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The Dubai World Cup Carnival returns this afternoon with analysis and a selection in the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes.

The opening night of the carnival always holds plenty of clues for the weeks and months ahead and there should be a close eye kept on the dirt handicap where Etijah is current favourite (3.40).

Doug Watson’s charge has been running well in local events and got the better of the re-opposing Barreesh when winning by 6 lengths last time out. This would have to be considered a deeper contest, but he looks certain to get the decent pace he requires and he’s one to watch on dirt this year. His hold up style is rarely seen to good effect around Meydan but he’s capable of coping with the kickback and that will hold him in good stead in the weeks to come.

Unfortunately, his price takes these factors into account and current odds look skinny when bearing in mind he hasn’t always been the most consistent sort.

Stablemate Active Spirit could be the main danger with Pat Dobbs in the saddle. He doesn’t always break on terms but he’s a very effective front-runner when he does, and his high cruising speed is likely to get plenty off the bridle early. With some niggling doubts about his behaviour in the gate, he’s passed over this time.

The sprint race on the card is a typically high-class affair and Ertijaal is a worthy favourite back over the minimum trip. The Oasis Dream gelding is all speed and he thrives over the minimum trip on fast ground. There will be no one more disappointed with the decision to run the sprint contest over six-furlongs on World Cup night than connections of this horse but the seven-year-old still managed to place in the event despite the ground last year. If he returns in the same form, he’s very hard to beat.

Yalta looked the interesting one back on turf at last night’s prices, particularly when bearing in mind he broke the two-year-old track record at Goodwood a couple of seasons ago. However, the 16/1 didn’t go unnoticed and he’s less than half that price with most firms now.

Sir Maximilian shouldn’t be ruled out for the places. Ian Williams’ gelding warmed up for this with a run at Lingfield before Christmas and expect him to be involved in the minor money with Breeders’ Cup Classic winning jockey Fernando Jara in the saddle. The nine-year-old has run well at the Carnival in recent seasons and expect him to be spot on for this.

In the Singspiel Stakes (4.15), Benbatl is going to be hard to beat. His second behind Permian in the Dante is smart form and while he lost his way a little towards the end of last season, that was largely on unsuitable ground.

Saeed Bin Suroor is a trainer who likes to get them ready first time up and he’ll be hoping the colt can get him off to a flying start this year. The four-year-old is the class act in the race, and now available at 2/1, he’s selected to get his head in front.

Stablemate Carry On Deryck has to be the main danger. He lead home a remarkable one, two, three, four for Goldolphin in a Carnival handicap last year and is another who will appreciate a return to these conditions.

The Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge is an intriguing affair. Thunder Snow will always be remembered for his Kentucky Derby antics but that’s probably unfair and he’s never shown any signs of behaving in that fashion since.

He went on to win a French Group 1 last season, but he was a disappointment at Ascot on Champions’ Day. He needs to prove he’s no worse off for that effort and there’s a niggling suspicion he’s a better horse on turf.

Long River is a very interesting runner in the race but he’s probably one to watch this time out with stable jockey Mickael Barzalona preferring the claims of former Mark Johnston trained Heavy Metal. With that in mind, the race is left alone as a betting heat but one that is certainly worth a watching brief.

Benbatl – Meydan 4.15 – 2/1 Ladbrokes

1-point win

1-5 point scale.

Article Posted on Thursday 11th January 2018 @ 12.58

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