This Saturday is Dubai World Cup day and the english bookmakers were fast to prize up the races, perhaps too fast in some cases.
Godolphin Mile (dirt)
I successfully predicted Kimbear to beat favorite Heavy Metal on Super Saturday. Heavy Metal is favorite again, now at 7/4 and due to a bad draw Kimbear is 7/2. Rosa Imperial and the Japanese Raider Akito Crescent (by War Emblem) is also drawn wide. Actually, it looks like a horse drawn eight had som luck in the draw and Economic Model, trained by Chad Brown with Joel Rosario in the saddle, is available at 7/2. Obviously, the well-drawn longshots have a good chance of springing a surprise but Economic Model has enough tactical pace to be able to rate behind confirmed front-runner Heavy Metal. Kimbear is likely to try to keep up with Heavy Metal as long as possible and this could put the race in Economic Model’s hands.
In the two-miler, the Gold Cup should go the Europeans. Rare Rhythm (2/1) defeated the classy Vazirabad (9/4) last time out but Vazirabad is bound to be brought forward from that race and will appreciate the extra distance in this race. Vazirabad is the reigning champion and most importantly for me, he looked like he still has it in his last race. Should reverse the form.
For those looking for a prize, look no further than Big Orange (6/1) who is good enough to win a race like this (Gold Cup winner at Royal Ascot). Sheikhzayedroad 20/1) is a mainstay in this kind of races and should be primed for this now when his racing clock is running out. Red Galileo is extremely consistent and is overprized at 50/1.
UAE Derby is a fascinating event this year. Breaking from the inside, Rayya might be hard to catch. She won the Oaks from the lead and won’t be far away at the finish. She is down to 9/1 after opening at 12/1. She is still value. Godolphin’s Gold Town won the 2000 Guineas by 10 lengths but you have to question the quality of the race. The dam of Gold Town is Godolphin’s Pimpernel by Invincible Spirit. She was fast but didn’t stay at all. Gold Town’s father, Street Cry (also Godolphin), finished second in this race, but did win the World Cup later and was taken away far too young as one of the world’s most influential sires. 6/5 is too short an odds, especially when Coolmore is in this race. Mendelssohn (5/2) is sure to be in this with a shout when they are turning for home and I really like them Scat Daddy’s. This is all about Mendelssohn taking to the dirt and I will take my chances with him. The favorite might be trapped in a pace duel with Rayya, and I will also add Reride (Candy Ride) and Castellano here. Coolmore have a couple of more horses in the race and one of them could also be there for the early fractions while Mendelssohn is rating behind them. Wishful thinking on my part? Maybee…
Ertijaal is a non-runner in the Al Quoz Sprint over 6 furlongs on the turf. I was impressed with Jungle Cat (9/2) on Super Saturday and I can’t really justify Blue Point being the odds-on favorite here at 5 to 6. I like Stormy Liberal (25/1) here drawn in fifth but I also like another Peter Miller horse. Stormy Liberal beat my play of the day, Richard’s Boy, at Del Mar in the BC Turf Sprint. Today’s distance is better for Richard’s Boy who is likely to be the leader. The favorite has some serious pace as well but is drawn wide. The lead could be easy with a lot of held up types. Perhaps Jungle Cat will be stalking the pace and be just too good but I will bet Richard’s Boy at 33/1 each way with a saver on Stormy Liberal.
With sires like Posse, Kantharos, Speightstown, Wildcat Heir, More Than Ready, Dubawi and Camacho featured in this race it is not hard to guess that we talk about dirt and a shorter distance, namely 1200 meters (6 furlongs). The prize money is a hefty two million dollar and I think I have an easy winner here. It won’t be XY Jet for me, that’s for sure. I watched him go down as a heavy favorite at my home track, Laurel Park in November. He has taken a couple of lesser races lately and his chance is that he will get an easy lead. Roy H is a far classier horse and even though I wasn’t impressed by his debut this season I am sure that he can press XY Jet and have that one beaten in the stretch. With a too hot a pace Mind Your Biscuits might fall into the race and the fans will all root for the evergreen Reynaldothewizard. The trifecta should go to team USA.
Dubai Turf (9f) has a strong favorite in Benbatl (3/1) who lost to Blair House 14/1 in the Jebel Hatta. Benbatl looked one-paced over the stretch but has a better draw today and could run a big race. I believed heavily in Benbatl last time out and must say I will leave him today and opt for Trais Fluors (10/1) from Fabre and with Vincent Cheminaud up. The extra distance is intriguing and the prize is right. Good chance. I have also always liked Lancaster Bomber and might have a small bet there as well. The Japanese raiders are hard to handicap but they don’t win often here, do they?
The Sheema Classic is worth 6 million dollars! The classic distance is used (12 f) and Cloth of Stars is the favorite at 9/4. The Godolphin horse was second to Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and that form knocks most here. There has been a few to many second placings for my liking and I am not sure the ground will do him any favors here. The Japanese runners, Rey de Oro, Muzu Katchan and Satono Crown, all look good on paper and could perhaps take this. I will go with the in-form Hawkbill proven over course and distance. I liked him last time out when he showed he sure was sharp enough. He will likely be brought forward a little from that race and the conditions will sure fit this son of Kitten’s Joy. 9/1 is very generous.
World Cup it is! 10 million dollars will be paid out after the race and bookmakers say that the Baffert/Castellano couple are likely to win the lion’s share. Prized at evens he is not much value, but still a likely winner of this race. The second favorite is North America at 7/1 but I prefer Forever Unbridled. She defeated Songbird last year and is given 2 kilos here. I am not worried by the distance as she always does her best job near the finish line. Gunnevera will run his race and I am sure that Thunder Snow will be asked to do everything he can here and shouldn’t be forgotten.