Dubai World Cup 2023 - Meydan the Dubai Carnival
Best bets for Dubai World Cup night at Meydan the Dubai Carnival 2023
Update: A very good afternoon of racing with a couple of winners for Triple G, Isolate and Sibelius, meaning I finish the day +7.5 points to level stakes. It could have been an amazing day with Siskany, Algiers and Nations Pride all looking like getting the job done entering the closing stages but ultimately none of the three could quite manage it. How impressive was Equinox? That was some performance it has to be said.
It is the big meeting in Dubai this Saturday at Meydan Racecourse as it is Dubai World Cup Night.
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 here in the UK and I am very much getting involved. The Arab race, the Dubai Kahayla Classic Sponsored By Emaar, gets the meeting underway at 11.30am. The first of the Thoroughbred races is at 12.05 with ITV4 showing the last three races the Turf, the Sheema Classic and the Dubai World Cup the first time they have carried coverage of the meeting. My fancies in all eight races follow.
Dubai World Cup night best bets at Meydan Racecourse
12.05 Group Two Godolphin Mile (Dirt)
Bathrat Leon won this last year at a big price and warmed up for this by just holding on in a G.3 at Riydah last time. He will strip fitter for that run but looks up against it to me trying to follow up; he had a dream run out of stall 1 last year. Discovery Island was a winner here over track and trip earlier this month, beating Raaeb and Royal Mews in second and third. I think Royal Mews may gain revenge here from the better draw and I still think Raaeb is a doubtful stayer. Isolate tries the trip for the first time. The five-year-old looks certain to run well from a low draw but will the petrol run out up the homestretch? He has been running on over the six-furlongs, won over seven in the States, and I wonder if the plan might be to try and slip the field with Everfast drawn in one not going to try and contest the early lead. I expect to be doing the ‘betting shop lean’ in the final yards as the challengers come from all sides but I have taken a chance at the 9-2 that was available in a couple of places Friday evening that he can blast out and see it out. Hold on!
12.40 2m Group Two Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (Turf)
This looks quite an open affair this year. Good old Broome lines-up and he has a habit of popping-up when you least expect it but this is his first go at the trip since finishing last in the G.2 Long Distance Cup at Ascot in 2020. Subjectivist looked a shadow of his former self at Riydah last month and it would be a leap of faith to back him off the back of that effort. Global Storm is consistent if not spectacular and won the G.2 1m4f Dubai City Of Gold last time out suggesting he is in good heart; the question mark is the trip, he has tried 1m6f a few times with no success so this is very much unknown territory. Siskany won the 1m6f G.3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy last month, Ardakan second, and looks the way to go here. He certainly wasn’t stopping over the two-furlong shorter trip last month and William Buick has chosen him which has to be seen as a positive. After that win Buick said “He has been a rock-solid horse from day one and hopefully he can make up into a G2 Dubai Gold Cup contender.” I noted a bit of movement in the market on Thursday and snaffled 3-1 about the five-year-old.
1.15 6f Group One Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by AZIZI Developments (Turf)
Al Dasim takes his chance following his impressive win on Super Saturday; tipped on here. He faces a tougher task in this company of course but gets the allowances and is much better drawn in stall 8 of 16 than he was when winning the G.3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint breaking from 2. In fact he has won three times over track and trip this year all from low draws so this is, on paper, his best starting stall yet on a strip where a high draw is historically beneficial. I took 5-2 on Thursday lunchtime fully expecting the three-year-old to be shorter than that; he has drifted a bit!. A three-year-old has yet to win this race but the horse doesn't know that! Connections are talking of taking a break after this and having a go at the Commonwealth Cup in the Summer at the Royal meeting. Al Suhail is a danger but drops back in trip from seven which is clearly his ideal trip. Hong Kong raider Sight Success has plenty of speed, and a high draw will help, but is used to the tight turns of Sha Tin rather than this quite wide straight six.
