Race 3 at Meydan on Thursday morning is the $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) for three-year-olds going about one mile on the dirt. The race will start on a chute and make a dogleg left turn for the run down the backstretch. It has attracted a field of eight and they will all carry 126 pounds.
Based on the official ratings, found on emiratesracing.com, MULFIT (#3) (12-1), RED CACTUS (#4) (30-7) and EYELOOL (#8) (30-1) do not look competitive. The highest rated starter at 106 is WALKING THUNDER (#5) (6-5), and he looks like the one to go with. He has been based in Dubai all winter and won his first start going seven furlongs on the dirt here.
Off that win, the bay colt picked up five pounds and won a conditions race going a mile by 4 1/2 lengths. Last out, as part of the January 10 Dubai International Racing Carnival card, he won the prep for this race by nine lengths in fast time. Now he tries Group 3 company going the same distance over the same dirt course on which he has won the three times he raced over it.
Walking Thunder is by Violence and out of a dam by Street Boss but only cost $42,000 as a two-year-old in training. He began his career with two domestic races at Meydan against suspect company but showed in his last race that he is the one to beat in here. Blinkers will be added for the first time and Connor Beasley rides back. Walking Thunder tactical speed and should be forwardly placed for a winning effort.
On the rest of the Thursday card from Meydan, I like:
Race 4: SYMBOLIZATION (#1) (4-1) was a cut below the top males runners of his generation last year. He won a handicap second time out but could only run fifth in the Irish 2000 Guineas (G1). The son of Cape Cross was a good fourth behind Expert Eye in a 21-runner field at Royal Ascot against Group 3 company, then was only beaten a half-length by Masaarr, who came back to win a listed race and then ran third against Group 3 company. Symbolization draws post four and gets James Doyle, who is having a breakout meet.
Race 5: NEW TRAILS (#5) (7-1) can pull off the upset in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (G2) as I doubt if the heavily favored NORTH AMERICA (#6) (4-5) is going to be primed for a huge effort with bigger races to conquer down the road. NEW TRAILS (#5) (7-1) won here last month going this distance by 10 lengths in good time and has found a home since moving to the dirt. He is an improving son of Medaglia d’Oro who should be able to handle the move up in class.
Race 6: TOP SCORE (#1) (9-2) is a horse for the course who fits with this group very well. The son of Hard Spun returned from a four-month layoff here with a good second going seven furlongs, then ran well in the late stages of a Group 2 here while only beaten 2 1/4 lengths. He goes back to a six-furlong straightaway from post 8 with master strategist Christophe Soumillon.
PHOTO: Meydan Racecourse in Dubai (c) Dubai Racing Club/Neville Hopwood