Fawree — Al Bastikiya, 4pm:
Mike De Kock hopes that Fawree could become a UAE Derby candidate and deliberately left out the son of Candy Ride from the UAE 2,000 Guineas won by the impressive Thunder Snow.
Fawree won a non-Carnival maiden at Meydan in early January from Bee Jersey, who then chased home Thunder Snow by a similar margin in the colt’s Classic. The leading international trainer has won the Al Bastikiya five times and it would be no surprise if he made it six on Saturday.
The Mahaab Al Shimaal, 4.35pm:
The 1,200-metre sprint is a belter, and has all the ingredients you could wish for. There are two former winners in the evergreen 2013 victor Reynaldothewizard and the defending champion in Muarrab, trained by the rookie Maria Ritchie.
There is a lone three-year-old shooter in the intriguing Japanese raider Dios Corrida and the Hong Kong challenger Dundonnell. Cool Cowboy won the Burj Nahaar on this card 12 months ago, also, Godolphin have a representative in Comicas and Morawij puts to the test the value of the Jebel Ali Sprint he won last time.
Polar River — Burj Nahaar, 5.45pm:
The diminutive filly sliced and diced her way through the Dubai World Cup Carnival last season but has struggled markedly in two starts this campaign against older colts and geldings. Polar River was unruly in the stalls last time when eighth in the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, which would have compromised her chance. Trainer Doug Watson goes to the well once more in the Burj Nahaar, but it is difficult to see where her future lies if she cannot be at least competitive on Thursday night.
Lani — Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, 6.55pm:
“Loony” Lani has become something of a cult figure on social media, but the Japanese grey certainly has talent. The UAE Derby he won last season was not the strongest, but he showed in America last summer that he could mix it at the top table when third in the Belmont Stakes — a career best.
That race is staged over 2,400 metres, but connections run on Saturday over 2000 metres and are mulling skipping the World Cup in favour of the Godolphin Mile. Lani will be in the hands of British rider Ryan Moore on Thursday night, a jockey unlikely to suffer his mount’s wayward tendencies gladly.
Furia Cruzada v Second Summer, 6.55pm:
Watching rivalries within races often can be counterproductive as racing rarely sticks to script, but the tussle between Furia Cruzada and Second Summer in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge a month ago was compelling. Furia Cruzada just held on from her fast-finishing rival, and as neither had run for some time much more can be expected from both on Saturday.