Luke Morris: “I expect him to improve again this year and he’s got a massive chance in this race”
The AW Champion Jockey previews his Saturday rides at Lingfield and the Dubai World Cup at Meydan…
The Flat turf season is just around the corner, the first meeting in Ireland takes place on Sunday, but before then we have Dubai World Cup night at Meydan on Saturday.
There are several top-class races to look forward to including the Dubai Gold Cup (12.50 Meydan) which looks like it’s going to be a brilliant race to watch. Any one of five or six horses could win the race depending on what sort of trip they get.
Ertijaal goes in the Al Quoz Sprint (2.00 Meydan) and looked electric the last day. If he’s as good as 6f as he has been at 5f then he could be one of the best sprinters around this year. He has won over 7f, but he’s looked so good over 5f you just have that little worry that he might be too quick and not quite get from 5f to 6f. Realistically though, it shouldn’t be a problem.
I really like Mutakayyef but the lack of a prep run leaves him vulnerable in the Dubai Turf (3.30 Meydan). The plan had been to run in the Winter Derby before going for this race but he missed it. He ran really well in some top races last year and I think he could end up winning top-level races this year. However, given he missed his prep it might mean something race fit catches him out and Zarak looked very good when winning last time.
Highland Reel got a soft lead when he won the Breeders’ Cup Turf last year and it could be the same in the Dubai Sheema Classic (4.05). Postponed didn’t want to go in the gates last time and his last two runs have been below form so that’s a worry for him.
In the Dubai World Cup (4.45 Meydan), I can’t see past Arrogate. He’s as good a dirt horse as there has been for a long time and something would have to go horribly wrong for him to get beaten.
While all that is going on in Dubai, I’ll be at Lingfield and I hope I can come away with a winner or two from a good book of rides.
2.35 Lingfield – Diamond Vine
He’s been around the block and hasn’t shown a lot for a while. He’s capable, but he needs to improve to take a hand really.
3.10 Lingfield – Vettori Rules
He ran very well when stepped up to 2m last time and the small field in this race will likely help him as he has tactical speed. He needs to turn the form around with Winterlude but he’s got a solid chance for sure. He’s mostly raced around 1m or 1m2f so can be a bit keen racing over this far. The first-time hood should help him conserve energy.
3.45 Lingfield – Manjaam
I’ve ridden him twice and won on him twice so I’m delighted to be back on him. He improved all of last year and there’s nowhere near as much depth in this race compared to what he’s been used to. I expect him to improve again this year and he’s got a massive chance in this race.
4.20 Lingfield – Iseemist
She’s a solid performer but this looks a competitive little race. This looks like a stepping stone for her before trying to achieve a bit of black type.
4.55 Lingfield – Gnaad
It’ll have given him a bit of confidence getting his head in front last time. He’s nicely drawn in stall two, which is vital over 5f at Lingfield. He went into the stalls late last time as he has one or two issues with them and ideally I’ll be trying to do the same. I think he’s got a big chance of winning again.
5.30 Lingfield – Miss Tiger Lily
She’s a real tough, honest performer but holds no secrets from the handicapper. She’s dropping down in trip in an attempt to find a bit of an edge for her, and I can’t see the trip being a problem. I’m sure she’ll try and she’ll be in the mix as a result but she’s always vulnerable to something better handicapped.