With six more Carnival races from Meydan this Thursday, we have selections and analysis from two competitive betting heats on the card.
The Al Maktoum Challenge Round One has a familiar look to it this year with North America and Heavy Metal ready to clash again this evening and it’s the latter who would appear to be a more attractive betting proposition this time around.
Heavy Metal, a formerly smart turf horse for Mark Johnston, has been a revelation since switched to the dirt at Meydan and signed last season off with a Group 2 success in the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night.
Consistency is the nine-year-old’s game, only beaten last year when drawn wide or unable to dominate the race and he’s expected to get an uncontested lead here with his impressive gatespeed.
Sandeep Jadhav’s charge had the subsequent Group 1 winner North America a well beaten 12 lengths behind in this race last year, and today’s contest is expected to be more of a test of fitness than it is class.
Connections will be keen on securing their spot for March 30th again at the first opportunity here and he’s a worthy favourite who is available to back at a bigger price (2/1) than he returned at when winning 2018’s renewal (13/8), despite this looking like a slightly weaker field.
North America went from strength to strength throughout last season, but his trainer Satish Seemar has made no secret of the point that his gelding will need the run and they’re likely to take a similar path to last year, seeing this race as a starting point. The Dubai World Cup will be his main aim once again.
Kimbear has the ideal pea draw (1) in the race and he made an encouraging return to action over an inadequate six furlongs at the course last month but whether he quite has to the class to get the better of proven Group 1 performers here is questionable. Given that he has race fitness on his side, he holds solid enough each-way claims.
The finale of Thursday night Carnival meetings is nearly always an ultra-competitive handicap but there’s one runner who has solid each-way claims and may have been forgotten about to some extent in the market.
Seemingly exposed handicapers largely fill the field of 16 runners in this evening’s event but Hors De Combat did this column a favour when he was the selection for an equally competitive handicap at last year’s Carnival and he may have been overlooked again.
The eight-year-old quite clearly thrives out in Dubai, yet to finish outside the first three in any of his four starts at the course and he was a close second in 2017’s renewal of this contest, returning from a slightly longer absence.
It should be noted that the selection comes with risks attached, needing a strong pace to aim at and some luck in running, a combination he didn’t get in the UK over the summer. However, there’s nearly always a strong gallop on when there’s this many runners on the round course at Meydan and there’s little doubting he’s a better horse in the UAE.
The gelding returns only 3lb higher than last year’s winning handicap mark and from a nice draw (6), he makes as much appeal as any of his rivals under his optimum conditions. With bookmakers paying four places (provided all 16 run), he’s an each-way selection, available to back at 11/1.
Heavy Metal – Meydan 4.50 – 2/1
2 Point win
Hors De Combat – Meydan 6.00 – 11/1
1 Point each-way
1-5 Point Betting Scale