Punters can look forward to some top-class International racing action on Saturday as the latest renewal of the Dubai World Cup meeting takes place.
Featuring no less than six Group One races, the fantastic showpiece is the richest day of horse racing in the world, and the event attracts the biggest players in the Sport of Kings from around the globe to compete.
Dubai Kahayla Classic Empowered By IPIC (Arab Group 1) (Dirt) 1m 2f
The opener can go the way of AF MATHMON who has placed in a Group Two here in January, beaten by the reopposing Thakif, and who followed up by going one better back at this venue in February when running out an easy winner over Shateh.
Godolphin Mile Sponsored By Meydan Sobha (Group 2) (Dirt) 1m
MARKING won two of his three starts in the United States, beating Dannie’s Deceiver at Belmont Park, and following up in impressive style to defeat Gridley Here at Aqueduct next time.
Only beaten by Breeders Cup Sprint winner Runhappy, who beat Kiaran McLaughlin’s charge to land the Malibu Stakes on Boxing Day, the Bernardini colt made an inauspicious start to his preparations for this event when stumbling out of the stalls and unshipping James Doyle at the start of the Al Shindagha Sprint last month; but he duly made amends when easily landing a handicap next time.
He again looked awkward at the start, but he showed his class to soon be on terms, and he won going away to beat Kifaah by two lengths. This step up in trip could see him improve again, and he shouldn’t be far away if avoiding his starting issues.
Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors (Group 2) (Turf) 2m
While he has to prove his fitness, having not had a prior run before this event, VAZIRABAD looks a cut above these rivals and should prove hard to beat if fit to go at the first time of asking.
Alain De Royer Dupre’s Manduro gelding was hugely progressive last term, winning five on the spin after a solid debut effort behind Ponte Fortune, and the grey rounded off his season with a defeat of Siljan’s Saga in the Group One Prix Royal-Oak at Saint Cloud on his final start back in October, having also won a Group Two at Longchamp the time before.
The prospect of a strong pace can only help, and this ground will hold no fears for the French raider, who despite not looking totally straightforward and quirky, should take plenty of beating.
UAE Derby Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (Group 2) (Dirt) 1m1f110y
POLAR RIVER has carried all before her in winning all four previous starts, and although she wasn’t as visually impressive as before in grinding out the latest win in the UAE 1000 Guineas, the Congrats filly should take plenty of beating.
Doug Watson’s charge won two of her first three outings by thirteen lengths each, which included a Listed win over Promising Run, whom she had earlier beaten by five lengths the time before.
However, while she only prevailed by just three-parts of a length last time from the re-opposing Vale Dori, she gave the impression that she did the job easily enough; and with the prospect of more to come, she looks difficult to oppose in landing the five-timer.
Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Meydan Hotels & Hospitality (Group 1) (Turf) 5f
Sole Power finally got his Dubai monkey off his back when winning this twelve months ago after several unsuccessful attempts, but the nine-year old could struggle to follow up.
Preference is for the John Moore-trained NOT LISTENIN’TOME, whose form has taken off this term and the Dylan Thomas gelding is 3-3 at Sha Tin over this minimum trip.
Those wins include a pair of Group Three successes, and he coasted home in a handicap last time when beating Super Jockey and Amber Sky. This race should be run to suit with plenty of pace to follow, and the presence of Ryan Moore in the saddle catches the eye and suggests a big run is expected.
Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored By Gulf News (Group 1) (Dirt) 6f
X Y Jet could take some stopping if given a soft lead at the head of affairs, but MUARRAB can land the spoils under Paul Hanagan.
The Oasis Dream has proven himself well suited to Jebel Ali, where he has done most of his winning; but he has proven effective at this speedier track, winning a Listed contest here in December when running out a bloodless victor over Rafeej, and after a couple of defeats he resumed winning ways last time when winning by a similar margin from Kifaah in a Group Three contest.
In between those successes, he has come up short behind Rich Tapestry in the Al Shindagha, beaten just over one length, where he couldn’t get to the lead; but that form was reversed in no uncertain terms last time, and he can follow up here in a race that will likely be run at a furious pace with several front-runners in opposition.
Dubai Turf Sponsored By DP World (Group 1) (Turf) 1m1f
TRYSTER floundered on the Sandown turf last term, but the Godolphin runner has shown he can be effective on the surface by winning both starts at the Carnival, including the Group One Jebel Hatta three weeks ago.
Charlie Appleby’s charge is unbeaten on the all-weather, but those runs have added another string to his bow, and the strong travelling Shamardal gelding possesses a real turn of foot which he has used to devastating effect the last twice.
He’ll need some luck-in-running if he is to get the required gaps from his low draw to be able to fully utilize his finishing power in a much deeper race; but it is likely he still has further progress to come, and he looks the one to side with in a competitive contest.
Dubai Sheema Classic Presented By Longines (Group 1) (Turf) 1m4f11y
King George VI winner Postponed looks sure to go well, having added the Prix Foy and the City Of Gold to his CV in his last two outings following his Ascot success.
However, in Japanese raider DURAMENTE he looks to face a very tough opponent, and the King Kamehameha colt won two of the three legs of the Japanese Triple Crown last term, but hopes of an attempt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe were curtailed by a serious injury that saw fractures to both forelegs and ended his three-year old campaign.
Nursed back to health by trainer Noriyki Hori, he ran a blinder on his return to action at Nakayama to gain a neck victory over Ambitious, and entitled to build on that first run in nine months there could be an even bigger performance in the pipeline.
Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (Group 1) (Dirt) 1m2f
The jewel in the crown of Saturday’s top-class meeting, FROSTED can lower the colours of US superstar and compatriot California Chrome to give Godolphin another success in the race.
Kiaran McLaughlin’s Tapit colt is a top-class performer who has been unlucky to have largely campaigned in the shadow of the great American Pharoah, and although he disappointed behind that rival in the Breeders Cup Classic back in October, he bounced back to land his prep race here in February with an impressive defeat of Gold City.
Fourth in last season’s Kentucky Derby, and runner-up in the Belmont – both behind American Pharoah – has a better draw than his illustrious compatriot, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is confident of a big run from the Tapit colt.
He broke the track record when winning here in February to land the Al Maktoum Challenge, which was his first outing since his Breeders Cup flop, and entitled to come on for the run he will surely be in the mix.