Dubai Duty Free Stakes Guide

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1. Laraaib

Trainer - Owen Burrows

Jockey - Jim Crowley

Laraaib returns back to the scene to head the field for the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Stakes - registered as the John Porter Stakes.

He ended last season with a Group 3 Ascot win over this distance of 1m4f, getting the better of Mark Johnston's Comminque, but certainly has more on his plate today.

Was a close second to King George Stakes winner Poet's Word at Sandown last year, and will seek to use that to good effect in this competitive affair.

2. Mootasadir

T - Hugo Palmer

J - Oisin Murphy

Really proud winner of the Listed Magnolia Stakes at Kempton just two weeks ago, comfortably brushing aside the highly-thought of Matterhorn.

That made it six wins from six on the All-weather; the concern now would be shifting that form to the turf, for where is currently nought from two.

In good form, with a top jock in the saddle.

3. Young Rascal

T - William Haggas

J - James Doyle

Aside from the Epsom Derby last term, Young Rascal won all of his four racecourse appearances - three of which were at Newbury.

After a smart effort at Chester ahead of eventual Derby placee Dee Ex Bee, he never really handled Epsom's tricky contours in the second Classic of the season for the colts.

He won twice again in Berkshire subsequently, beating the useful Mirage Dancer of Sir Michael Stoute's and another Group Three courtesy of a dead heat, and every possibility he is going to be a better horse this year.

4. Aspetar

T - Roger Charlton

J - Jason Watson

Very useful four-year-old of Roger Charlton's, but needs to return an improved horse to be a factor in this company.

Five starts last year commenced with a victory at Windsor in a maiden, followed by Listed honours at Goodwood.

Ended the campaign third behind the impressive Outbox at this track after a poor effort in France, but needs to be at the top of his game at the first time of asking to stake a claim.

Comes back down in trip.

5. Blakeney Point

T - Roger Charlton

J - Adam McNamara

Blakeney Point has plenty to find on the basis of his form as five-year-old last term - not that it was bad, but does not sit straight with many of these in the field.

He won a Listed event around the tight turns of Chester back in September over today's distance on soft.

Was last of five to finish and well tailed off when behind Laraaib and Communique at Ascot on his final start last season, and needs to pop back with a bang.

6. Communique

T - Mark Johnston

J - Silvestre De Sousa

Improved a great deal last season in what was a highly productive campaign for the four-year-old colt, which merited five victories.

Won at this track last term albeit in a handicap, and has struggled to always show the same in higher levels - his best performance arguably at Glorious Goodwood.

De Sousa absolutely flying for his new contractors at the minute, and Johnston has the best man aboard to apply the steering.

7. Defoe

T - Roger Varian

J - Andrea Atzeni

Three from three at the track; has been gelded, and has shown his best form on home soil and not done himself complete justice on the international stage.

Landed a four-timer here back in August of 2017, and ventured out to Germany twice last term along with trips to Ireland and France.

Although mightily close in three of those, getting your head in front provides the horse with confidence, and has a major chance if in peak form on return run.

8. Marmelo

T - Hughie Morrison

J - Gerald Mosse

Marmelo is another individual who is no stranger to jumping on a plane and moving about around the world, and finished an outstanding second on his last trip overseas, when coming home next best to Cross Counter in the Melbourne Cup, in a 1-2-3 for the Brits.

Cracking record, finishing first or second in all five of his last starts since the 2017 Australia showpiece, but the drop in trip would raise one or two eyebrows.

Form chance is clear nonetheless.

9. Pilansberg

T - Mark Gillard

J - Luke Morris

The sniper Luke Morris will provide Pilansberg with a spin on what will surely be an impossible task.

This horse was hurdling a couple of months ago for Paul Nicholls, who sold him for £6,000 after finishing third in a seller at Taunton in February.

An ex-flat horse has not been seen in that category of the turf for well over 1,000 days, and it would be a miracle if he passed the post home in front first.

10. Proschema

T - Tom Dascombe

J - Richard Kingscote

Proschema completes the ten-runner field for Tom Dascombe, and has proved himself as a fine handicapper at distance of 1m4f-1m6f last season.

Ended last season with a good second to Elegiac who has come out and won on his reappearance the other day, so the form stacks up nicely, but he does have something to find with the best of these off level weights (bar penalties).

May find this tough going.

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