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Dubai Super Saturday preview

Australia and the UK aren't the only countries blessed with great racing at the moment, there's a top notch programme in Dubai and it only gets better as we close in on World Cup night. Jetsetting sports media guru Trent Masenhelder (@tmase04) runs through the card for us.

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Dubai Super Saturday

The Dubai World Cup Carnival is just three weeks away and action heats up at Meydan this week with the running of Super Saturday, featuring eight races, all preps for the richest race day in the world.

It’s a star-studded card featuring an array of local and international stars, and for Australian racing enthusiasts, a few former Peter Snowden-trained runners.

Race 1
Maktoum Challenge R3 (for purebred Arabians)
Group 1 - USD $55,000 - 2,200m on the Tapeta

A tough race to start proceedings. VERSACY PY (#5) was second behind AL MAMUN MONLAU (#2) in the Kahayla Classic on World Cup day last year but he can turn the tables here. The latter has the services of Frankie Dettori and will be tough to beat from gate two, though. RAZZIQ (#7) and SHAYEL ALDHABI (#8) should also be in the finish.

TIPS: 1. VERSAC PY (#5), 2. AL MAMUN MONLAU (#2), 3. SHAYEL ALDHABI (#8)

Race 2
Al Bastakiya - Listed - $250,000 - 1,900m on the Tapeta
A nice crop of three-year-old’s do battle here. EMIRATES FLYER (#8) was thrashed by Long John last time out, beaten 4.25L into second, but suspect the form will hold up as Long John is top-class. HE’S NO SAINT (#1) was ultra-impressive in winning on February 6 and Fergal Lynch is winning on just about everything he throws the leg over at present. ASMAR (#3) has been knocking on the door and also has form around Long John. Richard Hughes should give him every chance from gate three.

TIPS: 1. EMIRATES FLYER (#8), 2. HE’S NO SAINT (#1), 3. ASMAR (#3)

Race 3
Meydan Sprint - Group 3 - $175,000 - 1,000m on the Turf
A tough, competitive group of sprinters will set the turf alight in this mad scamper. Last season’s Carnival revelation, SHEA SHEA (#6), returns. He won this race last year, before a devastating performance in the Al Quoz Sprint, but has become costly since, failing to record another victory. A lot will depend on how fit he is. He’s the class runner but I’m prepared to risk him first-up. SOLE POWER (#15) never runs a bad race and beat SHEA SHEA at Royal Ascot last June. He was second behind Japanese sprint sensation Lord Kanaloa in December and Ryan Moore steers. A host of other chances including BEAT BABY (#1), CATCALL (#2), ALSAAEQAH (#12) and AHTOUG (#14)

TIPS: 1. SOLE POWER (#15), 2. BEAT BABY (#1), 3. SHEA SHEA (#6)

Race 4
Mahab Al Shimaal - Group 3 - $200,000 - 1,200m on the Tapeta
A sensational renewal of this Group 3 affair. SOFT FALLING RAIN (#14) is an absolute star, having won eight of 10, and while he’ll have to do some work from the wide gate, his class can get him over the line. He was three from three here last season and was most impressive. COMPLICATE (#2) and BELLO (#4), who both previously raced in Australia under Peter Snowden, turned in eye-catching performances last time out. They’re as honest as they come and should be in the mix. REYNALDOTHEWIZARD (#10), the defending Golden Shaheen champion, was a shade disappointing upon his return but looked in need of the run. Expect him to strip fitter and take holding out. UNITED COLOR (#12) is another who should improve from a wide gate, while seasoned sprinters KRYPTON FACTOR (#7), BALMONT MAST (#8) and RUSSIAN SOUL (#11) can never be ruled out.

TIPS: 1. SOFT FALLING RAIN (#14), 2. COMPLICATE (#2), 3. KRYPTON FACTOR (#7)

Race 5
Burj Nahaar - Group 3 - $200,000 - 1,600m on the Tapeta
VARIETY CLUB (#11) arrived from the Rainbow Nation with huge wraps. And the two-time South Africa Horse of the Year didn’t disappoint winning the Firebreak Stakes with a leg in the air. The margin was 2L, but could have easily been double. The worrying factor for his rivals here is that trainer Joey Ramsden admitted afterwards he wasn’t fully wound-up. He’s won 15 of 20, including nine on the bounce, and barring bad luck should get the job done again. A host of chances to run a drum, including; CAPITAL ATTRACTION (#5), MAINSAIL (#2), EMPIRE STORM (#8), HAATHEQ (#10) and BRENDAN BRACKAN (#16)

TIPS: 1. VARIETY CLUB (#11) - BEST, 2. BRENDAN BRACKAN (#16), 3. EMPIRE STORM (#8)

Race 6
Dubai City of Gold - Group 2 – $250,000 - 2,410m on the Turf
PENGLAI PAVILION (#10) returns after an outstanding run in the Prix de L'arc de Triomphe last October. The son of super sire Monsun stayed on gamely to finish fifth behind fabulous filly Treve in what many experts consider the strongest renewal of the great race at Longchamp. If he’s forward enough he can win. South Africa raider HEAVY METAL (#9) is very good and can be forgiven for two sub-par performances in Dubai this year. He should be at his peak now and the return to turf will doubtless suit. It’s a deep race, though, and any one of EMPOLI (#3), MUJAARIB (#6), SONGCRAFT (#8), #15 MEANDRE (#15) and BATTLE OF MARENGO (#16) could win without surprising.

TIPS: 1. PENGLAI PAVILION (#10), 2. HEAVY METAL (#9), 3. BATTLE OF MARENGO (#16)

Race 7
Maktoum Challenge - Group 1 - $400,000 - 2,000m on the Tapeta
Arguably the toughest race on the card. Plenty of chances here, but going with SANSHAAWES (#13) to make it a double for Mike de Kock. He takes on some tough old stayers, however, he’s won two on the spin and is starting to put it all together. SIDE GLANCE (#6) is a grand campaigner and was enormous in the Cox Plate, finishing sixth behind Shamus Award, who’s gone on to win the Australian Guineas and is a live chance in Saturday’s Australian Cup. The seven-year-old won the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes at his next start and was fourth behind Animal Kingdom in last year’s Dubai World Cup. Godolphin runners PRINCE BISHOP (#1), AFRICAN STORY (#8) and CAT O’MOUNTAIN (#9) all have strong claims, too.

TIPS: 1. SANSHAAWES (#13), 2. SIDE GLANCE (#6), 3. CAT O’MOUNTAIN (#9)

Race 8
Jebel Hatta - Group 1 – $300,000 - 1,800m on the Turf
What a race to finish with. VERCINGETORIX (#2) was brilliant upon return since June, 2013. He’s now a perfect five from five and could be anything. Christophe Soumillon can make it a winning treble for De Kock from gate two. VANCOUVERITE (#3) looks his toughest rival. The talented Godolphin colt has won four of six and has form around Penglai Pavilion and Kizuna. TRADE STORM (#8) was third behind the brilliant Wise Dan last September and is a winning hope, while ANAEROBIO (#10) and MARS (#14) also have claims. Former Aussie galloper LINTON (#5) is as tough as nails, but likely in need of the run.

TIPS: 1. VERCINGETORIX (#2), 2. VANCOUVERITE (#3), 3. TRADE STORM (#8)

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