AT this time last year, Light The Lights finished just a few lengths off Smart Call and Legal Eagle in the 2016 Sun Met at Kenilworth– a formline that’s proven to be of good strength and will come under scrutiny again when the five-year-old goes out in search of his first Gr 2 Trophy in the Al Rashidiya over 1800m on turf at Meydan.
Mike de Kock said on Wednesday that Light The Lights (Christophe Soumillon) is expected to challenge for top honours in a race the stable has already won eight times. “Light The Lights faces a few he beat last time and a few new ones. He has done well since winning his Dubai debut, he has improved and should give a strong account.”
Tahanee (Soumillon) is the yard’s other good prospect on the night, racing in the Gr2 Cape Verdi over 1600m on turf. She’s by no means a ‘good thing’, but a filly with plenty of ability who can surprise if the right factors fall into place.
Mike commented: “Tahanee ran into all sorts of trouble last time, but she’s a talented filly and I think she’s better than her 105 rating. This is one of the strongest renewals of the Cape Verdi I’ve seen, including a top mare from Godolphin, but I’d be disappointed if Tahanee misses the first three. She is exceptionally well.”
Here are runner comments for other races on Thursday:
Race 4: UAE 2000 Guineas Trail, 1400m on dirt
Megnaas (Soumillon): “Has his first start in over a year and of course had to travel. He has a big weight, will need the run but seems to have taken to dirt, he’s put up some really good work on the surface so we’d like to see how he goes in the race, without making a confident prediction.”
Mazeed (Pat Cosgrave): “Mazeed is up against it here, it’s a tall order off his rating but we’re running out of options. We’re trying blinkers, hoping he can improve.”
Race 7: Sprint Handicap over 1200m on turf
We’ve said a lot about Johan Strauss (Antonio Fresu) in the past, he’s a horse with plenty of ability but things have never been straight forward with him, he’s had his problems. He has done well of late, the race is too short however, and he will need it.
Banaadeer (Dane O’Neill): “We’ve had to race him fit, he’s not too easy to work with. Ran well over 1400m last time, he is fitter and has a place chance.”
Mastermind (Bernard Fayd’Herbe): “He ran well below best in Abu Dhabi last week, perhaps he didn’t like the track. We’ve drawn a line through that and we’re running him again, hoping for much better.”
Muwaary (Cosgrave): “A decent horse who lost his way a bit in South Africa. He had to travel and is short of his best still, but doing very well and one to keep an eye on.”
Here are comments for Meydan on Saturday, 28 January:
Race 1, Maiden over 1200m on dirt:
General Marshall (Cosgrave): “Most disappointing last time, but he’s working well and we’re expecting a much better run, perhaps the switch to dirt will do the trick. He must have a chance.”
Syncopation (Fresu): “A good run for us first time out, he’s doing well and will be involved if he takes to the dirt.”
Race 4, Handicap over 1200m on dirt:
Alareef (Jim Crowley): “He hasn’t raced well over further and under penalties, and is better suited to 1200m here. We’re looking for as better effort.”
Race 5: Handicap over 1800m on turf:
Baroot (Pat Cosgrave): He really enjoyed his return to turf last time and won well. He takes a step up, he has a chance again.”
Race 7: Handicap over 1400m on turf:
Mutamakkin (Dane O’Neill): “He is not doing as well as we expected, just hasn’t clicked here yet. Let’s see how he goes here.”