Dubai World Cup 2021 - Meydan the Dubai Carnival

Dubai World Cup 2021 Ante-Post Portfolio

Dubai World Cup: Benbatl 100-30

Al Quoz Sprint: Space Blues 6-4

UAE Derby: Mouheeb 8-1 NRNB

A nightmare out in Dubai with just one winner sees me finish the night -5.75 to level stakes. 

Best bets for Dubai World Cup night at Meydan the Dubai Carnival 2021


With the Carnival being cut short last year due to the Covid pandemic we didn't get a Dubai World Cup in 2020 but it is back for 2021 thankfully. As you would expect it is a card full of top-class action with eight races, five Group One’s and three Group Two’s, with the Dubai World Cup naturally taking centre stage. Luckily for us it is a card that sits nicely on a Saturday afternoon and SKY Racing will be showing all the races.  

Dubai World Cup night best bets at Meydan Racecourse

12.15 Group Two 1m Godolphin Mile Sponsored By Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – Dirt


Midnight Sands advertised his wellbeing winning the G.3 Burj Nahaar last time now back with Doug Watson for the Carnival; Chiefdom second, Tuz third and Golden Goal fourth amongst those beaten. He won his fair share of handicaps for the yard back in 2019 and 2020 and has clearly matured nicely. He was wide throughout in that comeback win and Pat Dobbs was fair from giving him the full treatment close home suggesting there is more in the tank. At 5-2 he is the one for the opener Secret Ambition was fifth in this when last run in 2019 and is a bit of a mile specialist here. He won the G.3 Firebreak Stakes over C&D earlier in the Carnival before finishing fifth in the G.1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 over 1m2f, the trip probably stretching his stamina; he is feared most.  

12.50 Group Two 2m Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors -Turf  

This is a wide-open looking affair in many ways. Secret Advisor has headed the market in the build-up and looked to be going in the right direction at the cut short Carnival last year winning a 1m6f Listed Handicap and then the G.3 Nad Al Sheba also over 1m6f; he was fourth in the 1m4f G.1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern on heavy in November before his winter break. Came back out last month when then third in the stayers race at Riydah and it would appear he has been aimed at this. A relatively lightly raced seven-year-old he is certainly smart at his best and is a tentative pick at 2-1.  Trainer Charlie Appleby said this week: “Secret Advisor produced a solid effort in Saudi Arabia on his first start of the year and has won both his previous races at Meydan. We feel that he goes into this as a live player off level weights.”

1.30 Group One 6f Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments - Turf

Dirty Dozen member again this year having won plenty for me in 2020 Space Blues bids for a sixth straight victory in the G.1 Al Quoz Sprint. I have the 6-4 ante-post. The five-year-old is half a stone better than anything else that lines-up and the biggest concern as mentioned earlier in the week is the trip. I would expect to see Buick try and make this a strong test as soon as possible.  Charlie Appleby said: “It is a different ball game for Space Blues taking on the real sprinters over a straight six furlongs but we feel that he is the horse to beat. He was fresh and keen when he ran over this course and distance last year and ended up doing everything the wrong way round. He is a five-year-old now and the finished article."  Charlie Hills saddles two who could fill the places in the shape of  Equilateral and Khaadem.

2.05 Group Two 1m1½f UAE Derby Sponsored By Emirates NBD - Dirt

Pink Kamehameha had a few of these behind when winning the Saudi Derby at Riydah last month but it is fair to say that was a bit of a surprise. Soft Whisper destroyed the field in the UAE 1000 Guineas earlier in the Carnival but somewhat blotted her copybook when fifth in the aforementioned Saudi Derby, appeared not to stay having led for most of the race. Mnasek was second to Soft Whisper in the Guineas and then won the UAE Oaks over track and trip pretty impressively so is shortlisted. Rebel Romance was fourth in the Saudi race and he also seemed to not quite see out the trip. The colt was going to be my UAE 2000 Guineas bet but they sent him to Saudi rather than run in that. Mouheeb was the close second in the Guineas Trial won by Rebel Romance and duly came out and won the 2000 Guineas next time. Connections declined the chance to race in Saudi with the main aim being this race. trainer Nicholas Bachalard seems convinced he will get the longer trip and he has certainly been finishing over a mile as if the trip will be fine plus he looks a bit of a battler which is no bad thing. The extra couple of weeks recovery he has had having not gone to Saudi should help and he is a tentative pick at 8-1 NRNB taken on Wednesday. Listed winner Panadol could be anything as they say and could have a say in the finish.  

2.40 Group One 6f Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored By Gulf News - Dirt

Another very tricky heat with several in with chances, in fact on ratings there is no more than 5lb across the field! Japanese raider Copana Kicking won the sprint at Riydah and William Buick rides again which is seen as a positive. Fellow raider from Japan Matera Sky has been jolly in the build-up but was beaten by Copana Kicking last time they met and has got in a habit of finishing second. Wildman Jack appears at home on Dirt or Turf, won the G.3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint out here last year and won a G.3 on the Dirt at Santa Anita in some style before shipping out here for a tilt at this. Canvased has been winning races including a G.3 over track and trip last time and appears to be thriving but this is a step-up in class. He came from a way off the hot pace there getting up on the line. The step down to sprint trips seems to have done the trick, was running over a mile including when with Roger Varian a couple of years back. Fingers crossed he can go passed them all late again here and I am on at 10-1.  