1.50 1m1½f (1m1f110y) UAE Derby (Group 2) (Dirt)
Recent Dundalk Listed winner Cairo has been sent over by the lads from Ballydoyle and has to be considered. He won there over a mile as he liked in what was clearly his audition for a tilt at this. I noted O’Brien saying at the time "Cairo is good. He's a lovely colt and we always hoped he would develop into a nice three-year-old. He's by Quality Road and he's one we've always liked, but he's only just ready to start back. He will come on for it." Entered for the Guineas at HQ and in Ireland this would be an unconventional trial for those races and it is fascinating that they have sent him over. It is a bit of a leap of faith backing him but I have at the 3-1 this morning; O’Brien has a fair record in this race and won’t be here for the sake of it. The trainer won this with Mendelssohn in 2018, following his win in the same Listed race at Dundalk Cairo won, before sending that horse for an ill-fated attempt at the Kentucky Derby and should Cairo win this Kentucky actually looks his most likely next port of call. O'Brien said this week "Cairo is a powerful-looking horse. We’ve been very happy with him through the winter and we were very happy with him when he won at Dundalk, obviously, he’s going over a bit further than he has run before and of course it’s a different surface, but we’re happy with him and Pat (Keating, travelling head lad) has been very happy with him since he’s been out there. We’re hopeful. Mendelssohn was by Scat Daddy, this horse is by Quality Road and some of his do go on the dirt I suppose. Of course there’s a chance he could go to the Kentucky Derby after this, but we’d have to see how he runs. There’s a good chance, we’ll just see what happens first.” Bob Baffert's progressive looking thrice-raced maiden Worcester is also shortlisted as one with likely more to offer.
2.25 6f Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Nakheel (Group 1) (Dirt)
Godolphin own the jolly for this, not that surprising perhaps, but in the shape of Lemon Pop over from Japan where he is trained by Hiroyasu Tanaka but he has been winning over 7f and a mile on the Dirt at Tokyo. Last year's winner Switzerland is back again and the nine-year-old won the G.2 Dubawi Stakes over track and trip earlier in the Carnival to confirm he is as sprightly as ever. He has a decent draw in two, on the tighter turning Dirt track inside is a benefit, and has to be shortlisted. I am a little surprised at the price of Sibelius over from America, the chestnut gelding having won his last two starts. The five-year-old has plenty of early pace from what I have seen on videos and could take full advantage of his plum draw in stall one. Ryan Moore has been booked to ride suggesting connections aren’t just here for a day out and at 9-1 he is a tentative pick to show his rivals a clean pair of hooves in this. Irish-born, US-based trainer Jerry O’Dwyer said in an interview earlier this month “Sibelius is very straightforward; he lets you know when he’s feeling good and will train forwardly. He’s the best horse we have at the moment and he’s only getting good now – at the right time." O’Dwyer has followed a tried and tested route to the Golden Shaheen by prepping Sibelius in the Pelican Stakes, a race won prior to Meydan by Shaheen winners X Y Jet in 2018 and Zenden in 2021. “The Pelican made my decision easier as it was perfect timing and gives me six weeks until the Shaheen,” continued O’Dwyer, “He’s probably a bit better fresh as he’s not hard to keep fit so we can back off him after his races. He might have a three eighths blowout at Meydan to stretch his legs over the track. I’m confident that it will suit him there. He’s travelled all over the country so he’s been over different tracks, deeper tracks. He’ll be forwardly placed in the race, but he doesn’t have to lead. Junior Alvarado, who normally rides, has to stay in the States to ride Art Collector for Bill Mott but we have a very able deputy in Ryan Moore.”
