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Round Two of the Al Maktoum Challenge is the feature race on Thursday’s Carnival card with support from some typically competitive handicaps.

North America put up a dominant display when winning Round One of the Al Maktoum Challenge and he’s going to be hard to beat if he turns up in the same form or better in Round Two (4.50) on Thursday.

The seven-year-old gave the impression in the preliminaries he would come on for his run last time when seemingly carrying a sizable amount of excess weight compared to how he looked last year., Bhupat Seemar, assistant to Satish Seemar, had reported as much in the build up to the race saying, “He’s going to improve for the run and is better over further”.

His starting price of 6/1 hinted that there was a general belief that would be the case and he will prove a formidable opponent in a small field he’s expected to dominate.

While his chance is rock solid, it’s a case of “odds-on, watch-on” with his price at around 1/4 Fav at time of writing.

Earlier on the card, it’s a similar story in the UAE 2,000 Guineas (3.40) with several unexposed types/dirt debutantes taking on a rock-solid contender in Walking Thunder. He made light work of the trial for this race in the second week of the Carnival, landing a second course and distance success and the unbeaten son of Violence is a worthy favourite, despite his cramped odds.

The turf handicaps on the card are more competitive fare and it would be no surprise to see Nordic Lights come out on top in the Al Naboodah Travel Handicap (4.15).

The four-year-old was earmarked for the Epsom Derby last year before a disappointing run when very well backed for the Dante at York. He was then gelded prior to his run on night three at the Carnival last month, finishing a creditable second having set an unsustainable gallop.

He remains on a workable handicap mark after that run and Earnshaw who runs earlier on the card, did the form no harm last week with an eye-catching fourth in a more competitive heat. There’s every chance he’s a Group horse lurking in a handicap here and the son of Intello should continue to progress on just his sixth career start. He’s the standout candidate, available to back at 3/1.

The Selection

Nordic Lights – Meydan 4.15

1 Point win – 3/1

1-5 Point Betting Scale

Article Posted on Thursday 7th February 2019 @ 10.39

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Starting Gate

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sedgefield21-02-19 Pamela And Joe Christer Diamond Wedding Handicap Chase3m 2f 59y - £2469 - Good-good to soft in places

1 So Satisfied3/1

2 Forever Dylan8/1

3 Robin Deuz Pois5/2

4 Apache Pilot14/1

5 Flabello33/1

6 Alto Des Mottes10/1

7 Shaiyzar3/1

8 Notonebuttwo8/1

9 Scorpo16/1

10 Veauce De Sivola20/1

thurles21-02-19 Thurles Racecourse Supporters Club Rated Chase2m 2f - £15990 - Good

1 Jett4/1

2 Real Steel5/4

3 De Plotting Shed7/1

4 Moon Over Germany11/4

5 Landofhopeandglory8/1

sedgefield21-02-19 Bishop Aucklands Temptations Cafe Opening Soon Novices' Hurdle2m - £3249 - Good-good to soft in places

1 Ettila De Sivola7/4

2 Ingleby Hollow1/1

3 Bobndave16/1

4 Darsi's Jewel50/1

5 Tour De Pub12/1

6 Groveman3/1

7 Jo Cashflow66/1

8 Madam Scully100/1

9 Piccalilli Pie100/1

10 Duba Plains100/1

11 Thunder Boy12/1

12 Crimson Skies25/1

huntingdon21-02-19 MansionBet Handicap Hurdle2m 4f 145y - £3574 - Good-good to soft in places

1 Glorious Boru16/1

2 Loud As Lions14/1

3 Monk's View10/1

4 Druid's Folly16/1

5 Hear The Chimes8/1

6 Galactic Power8/1

7 Age Of Wisdom6/1

8 Zante8/1

9 Patience Tony16/1

10 Ermyn's Emerald5/1

11 Realms Of Fire8/1

12 Gamekeeper Bill14/1

13 Blue Rhythm16/1

14 Western Morning5/1

15 Keynote33/1

16 Blazing Glen50/1

17 Indian Reel33/1

southwell21-02-19 sunracing.co.uk Handicap1m - £2588 - Standard to slow

1 Compass Point9/1

2 Bee Machine8/1

3 Molten Lava8/1

4 Baron Run8/1

5 Break The Silence10/1

6 Cash N Carrie10/1

7 Iberica Road20/1

8 Going Native8/1

9 Ronni Layne50/1

10 Foxrush Take Time10/1

11 Greyzee11/4

12 Trouble Shooter12/1

13 Act Of Magic9/2

14 Made In Lewisham66/1

thurles21-02-19 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Novice Chase2m 6f - £13222 - Good

1 Mrs Lovett5/4

2 Dawn Shadow6/4

3 Nellie Pledge6/1

4 Oh Me Oh My13/2

5 Sweet Destination20/1

6 Miss Titanic100/1

7 Whats Your Beef100/1

sedgefield21-02-19 Brian Ellison Racing Club Chase (Novices' Limited Handicap)2m 5f 28y - £3769 - Good-good to soft in places

1 Lucky Robin5/2

2 Braavos8/1

3 Mistercobar16/1

4 Cap Du Nord4/6

5 Flying Jack16/1

huntingdon21-02-19 MansionBet Novices' Hurdle1m 7f 171y - £4224 - Good-good to soft in places

1 Anytime Will Do10/11

2 Clondaw Storm50/1

3 Fransham10/1

4 Hes No Trouble6/1

5 Middlescence40/1

6 Royal Reef100/1

7 Madam Anna80/1

8 Captain Speaking25/1

9 Chaparral Prince5/4

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