3.30 Group One 1m1f Dubai Turf Sponsored By DP World - Turf


Al Suhail is one I have backed before, did so in the G.1 Jebel Hatta over track and trip won by Lord Glitters last time. There was half a length between them at the line with the eight-year-old coming from the clouds to win. At 3-1 I am on the Godolphin owned Appleby trained four-year-old to gain some revenge. Appleby said talking in the build-up: “Al Suhail has come out of the Jebel Hatta well. You always have it in the back of your mind when they run well after a layoff that there could be a bounce factor, but the signs at home have been good. If he improves for his first start of the year, which he should, it will hopefully make him very competitive.” Lord North looks like being jolly but I remain far from convinced about him and his win in the G.1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Ascot seems a long time ago now and his OR flatters him.  

4.10 1m4f Group One Longines Dubai Sheema Classic Presented By Longines - Turf


On paper it is a mouth-watering renewal of the G.1 Dubai Sheema Classic. Mogul goes for ‘the lads’ at Ballydoyle with Aidan O’Brien apparently happy with his charge saying whilst speaking with reporters at the Curragh on Sunday “Mogul goes over tomorrow and he’s in good order. We think the track, ground and trip will all suit him well. He didn’t have a long break over the winter so that will be an advantage to him because he’s a horse that does very well.” Another one of my Dirty Dozen for the season as I am convinced he will be better as a four-year-old, weren’t too shabby at three as it turned out, I am on at 3-1. John Gosden’s Saudi Cup winner Mishriff is feared off that form but I am happy to take him on. The Saudi Cup win came over nine-furlongs on dirt at Riyadh and he faces a totally different test here at Meydan running over a mile-and-a-half on turf. It’s his first try at the trip though he probably should get it and most of his form, other than that on dirt tracks, has been with cut in the ground which he won’t get here. Chrono Genesis is the challenger for Japan and the grey mare has been winning big races in the land of the rising sun but she is no Almond Eye as seen the backend of last year.  

4.50 Group One 1m2f Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline - Dirt


It’s the big one and it could well go to Godolphin but not one of the trainers you might expect. Mystic Guide is trained in America by Michael Stidham and the four-year-old colt looks the answer to the puzzle. The lightly raced four-year-old hasn’t won at the top level yet but showed his well-being when he made a winning return from his winter break in February at Oaklawn Park in a Grade 3 over 8.5f. Was second in the G1 1m2f Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont last October and a similar effort here would probably win. I have 9-4. Talking on the Godolphin website Michael Stidham said: “It’s a long trip for Mystic Guide and you always worry about the things that could go wrong but the horse seems to be really flourishing in Dubai. He is thriving on everything that is going on and is doing fantastic. He was really going the right way for us late in his three-year-old season, when he won the Jim Dandy Stakes and then finished second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. We freshened him a little afterwards, gave him some light work, and he was ultra-impressive in the Razorback. I’m happy that he has been drawn in the middle [stall six]. Going a mile and a quarter, I would really love to see him break well and be in a stalking position. That’s where he is most comfortable. It’s an honour and a privilege to be here, especially training a horse for Sheikh Mohammed. I just can’t wait to get on the racetrack.”


24th March 2021:

The UAE Derby is perhaps the trickiest race of the evening but I have taken a punt, NRNB, on Mouheeb at 8-1 as I think he has looked a likely strong stayer in his runs over a mile thus far and a bit of a battler which never hurts. Connections certainly think he'll get the extra distance and he has been saved for this race. 

22nd March 2021:

An old favourite of mine Space Blues will be bidding for a sixth straight victory in the Group One Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night. I have the 6-4 ante-post. A top class performer he really blossomed last season and showed he is as good as ever winning the Sprint at Riyadh last month. The drop to six furlongs is perhaps the only slight concern but he won the G.1 Prix Maurice de Gheest last Autumn and is being aimed at this. 

19th January 2021:   

Cheers Saeed!  

Literally the day after I had a punt Saeed bin Suroor said the following  “We are keeping Benbatl for a European season.” Arrrggghhhh! The trainer added “We will start with him in May and will look at all the big races for him. We have given him a break and he is doing good. Benbatl finished third in the Saudi Cup and won the Maktoum Challenge but we have some nice horses also in Dubai this year. We need to give them a chance to see how they handle the dirt and we will get Benbatl ready for May time. We will look at all the big races for him and try to give him one or two races before Royal Ascot."

18th January 2021: 

I have taken the plunge early and backed Benbatl for the Dubai World Cup. A favourite of mine he was being aimed at the Dubai World Cup last season before the Dubai Carnival was cut short, like so many other meetings last year, due to the Covid pandemic and I am  sure the big race on Saturday 28th March will be the aim again this year. In the build-up last season he won the G.2 Singspiel Stakes on the Turf track before taking the G.2 round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge on the Dirt track, his first try on the surface, and was subsequently third in the Saudi Cup behind Maximum Security so the surface holds no fears. I am on at 100-30 antepost.