3.10 1m1f Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (Group 1) (Turf)
Japanese contenders Do Deuce and Serifos headed the betting, and on ratings have to be taken very seriously, but Do Deuce now doesn’t run. Lord North will be the pick of many having won the Winter Derby Stakes before coming out here as he did last year when dead-heating in this for first. I never seem to catch the bugger right mind you and I am not convinced he is as good as he was. Godolphin have a few in here and Real World is one very much aimed at this but he ran terribly in the Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday. That came on the back of a 263-day break but even his trainer is suddenly sounding less positive saying this week "He worked very well on Sunday and should run much better in the Dubai Turf, although it looks a very tough race”. If you can forgive that effort, the son of Dark Angel is arguably the one to beat here based on his two second-placed finishes to Baaeed in the UK last year but as I have said before I am not convinced he isn’t flattered by those results. Nations Pride won the G.3 Dubai Millennium over 1m2f last month as his prep nicely and may have, almost, snuck under the radar here. There are a number of these rated within a pound or two of each other so one with track experience, and winning form at that, has to be considered. Power were biggest at 9’s Friday evening and I have a bit if that in the hope there is more to come from him yet. Charlie Appleby said on the Godolphin website “Dropping back to nine furlongs with Nations Pride isn’t a worry as he is a strong traveller and a very straightforward horse to ride. We were impressed with how he won the Dubai Millennium Stakes last month and his preparation has gone well."
4.00 1m4f (1m4f11y) Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1) (Turf)
Equinox has been heading this market following his G.1 victories in the Tenno Sho and Arima Kinen last year. Clearly a talented horse for me he is too short to be getting involved with especially on his first ‘awayday’ experience. Westover has been sent by Juddmonte and the Irish Derby winner should pick up some decent place money. My old mate Rebels Romance runs and since being switched to Turf he has quite simply done nothing but win, culminating in his G.1 Breeders Cup Turf victory in November. He missed his intended prep for this on Super Saturday but I feel confident Charlie Appleby should have him spot on anyway with this always his early season target plus he has shown in the past he goes well fresh. This is his perfect trip and I simply have to be on him and have the 6-1 Friday evening that was available with Power and Hills. Charlie Appleby told the Godolphin website “Rebel’s Romance missed his intended prep run on Super Saturday with a minor setback, so we brought him to Meydan for a gallop to take the freshness out of him. He had a lovely experience and hasn’t missed a beat since. It is a race of real strength in depth, with formlines all over the world coming together, but Rebel’s Romance is a terrific horse who has done nothing but improve as he has got older.”
4.35 1m2f Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (Group 1) (Dirt)
Country Grammer is back to defend his crown having produced a career-best performance to beat Hot Rod Charlie in last year’s Dubai World Cup. He finished runner-up in the Saudi Cup last month, just as he did last year before winning here, so connections are using a tried and tested route. Baffert and Dettori will be hoping the trick works again. Panthalassa beat them in the G.1 Saudi Cup and last year's Dubai Turf joint winner has to be considered having shown he can go on Dirt though I can’t imagine they’ll let him make every yard here though as they did in Saudi. Algiers has looked pretty good winning rounds one and two of the Al Maktoum Challenge and Somin and Ed Crisford appear to have a decent one on their hands. This is a step-up again though. The three mentioned are drawn widest of all though and that does make things a bit more tricky; Algiers (13), Country Grammer (14) and Panthalassa (15). James Doyle knows how to ride here and hopefully can get Algiers a decent spot early and then it’s up for grabs. I have a bit of the 7-2 this morning in the hope he can overcome the draw and show just how good he is and I think he might be very good. Simon and Ed Crisford told a Press Conference at Meydan on Thursday "We’re very pleased with Algiers – his preparation has been great. At the moment we’re happy we decided against running in round three. You’ve got to take these races very seriously and if round three had taken even just one or two per cent away from him running to his full potential in the World Cup, we wouldn’t forgive ourselves. He’s fresh and well. He’s had seven weeks between round two and the World Cup, he’s done extremely well for it and we couldn’t be happier going into this race..... Our horse has won twice on the track, so we know he goes on that dirt and that counts for a lot.”