The most valuable race in the world is run this afternoon. The Dubai World Cup sees a field of 12 go to post in Meydan.
Here is the preview of the big race, complete with all Saturday’s selections and our idea of a Lucky 15 (four singles, six doubles, four trebles and a four-fold).
RACE OF THE DAY: DUBAI WORLD CUP
5.00 Meydan (1m 2f)
FORECAST: California Chrome (6/4), Frosted (9/4), Mshawish (8/1), Hoppertunity (12/1), Special Fighter (14/1), Mubtaahij (16/1), Hokko Tarumae (20/1), Keen Ice (20/1), Vadamos (20/1), Gun Pit (33/1), Teletext (33/1), Candy Boy (50/1)
ANALYSIS: Prince Bishop, partnered by young William Buick, caused a 14/1 shock in the $10 million event last year. In some respects that renewal, the first since it switched to dirt at Meydan, was an oddly low-key affair.
This year it is different – the Americans have returned in their droves to make this a fascinating contest.
Last season was all about American Pharoah, who swept all before him across the pond, but the Triple Crown hero has had his day and now the attention turns to the next generation.
Frosted has been tabbed by many as the likely winner. Kiaran McLaughlin’s grey made the frame in both the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes last year. He landed the trial for this impressively (the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge) last month and the dogs have been barking about his work.
Mshawish, third in the Dubai Turf last year, has been in excellent form this term and took a Grade 1 handicap at Gulfstream on the dirt last month. That was the same race he won a year ago before scoring in Dubai for Todd Pletcher. Frankie Dettori takes the ride on the six-year-old son of Medaglia D’oro and he has solid each-way claims.
Keen Ice, the mount of Ryan Moore, beat Frosted into third at Saratoga in August, with American Pharoah runner-up. However, Dale Romans’ runner has not been in the same form and Frosted appears to have improved past him.
Bob Baffert knows what it takes to win the Dubai World Cup, having been successful twice before and he relies upon Hoppertunity, who the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes (1m1f) at Santa Anita last month, coming wide late and fast. This trip should suit and he is no back number.
However, he looks held by CALIFORNIA CHROME on their running at Santa Anita in January. Art Sherman’s runner just failed to overcome a poor draw in stall 11 in this race last year and finished 2¼l runner-up to Prince Bishop. He has had two runs since that defeat – the second of those coming over course and distance, which was a straightforward task, despite conceding 15lb all round to seven rivals. He did not have a prep run in Dubai before the World Cup last year and he has been specifically trained for this race. The only downside is, again, the draw. He is drawn in stall 11 again.
Special Fighter has won three races at Meydan, notably landing a Group 1 over C&D tree weeks ago. He was allowed to set his own pace up front and got a soft lead that day. There is no way that is going to happen again as there should be plenty of pace this time.
Japanese star Hokko Tarumae led for a long way in this race last year, but ran a little freely and eventually weakened into fifth. He won a Grade 1 in Japan in January but is likely to come up short of the top American horses.
WINNER: CALIFORNIA CHROME
POSTPONED (Meydan 4.20) joined Roger Varian’s stable from Luca Cumani and made his first start for Newmarket handler a winning one, landing the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold at Meydan last month. It was an ideal prep for the Dubai Sheema Classic and the way Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum’s five-year-old landed the 1m4f turf event by three lengths, left the impression there was a lot more to come. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner came out of that race really well and a big run is expected. He is a confident selection.
OUR KYLIE (Carlisle 2.55) was beaten fairly convincingly on her handicap hurdling debut (a conditional riders’ event) at Doncaster last month for trainer Tony Coyle, but has since joined Brian Ellison’s yard. While she gave the impression she will be suited by further than the 2m½f she got, she has been highly tried and she is at a yard that traditionally has done well with recruits from other yards.
SPRING LOADED (Kempton 3.25) completed a hat-trick for Paul Darcy with two 6f wins at Lingfield, having previously taken a similar Class 2 event at Wolverhampton. He came from off the pace to score last time and he keeps sneaking narrow wins, which keeps him ahead of the handicapper, who cannot put him up too much. Up 2lb today, there is still improvement in him and he is being campaigned superbly.
NAKADAM (Carlisle 2.20) is likely to get his ground, providing the forecast overnight rain arrives. He was beaten a quarter of a length by Kilbree Chief at Ayr last month in a 3m3f handicap chase, having hit the last and had his ground taken by the winner thereafter. He looked unlucky in a weak race but the pair pulled well clear and the form might not be that bad.
MEYDAN: 11.45 Handassa, 12.20 Cool Cowboy, 12.55 Manatee, 1.35 Polar River, 2.10 Sole Power, 2.45 X Y Jet, 3.45 Intilaaq, 4.20 POSTPONED (NAP), 5.00 California Chrome
KEMPTON PARK: 1.10 Bills Delight, 1.40 Rapacity Alexander, 2.15 Windshear, 2.50 Afonso De Sousa, 3.25 Spring Loaded, 4.00 Hermatige Bay, 4.35 Duchess Of Marmite, 5.10 Jolivitesse
HAYDOCK: 1.25 Ruby Rambler, 2.00 Uhlan Bute, 2.35 Moorlands Mist, 3.10 Jac The Legend, 3.45 El Beau, 4.20 Woodford County, 4.50 Elgin
CARLISLE: 1.45 Dubai Shen, 2.20 Nakadam, 2.55 Our Kylie, 3.30 Blakemount, 4.05 Wintered Well, 4.40 Swing Hard, 5.15 Wildehearted Woman
NEWTON ABBOT: 2.05 Lapalala, 2.40 Que Sera, 5.15 Ulck Du Lin, 3.50 Distant Sound, 4.25 Hardtorock, 4.55 Lamb’s Cross, 5.25 Western Miller
CORK: 1.50 Clear Cut, 2.25 Beechmount Whisper, 3.00 Crème De La, 3.35 Full Court Press, 4.10 Danequest, 4.45 Quick Jack, 5.20 Sean O’Casey
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