Photo: Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins
The path towards the Classic contests at Meydan becomes considerably warmer on Thursday, as the Dubai venue plays host to a duo of competitive Guineas trials as part of a six race card.
Headlined by the UAE 2,000 Guineas trial, the card at Meydan on Thursday looks to be one which could provide Godolphin with an exciting series of rewards, some of which could be the types of thoroughbred to provide Sheikh Mohammed and his operation with additional riches further on in the carnival.
Emirates Flyer enjoyed an interesting passage throughout his two year old campaign in England last season, none more so than when he was seen finishing second behind the highly-touted Juddmonte Farms owned Kingman in Sandown Park's Solario Stakes. His entry in this season's UAE 2,000 Guineas Trial is one of note, and he has to have a leading chance in this contest having proven in the past to be clear of his ownership-mate, Safety Check, in the past. Mike de Kock has entered the pairing of Full Combat (Paul Hanagan) and Journeyman (Christophe Soumillon) for this trial and, whilst de Kock has been open in notifying us that his South African imported string are someway behind the rest of his team, these are two colts who look tailor made for the Classic-level competition that the Dubai International Racing Carnival provides.
Whether this will be the day that we see either of Full Combat or Journeyman's full potential, however, is up for debate, with Journeyman looking to be the perfect mid-Carnival type whom could yet take down the UAE 2,000 Guineas itself.
Figure of Speech has been a frustrating colt to follow, and one who clearly harbors the ability of an exceptionally talented thoroughbred, but it is on rare occasions that he seems willing to provide us with a viewing of that. In Thursday's UAE 2,000 Guineas trial he is partnered by Ahmed Ajtebi as what is viewed to be the second string for trainer Charlie Appleby. However, it would not be the biggest shock to see Figure of Speech provide us with a performance of a considerable level. In the fillies' contest, it is an opportunity for Wedding Ring and Autumn Lily to showcase their considerable abilities in a battle of wits to confirm the early Carnival flagbearer for Godolphin amongst the fillies' Classic division, but like the UAE 2,000 Guineas trial, it may be Mike de Kock who the Godolphin duo have to beat.
The duo of Magrooma and Magoora enter the Carnival without the strongest sets of backform from their South African runs, but like Reem - who began the 2011 Carnival with victory in this race, they have the chance to build their own legacy from afresh in this new stage of their careers.
On the rest of the card, there is a considerably strong renewal of the Listed Dubawi Stakes over six furlongs, which features the tantalising proposition of a rematch between the Golden Shaheen first, second and third placed finishers of last year, Reynaldothewizard, Balmont Mast and Krypton Factor.
With all three racing off of level weights, and with the added challenge of a strong backdrop of rivals, it is exceptionally hard to predict just how that race will end out - an exciting prospect which may uncover a leading player towards this season's renewal of the Group 1 sprint.