Dubai Racing Carnival: Festive Friday Betting Tips

The 2024 Dubai Racing Carnival kicks off with a new "Festive Friday" fixture that has been added to the schedule and our expert Colm Doyle has a trio of selections including Equilateral who bids for a third win in the Ertijaal Dubai Dash.

2.05 (GMT) - Ertijaal Dubai Dash Listed Stakes (5f)

The thoroughbred action at the 2024 Meydan Carnival gets underway with the Ertijaal Dubai Dash, named after the speedster who still holds the track record after his success in the Meydan Sprint in 2018.

There's nothing of his quality in this year's renewal but there are several smart sprinters and some familiar names to those who follow racing in the UAE.

Godolphin recorded a 1-2 in this race last year, winning it with Lazuli, and Mischief Magic is their sole representative this time around. He has the highest official rating in the race but whether he wants a sharp five-furlongs is up for debate having done his most recent winning over six.

EQUILATERAL won this back when it was a handicap in both 2020 and 2021, and also has a Group 2 Meydan Sprint win to his name over this course and distance.

Charlie Hills' sprinter didn't have much of a chance with a high draw in the Abbaye when last seen but it's a run worth forgiving and he was in fine form in a York handicap prior to that outing.

Last year's third, Ponntos has each-way claims once again and Rawy, a well known dirt performer has rapid gate-speed. The latter could be a danger dropped to the minimum, although an 11-month absence won't be easy to defy.

Ladies Church gets weight from all and finds herself near the top of the betting but she'll need to step up markedly on her recent form. While she was fourth in a Group 1 at the Curragh last time, that was a particularly weak race for the grade.

Selection: Equilateral

3.15 - Business Bay Challenge Listed Stakes (7f)

San Donato is a significant non-runner in this contest and it should make the task more straightforward for VAFORTINO.

The British raider was better than ever when landing a Listed race at Redcar when last seen, beating two progressive sorts in Ramazan and Awaal, and that effort is worth marking up having met some significant traffic in running.

He showed he's at least as effective on good ground that day having been somewhat pigeon-holed as needing some soft in the going description throughout most of his career and that's probably been a factor in the decision to run in Dubai through the winter, where there's a good programme for seven-furlong specialists.

The draw is more significant over seven furlongs than most distances at Meydan and he's been lucky enough to land the inside gate (1). He could prove hard to beat with race fitness on his side.

His main danger on paper is Danyah who won this contest when last held back in February and he went on to Group 1 success on World Cup night in the Al Quoz sprint. However, he has to carry an 8lb penalty this time around and he also lacks a recent run, so he's opposable at short odds.

Selection: Vafortino

4.25 - Group 2 Al Rashidiya (1m1f)

It's a slight surprise to see that REAL WORLD isn't at the head of the betting for the Al Rashidiya and he looks like good value to build on that and gain another course success.

He lost his way a little earlier this year but he reportedly had a wind operation before his promising comeback run in the Group 2 Bahrain International Trophy last month. The son of Dark Angel was mixing it in Group 1 class with the likes of Baeed in 2022 and if he comes back to that level of form or even close, he should be tough to beat.

Godolphin have an excellent recent record in the race since Mike De Kock's dominance at the beginning of the last decade with the 'boys in blue' landing the last seven renewals. They have a particularly strong hand this year with the selection backed up by two from Charlie Appleby's stable.

It's interesting that William Buick opts for Measured Time over Ottoman Fleet.

The drop back in trip is the main concern with the former and James Doyle had some good success riding Charlie Appleby's second-string horses last winter at Meydan. Ottoman Fleet could be the main danger to the selection if tuned up for this.

Selection: Real World

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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