’s good ground will suit.
Back On The Lash (4.20) beat Saturday’s Newbury winner Humble Hero at Ludlow last time over the minimum trip, but is bred to appreciate today’s step up in distance and Richard Johnson keeps the ride for Martin Keighley.
At Lingfield I thought Shanghai Grace (3.05) was value for more than his head success over C&D last time when swinging wide into the home straight and then lugging in behind, before getting up close home under Cieren Fallon. The 3-y-old has a good draw in stall four this afternoon and I feel if he wants to remain a colt for much longer he should put his best hoof forward today.
Make Good was no match for Arabic Culture at Wolverhampton last time but was hampered inside the final couple of furlongs and would have finished closer with a clear run. Trainer David Dennis had a winner over jumps on Monday and his inmate must go close in the concluding 12f handicap.
The each way vote, however, goes to Smiley Bagel (4.40) who may have run into a very well-handicapped rival when second to King’s Advice over C&D last time. The winner has subsequently scored again from a 6lbs higher mark while the third – Sotomayor – was a winner here at the weekend. The selection has scored from a higher mark in the past and Richard Kingscote keeps the ride.