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Al Fahide Fort the Feature race at this Week’s Dubai Carnival

The one time Ballydoyle good thing, Master Of Hounds, will be given the task by his new trainer, Mike De Kock, of winning the Group 2 Al Fahide Fort over a mile on Meydan’s Turf Track on Thursday. The race which is the feature of the latest two day meeting at this year’s Dubai Carnival is looking likely to be a strong renewal, with a number of runners in with chances. Master Of Hounds however, will come into the race having ran with credit on the Tapeta twice previously at the "Carnival" this year. His first outing saw him finish 3 lengths behind Musir in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge over a mile back in January and he followed that up with a decent third place behind Mendip in last week’s in Round 2 this time over ten furlongs. De Kock believes that his return to running on turf will suit him perfectly.

De Kock also intends to run his Viscount Nelson who was last seen finishing second behind Mutahadee in the Swaiden trading Company Handicap over 9 furlongs on the turf at Meydan earlier in the Carnival. Once thought to have the potential to win a Classic, this five year old son of Giant’s Causeway is still a force to be reckoned with and should run a big race. Both the De Kock runners can be expected to head over to Europe following their efforts in Dubai and should feature at Royal Ascot in 2012, so they are very much ones to keep an eye on. 

Amongst the favourites is sure to be the Saeed Bin Suroor trained, Rio De La Plata, a top class miler who has won twice at Group 1 level. Narrowly beaten in each of his last three starts all at Group 1 level, this 7 year old appears to have his total focus on winning this and although he ran poorly in his only other start on the Meydan Turf back in 2010, Godolphin are very bullish about his chances on Thursday. Frankie Dettori gets the ride.

Champion trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe will once again be represented by last year’s winner, Derbaas, who has been a model of genuine consistency ever since. He does have a little bit to find with Master Of Hounds given their form in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge in January, but he is a four time winner at Meydan and has to be there or thereabouts in this. Al Raihe will also have Maraheb in the field, a big improver who was a winner two weeks ago on the Tapeta at the Carnival. Maraheb will be partnered by Royston Ffrench.

Jockey Richard Hills, who won this race, last year on Derbaas, returns to Dubai this week to ride Albaasil for owner, Hamdan Al Maktoum and will be fancying his chances. His form is good too if based on his short head, second place finish behind Dark Matter in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap over 7 furlongs earlier in the Carnival. He will enjoy the extra furlong here and provided the draw suits he should go close.

Of the rest, Marco Botti’s Marcret is a consistent sort who will have the benefit of Ryan Moore in the saddle, while Time Prisoner is another to consider in an ultra competitive looking race, trained for Godolphin by Mahmood Al Zarooni, Time Prisoner could improve sufficiently well from his third place in the Dubai Duty Free Handicap in January and could make the fame.

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