Dubai World Cup Night – The Group One’s In Brief

I am not in Dubai this year but all my media friends are, and they are drip feeding me information on an hourly basis, though I also have to add that the Dubai Racing Club have stepped up to a whole new level with information, interviews, gallop reports, photos, the lot – it has been a breath of fresh air in comparison to how the media are treated over here, and I cannot for the life of me work out why the racing powers here seem oblivious to the added column inches and their ability to increase both interest and crowds. Naturally I will focus on the European raiders to a point while trying to find the winners of the big races (not necessarily the same thing, sadly), so here we go!  

1.35pm Meydan

If we count Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin owned horses as “European” then the betting suggests we have an outstanding chance here with Man Of Promise (William Buick) heading the early betting closely followed by stablemate Creative Force (James Doyle). Both have the form in the book to go well without a doubt at a meeting Godolphin excel at (no surprise there), and if the favourite can repeat his last run when blasting clear in the Group Three Nad Al Sheba Sprint, he will certainly prove very difficult to catch. If you are looking for one at a bigger price, Frankie Dettori rides Naval Crown in the same colours. He raced too freely from a wide draw last time in a race you can put a line through, and at 14/1 he could well outrun his price.

Man Of Promise 7/4

2.45pm Meydan

On to the dirt track for our second Group one, another sprint and perhaps a tougher one to try to solve. The Americans have dominated this race in recent years (mainly by sending over better horses year on year), and it would be a surprise were they to be beaten here – but which one of theirs will come out on top? If you look at this field in depth you will soon note that plenty of these are stepping up in grade (looking for some of the massive prize money, no doubt), with the obvious exception of Dr. Schivel, a four-year-old son of Violence who has won five times, with two of those at Grade One level. He was never sighted when last of seven over a furling further at Santa Anita in December, but may be better gauged by his nose second to Aloha West in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar in December. On form he is hard to oppose but I haven’t heard too many positive things about his trackwork so if you do get involved, I suggest you cut your bets down accordingly.

Dr. Schivel 11/4

3.20pm Meydan

Us Europeans have won six of the last 10 runnings of this race which must give us plenty of hope, though Japanese contender Schnell Meister heads the early betting after his second to Gran Allegria in the Mile Championship at Hanshin last November. I cannot pretend I know the Japanese form inside out, but nor am I stupid enough to not realise that they are a powerhouse in International racing, and you underestimate them at your peril. Lord North won this last year for John Gosden and will make a bold bid to repeat that effort with just the one run since when second at Lingfield to put him straight, but I am less convinced than most that this is his trip and will look elsewhere for my suggestion. Mohaafeth was a tempter as William Haggas drops him back in trip which looks an interesting move, but at a bigger price I will be going in each way on Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Saffron Beach who is a ridiculous price at 8/1. A daughter of New Bay, she clearly goes well fresh with a debut win as a two-year-old at Newmarket and a second in the Nell Gwynn Stakes at the same course on her first start last season. She capped off last season with a win in the Sun Chariot Stakes (Group One) with the classy Mother Earth trailing in her wake, yet she seems to have been ignored by the majority looking in to this contest. On official ratings she is considered 5lb inferior to Lord North (120), but gets 5lb as a mare, suggesting she will be there or thereabouts, and I also suspect she may go on to be even better this season, and a bold run is expected here.   

Saffron Beach each way 10/1

3.55pm Meydan

Yibir heads the market here for Charlie Appleby and after a win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Del Mar last time out he is a horse with plenty of ability. He is apparently in rude health and ready to go with the Man O’ War Stakes back in the USA next on his agenda if all goes well today. My only issue is the form of his last win may not be as good as some think (Broome was just half a length away in second, and he was beaten 9 lengths in the Japan Cup next time out), and that only points to the chances of Authority here. Second in the Japan Cup, he has been given a prep race for this when coming home unchallenged at Riyadh in the Group Three Neom Turf Cup, and if he can get clear from the 10 stall they might not see which way he went. Of the rest, I would love to see a big run from Pyledriver with Frankie riding him for the first time, but as things stand, I am happy enough with my selection – each way at least in this field. 

Authority each way 15/2  

4.35pm Meydan

This may be the grand finale, the big race of the day, and worth over £5million to the winner, but for us Brits, it’s a bit of an anti-climax. I have been fortunate enough to be there when horses of the calibre of California Chrome, Arrogate, and Thunder Snow have led their rivals a merry dance, and congratulations to those involved in getting the top American horses over to challenge (changing the track to dirt may have been a big help!), but with an odds-on favourite what can I add? Life Is Good was always likely to go off at a prohibitive price after he beat Knicks Go in what looked a match in the Pegasus last time out, but given a perfect draw in the one stall, it looks all over bar the shouting. Interestingly, there is plenty of early pace to the race with Hypothetical and Hot Rod Charlie capable of serving it up to the favourite early on, but as things stand, I can only see one winner. Godolphin will be looking at themselves pretty seriously with only the two contenders (22/1 chance Real World and 25/1 shot  Magny Cours), and will no doubt look to source new blood for next year, leaving Japanese raider Chuwa Wizard (22/1) as an each way alterative for those who like that sort of thing 

Life Is Good 8/11

Chuwa Wizard each way 33/1 ( to pennies)   

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