Best bets for Dubai World Cup night at Meydan the Dubai Carnival 2018
Great days racing and I finish +15.5 to level stakes on the day - no complaints here!
It’s is Dubai World Cup night this Saturday as the Dubai Carnival 2018 out at Meydan draws to a close with the Worlds richest day of racing with $30 million spread across nine Group races – including one Arab race. Luckily it sits nicely for us here in the UK for an afternoon of viewing and perhaps a beer or two though I’d rather be out there
in the sun if I am honest!
They get underway at 12.45 our time with the G.2 Godolphin Mile on the Dirt track. Heavy Metal has been somewhat hit and miss through the Carnival but the draw has been a little kinder for the big one than when drawn 13 of 13 last time! Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle and a bold front-running effort is expected. You can get 3-1 and I would advise you do that.
The 1.15 is the Arab race.
At 1.50 we have the G.2 Dubai Gold Cup over the two miles. If you are a regular reader no prizes for guessing I am on Big Orange at 8-1. The Ascot Gold Cup winner had a "minor hiccup" after cantering on Monday morning but all is well. Trainer Michael Bell, speaking at the launch of the new Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million earlier this week said "He always has little hiccups and headaches. We've had a minor hiccup, but he should get through that. He should be fine for raceday. He's a fierce box-walker, which doesn't help.” He is also a fierce competitor and I simply can’t back any other horse to beat him. It was nothing but good news when he through his paces on the Meydan training track on Thursday morning after a steady canter on Wednesday. Bell said: "Seeing him work was a heartening sight. Then during the hour afterwards we were concerned the setfast might come back again, but he came back to the barn very, very well. It's a relief. It's stressful enough having runners in big races without added stress..........He didn't do too much today, is great in his skin and has eaten everything. He loves the sun on his back and fast ground." There are obvious dangers in the shape of Vazirabad the Aga Khan-owned 6yo having won this the last two years as well as Godolphin’s Rare Rhythm who beat the favourite in the G.3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy last time and good old Sheikhzayedroad who I backed each-way when third in that race.
It’s the Group Two UAE Derby at 2.30 which sees the action move back to the Dirt track over the 1m1½f trip. The Charlie Appleby trained Gold Town heads the market at 2-1 with Mendelssohn for the boys from Ballydoyle in opposition as the second favourite. The O’Brien trained colt is higher rated officially but preparation couldn’t have gone better for the Godolphin gelding having won the G.3 UAE 2,000 Guineas, also won the trial, and that looks better from than the Listed heat won by Mendelssohn at Dundalk earlier this month to me.
At 3.05 the Group One Al Quoz Sprint looks to my eyes to be at the mercy of Triple G Dirty Dozen member Blue Point who is 11-10 to take the six-furlong prize. He was second to Ertijaal over five as a warm-up to this and is strongly fancied to get the better of that rival, and stablemate Jungle Cat, over his ideal trip of six furlongs. Magical Memory could run a race at a decent price.
It’s six furlongs again but on the Dirt for the G.1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at 3.40. Peter Miller has sent across his flying machine the G.1 Breeders Cup Sprint winner Roy H for this having won a G.2 event at Santa Anita comfortably as a warm-up. Reportedly all has gone well with the trip and I have the 5-6 about him adding this prize to his B.C. victory.
The 1m1f G.1 Dubai Turf is due off at 4.35 and could this be the first Group One victory in the career of Benbatl? I have been saying for a while that I think the Godolphin colt is a G.1 horse but he got turned over at Evens in the Jebal Hatta last time but it has to be said the draw did him no favours at all. He had won a G.3 and G.2 here before that and I think he is actually quite a big price at 9-2 bearing in mind he is much better drawn for this breaking from stall five.
At 5.10 we have the G.1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic over 1m4f and it’s no surprise that Godolphin hold a strong hand again. Cloth Of Stars trained by Andre Fabre has to go on the shortlist as long as you ignore his run earlier this month at Chantilly when stable mate Talismanic was allowed to slip clear and was not for catching. Talking recently the French trainer said “When Cloth Of Stars and Talismanic raced against each other, they showed me just what I wanted. Whether they will race each other again will depend on how they do here. There are many possibilities in Europe and the races that are still to come will be their main targets. They have had a good preparation and I've been very happy with them since." He has plenty of form but most with the word soft in the going description and he won’t be getting that in Dubai and is worth taking on. Poets Word has run some decent races at this level but the Sir Michael Stoute inmate is yet to break his top-level duck and is another who may prefer to get his toe in a little more than likely. Japanesse raider Rey De Oro was beaten in a Grade Three back in February at Kyoto and I can’t have him for this off the back of that whilst compatriot Satono Crown did not reach the heights hoped for in 2017 and is probably best watched for now. That brings me to the Godolphin 5yo trained by Charlie Appleby Hawkbill. The chestnut won the G.2 Dubai City Of Gold over track and trip as his prep race and is possibly a bit more versatile than others at the top of the betting in regards to going. He hasn’t won at this level since the G.1 Coral-Eclipse of 2016 but has been running well as when second in the G.1 Northern Dancer at Woodbine last September; at a tasty looking 11-1 he has a chance with the main protagonists all drawn together between 3 to 7.
To round off the afternoon at 5.50 we are on the Dirt track for the big one the G.1 Dubai World Cup run over 1m2f. West Coast has been a shade odds-on in the build-up and the best price about as of today is 10-11. With no Gun Runner to contend with here, third to that rival in the Breeders Cup Classic and second to him in the Pegasus International, the Bob Baffert trained colt has the form to take this and reportedly preparations have gone well. Baffert will be seeking a fourth World Cup win following the successes of Silver Charm (1998), Captain Steve (2001) and Arrogate (2017) and he said earlier this week of his charge "West Coast is the best older horse on the stage, is getting better and I feel a mile and a quarter is his game. Everything has gone so smoothly with him and the vibes are good. He has a high cruising speed and is a brute of a horse. American Pharoah (Baffert's 2015 Triple Crown winner) was as sweet as a kitten with the best mind I've ever seen on a horse, but this guy has strengthened and will push you around in the paddock." The draw could have been kinder for sure and stall nine is far from ideal but the trainer said at the time “I've heard you have to be on the rail here as it's a speed-biased rail, but I think in a race of this magnitude, when you get all of these good horses together, all that changes. We have a fast horse. From the outside, if they break a little slow you're not going to get in trouble. From the inside if you break slow, you're going to be in trouble.” The aforementioned Talismanic, the G.1 Breeders Cup Turf winner who narrowly failed to follow up in the G.1 Hong Kong Vase behind Highland Reel, is also due to line-up but this is the five-year-olds first try on Dirt and it looks a big ask to take on the jolly.
So there they are my 8 fancies for a Goliath-sized afternoon of horse racing out in Dubai. In case it’s your thing a 5p Goliath (247 bets = £12.35) would pay over £16,600 I am told.