2.25 Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Flying Five Stakes (Group 1) 5f
A Case Of You: Lost out by just half a length in this race last year which was the prelude to big race wins in the Prix de l’Abbaye and, ealier this year, in Dubai. Hasn’t been at his best on his last two runs but could easily bounce back on ground that suits, so he cannot be underestimated.
Dragon Symbol: Was a Group 1-class sprinter last term when his efforts included a close fourth in this race, which was by no means his best performance. A Hamilton conditions race win aside, his four-year-old campaign has been somewhat underwhelming, but he wasn’t beaten that far in the Nunthorpe last time and isn’t one to rule out on ground that will suit.
Erosandpsyche: Won a premier handicap at Cork in July and has since shown that he belongs at stakes level when beaten by just a nose in the recent Abergwaun Stakes at Tipperary. He still has plenty to find at this level, but it is interesting that he lines up here.
Gustavus Weston: Talented sort at his best and won at Group 2 and Group 3 level last term as well as running a creditable sixth in this race. He has found things much tougher this year but could outrun his odds with the ground turning in his favour.
Raasel: Was rated a mere 73 this time last year but has done nothing but improve since then and has notched up listed and Group 3 wins this term to go with a near miss at Group 2 level at Goodwood. Needs to bounce back from a below-par run in the Nunthorpe but could easily do so on ground that holds no fears.
The Highway Rat: Progressed really well last season when an industrious campaign culminated in a Group 3 win at Dundalk in October over this trip. He could only manage sixth on his comeback at Tipperary last month but will surely improve from his first run in 10 months. However, a career best is needed to figure.
Castle Star: Progressed into a top-drawer sprinting juvenile last term when he ended his season with a career-best second in the Middle Park Stakes. He couldn’t land a blow in the Sapphire Stakes on his return but should be all the better for that run and is an interesting contender with conditions unlikely to pose any problems.
Caturra: Won the Group 2 Flying Childers last term and looks to have trained on with this season, yielding several placings in good company the most recent of which was a one-length third to Khaadem in a Goodwood Group 2. However, more will be needed at this level.
Ebro River: Enjoyed his finest hour when winning the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes here last season but it has been largely tough going since then. A Chester listed success last time was encouraging though and the ground won’t be a problem, so he isn’t a forlorn hope.
Mitbaahy: Decent sprinting three-year-old who won at listed level at Sandown earlier in the season and was just touched off by Raasel in a Group 3 there in July. He was well beaten at Goodwood last time though and others offer more convincing claims.
New York City: Shaped up nicely early in the season when he won a listed race at Navan and was second in a Group 3 at Naas. It has been tough going in better company since then and that trend looks unlikely to change.
Chocquinto: Won a Tipperary handicap off a mark of 70 in May and did brilliantly to get listed placed at Cork a few days later, but she still has it all to do to make an impression.
Highfield Princess: Brilliant filly who has enjoyed a stellar season which yielded a Group 2 win at York in May before moving on to another level with triumphs in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and then the Nunthorpe last month. Unquestionably Europe’s top sprinter at present and looks hard to beat if turning up in peak form.
Mooneista: Smart filly who has run a series of fine races without winning this season and can be rated unlucky to have been touched off by Brad The Brief and Ladies Church in Group 2 events here this summer. She should run her usual good race and won’t be far away.
Romantic Proposal: Top-notch sprinter on her day as she showed when winning this race last year and when impressing on her comeback at Naas in April. Her only run since then yielded a below-par effort in the July Cup, but that showing can be forgiven and she must rate a danger to all especially if getting her favoured strong pace up front.
Brostaigh: Vastly improved filly this year who won a five-furlong listed race at Naas in May before striking at Group 2 level in France the following month. Her Sapphire Stakes run leaves her with plenty to find though and this will require even more.
Flotus: Reliable Group 1 regular whose efforts at the top level include a runner-up finish in last year’s Cheveley Park Stakes and a third to Perfect Power in this year’s Commonwealth Cup. She landed a Group 3 at York in July before struggling in the Nunthorpe but even her best form leaves her with a little bit to find.
Geocentric: Talented sprinter at her best as evidenced by a fine second to Romantic Proposal much earlier in the season in a Naas listed race and a narrow listed success at Cork. She is another who came up short in the Sapphire Stakes last time which leaves her with plenty to do.
Ladies Church: Decent stakes-winning juvenile but then took her form to another level when arriving late to edge out Mooneista in the Sapphire Stakes here last month. That last run represented a huge jump forward and if she can confirm that level of form, she may not be far away.
Saliteh: Made a bright start to her Irish career when winning a five-furlong Naas handicap at the start of the season and picked up valuable blacktype in a Group 3 back at that track two months later. However, her recent efforts leave her with lots to do.
Highfield Princess has carried all before her in two top-level sprints on her last two starts and if she turns out in the same form she will win. It wouldn’t come as any surprise to see either A Case Of You and Romantic Proposal bounce back to form and both could easily reach the frame. Raasel is another to keep in mind, while the dependable Mooniesta should not be far away.