Dubai Preview: Algiers can continue on winning trail

February 2nd, 2023

The Dubai Carnival of racing moves a little closer to World Cup night with four graded stakes races this Friday. We will focus on the night’s richest race, the Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 2 (G2), and offer spot plays on the other three.

Race 3, 10:10 a.m. ET: Al Shindagha Sprint (G3), dirt, 1,200 meters (about 6 furlongs)

A decent field of dirt sprinters faces the starter here. However, I’m going to stick with #8 Mubakker, a solid second to leading Dubai dirt sprinter Switzerland in the Dubawi (G3) Jan. 6. #3 Eastern World, #6 Isolate, and #7 Mouheeb are candidates for exotics.

  • $10 win/$20 show: #8 Mubakker
  • $2 exacta: key 8 with 3, 6, 7

Race 4, 10:45 a.m. ET: Cape Verdi (G2), turf, 1,600 meters (about one mile), fillies and mares

This sees the return to racing of Godolphin’s #12 With The Moonlight. After failing in the Epsom Oaks (G1), she jetted to North America and was runner-up in the Belmont Oaks (G1) before winning the Saratoga Oaks (G3). If she runs to her best form she should win.

There is a chance the mile could be too short for With The Moonlight; if so, #9 Soft Whisper can win again. But I’m going to go with the proven class.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #12 With The Moonlight

Race 5, 11:20 a.m. ET: Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 2 (G2), dirt, 1,900 meters (about 1 3/16 miles)

Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 2 Selections

  • #1 Algiers
  • #7 Salute The Soldier
  • #6 Remorse

Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 2 Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Algiers
  • $1 trifecta: 1 with 6, 7 with 2, 3, 6, 7, 9

#1 Algiers has continued to improve, especially since he was gelded last year. The recently-turned six-year-old put up a career-best performance in the Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 1 (G2) Jan. 6, strolling 6 1/2 lengths clear of a field that included last year’s Godolphin Mile (G2) runner-up #3 Desert Wisdom.

His main dangers are #7 Salute The Soldier, the winner of this race two years ago, and #6 Remorse, second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 3 (G1) last year before finishing sixth in the Dubai World Cup (G1).

Race 6, 11:55 a.m. ET: Singspiel Stakes (G2), turf, 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles)

Godolphin trio #1 Valiant Prince, #4 Dubai Future, and #6 Ottoman Fleet – the first three in the Al Rashidiya (G2) Jan. 13 – meet again. Charlie Appleby’s number one rider William Buick is sticking with Ottoman Fleet ahead of Valiant Prince, who is conceding four pounds to both his rivals. Despite this, I think Valiant Prince can do it again.

The biggest challenge may come from #2 Alfareeq, last year’s Jebel Hatta (G1) winner, and the improving #8 Shelir, runner-up Jan. 20 to former 2000 Guineas (G1) runner-up Master of the Seas.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Valiant Prince
  • $1 trifecta: 1, 6 with 1, 2, 6 with 1, 2, 4, 6, 8