It’s a typically competitive opener to the Meydan Carnival on Thursday and we have selections and analysis from two of the six races on the card.
The 5f sprint is the annual highlight of day one of the Meydan Carnival and Darren Bunyan’s Hit The Bid returns for another crack at the race after an excellent second placed effort in 2018’s opener.
Last year’s winner of the race, Ertijaal, suffered a fatal injury in the off season and there’s no doubt this is a weaker renewal as a result. Bunyan has stated that his star sprinter has travelled over well, and he believes that his horse is a stronger proposition for this year’s Carnival, having improved and strengthened in the interim.
The five-year-old looked a little unlucky in Ireland over the summer. Despite the lack of rain throughout most of the campaign, Hit The Bid somehow failed to get his conditions on his three attempts on turf but did at least gain compensation with an all-weather success at Dundalk in Group 3 company.
The Irish raider probably deserves to be outright favourite for this under his optimum conditions here and the son of Exceed and Excel is expected to take some beating, available to back at 11/4.
Team Godolphin enjoyed a remarkable 2018 with highlights including Saeed Bin Suroor’s eighth win in the Dubai World Cup and a fruitful summer for Charlie Appleby, winning the Derby before going on to Melbourne Cup success down under.
The latter has favourite Key Victory in the Singspiel Stakes on Thursday and he’s the pick of James Doyle, deputising for the suspended William Buick. The form of his Listed success at Newmarket in May reads well and while he was a shade disappointing when upped in class at the start of the summer, he’s expected to bounce back here.
While it’s fair to assume Appleby’s first string is the most likely winner, it might be worth taking a chance on Arod who is more than capable at this level. The eight-year-old returned to form for his new yard last season, winning a Listed event at Windsor in May and the son of Teofilo was a Group 1 performer on his day.
While he may not retain all that ability, he’s long appealed as the type that would do well out in Meydan and fast ground over 1800m is probably perfect for the gelding. Seemingly forgotten about in the market, available to back at 18/1, he rates as an each-way player with several bookmakers paying four places.
Hit The Bid – Meydan 3.40 – 11/4
1 point win
Arod – Meydan 4.50 – 18/1
0.5 point each-way
1 – 5 point Betting Scale