12:15, Meydan: Roman Rosso
He ran well from a wide draw over 1m2f here earlier in the month when third to Salute The Soldier and Hypothetical, who are both towards the top of the market for the World Cup later on, in a Group 1 and that form gives him definite chances in a wide-open race.
Most of his recent form has come over further but he ran another good race over 1m here in January, and he has a fair enough draw in seven. He seems to be coming to the boil nicely, and he has a fair each-way shout after his run last time. That said, anything could win this, though I suppose Midnight Sands is the rightful favourite after what he did last time.
12:50, Meydan: Spanish Mission
Another race in which you can make a case for a good few but we saw what a good horse Spanish Mission is when he won the Doncaster Cup last season and he probably wasn’t far off that level of form when second for me in Saudi Arabia last month, just ahead of Secret Advisor, though that one is 4lb better off here for a neck. Trip and ground are ideal, and he has a decent each-way chance, for all the competition levels are pretty deep, as I said.
13:30, Meydan: Extravagant Kid
His midfield draw in eight at least gives me options over this straight 6f. As for his form claims, he and the rest of the field have plenty to find with Space Blues, and if the Godolphin horse runs his race then we are all up against it.
But Extravagant Kid probably put up a career-best when fourth in the Turf Sprint at the Breeders’ Cup, he has finished second in all three of his starts in 2021, and he has an outside shot of being the best of the rest at a big price if he can reproduce that Keeneland form, though of course the likes of Equilateral and Khaadem will be better known to most.
14:05, Meydan: Takeru Pegasus
He only made his debut when a runner-up in October, but he won his maiden and then finished second to a good horse at Tokyo over 1m the following month, and his pedigree certainly suggests this extra distance should suit.
Hopefully, his recent fourth, again over a mile, last month – they rode him differently there – will have teed him up nicely for this and his draw in seven could have been worse. This is yet another wide-open race, but I have a shot.
14:40, Meydan: Red Le Zele
He looks to have been in good form this year and has his chance in a race in which a mere 6lb splits the top and bottom-rated horses. That tells you the open story of this race.
His wide draw in 13 could obviously see him detached and playing catch-up from an early stage here, but that doesn’t bother me too much to be honest with you given his run-style and hopefully his form over further – he finished fourth in in Grade 1 on dirt over 1m last month – could come in very handy here if they go a proper gallop and they come back to him. It could be that 7f is his best trip, but you can see him going well all the same.
15:30, Meydan: Regal Reality
Lord North sets the standard on his best UK form, that being his Prince Of Wales’s win, while Lord Glitters has been in great nick here this year. But Regal Reality came back to his 2019 best at the end of last season with the visor on, running Kameko to ½ length in the Joel Stakes, and I can see him running a big race here.
He clearly has the pace for a mile and the stamina for 1m2f, so this intermediate trip could be ideal. He was in good form and working well at home before traveling over and he looks sure to get his ground. And he is a horse who does go well when fresh. Again, his midfield draw in seven could have been better and could have been worse, so I will play the hand I have been dealt.
16:10, Meydan: Mogul
This looks a proper race and it will take some winning. The Japanese horse Chrono Genesis is top class – she has won the Japanese equivalent of the Prince Of Wales’s and King George, and is a three-time Grade 1 winner who never runs a bad race – and we know what Mishriff can do when on song, as well as there being other improvers in the line-up like Charlie Appleby’s pair.
But Mogul, drawn on the inner in one, has rewarded the faith and patience we stored in him from the spring of last year with a series of excellent closing efforts in 2020, most recently when running away with the Hong Kong Vase for me in December. I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet, so that augurs well for his chances and we are very happy with his progress.
16:50, Meydan: Title Ready
His stamina for this 1m2f trip doesn’t look assured but we do know he comes here in form, having won well last time in the Grade 3 Louisana Stakes over 1m1f. I see the runner-up has won since too, so let us see what he can do as he steps back up in class again.
I think it is fair to say that he needs to improve a fair bit here though on what we saw of him in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but nothing much scares you that much in here, does it? You can’t argue too much with his draw in four, as well.