Dubai World Cup Preview with Sean Trivass

Dubai World Cup 2016Well I missed my Sunday night deadline thanks to the poor wifi at the airport on my way to cover the Dubai World Cup for your Daily Sport but this is the price you have to pay when you want a touch of sunshine now and again.


For those unfamiliar, the Dubai World Cup is the most valuable single prize in the horse racing World, yet has never really taken off with UK fans or punters, mainly because it is run at the end of March when our better horses are only just coming back in to serious training with less valuable summer targets that hold a lot more sway for future values at stud. I think that is all about to change – there is an air of importance this season that doesn’t simply smell of money, a real desire to add the trophy to the cabinet more than a cheque, and a genuine sea change in how Dubai racing is viewed the World over –and remember, you read that here first!


Opulence is the only word for Meydan racecourse, a behemoth of a building that I suspect would hold an Ascot grandstand and a Newmarket grandstand and still have room for a party, though finding my way around is always a personal issue. Two tracks see turf and dirt these days in a successful attempt to attract the better American horses and in California Chrome and Frosted, backed up by Keen Ice, Hoppertunity and Mshawish, they have the “names” they were craving and the respectability that goes with them. Being on dirt we haven’t a single British runner but that won’t make the race any less exciting in what many are billing as a battle between California Chrome and Frosted, though I won’t be writing off unknown quantity Hokko Tarumae from Japan or last years UAE Derby winner Mubtaahij who could run well if back to his very best.


Naturally, there is a pretty spectacular supporting card where we do have a long list of representatives starting with Sloane Square, runner up in the Godolphin Mile last year for Jeremy Noseda and looking for payback this season under Frankie Dettori and all we can do is wish him all the best this Saturday afternoon.


The Dubai Gold Cup is on turf so no shock to see it is European dominated with Vazirabad the short priced favourite, though personally I am wary that most of his best form is on soft ground which he seems unlikely to get today, and it’s a race I’ll be watching without any financial interest (not that you can bet over here anyway). Suegioo runs here for Richard Fahey who is already in Dubai, Big Orange for Michael Bell, and Haafaguinea for Saeed Bin Suroor but its not a race that is getting me excited even if it is worth over £400,000 to the winner!


Polar River looks pretty special and is odds on for the UAE Derby even if she is a filly, having already taken the UAE Oaks last time out and ought to win, leading us neatly on to the Al Quoz Sprint on the turf which looks unpredictable. All sprints are hard to call, with one missed beat as the stalls open or a blocked run impossible to recover from in time, but add form from various continents and it all gets a bit silly. John Moore seems pretty confident his Hong Kong trained Not Listenin‘tome will run a big race and he seems likely to be involved in the finish while the Aussies here like the way Buffering has been working this week but I’ll be screaming for Sole Power as always as Ed Lynam’s well travelled nine year old looks for win number thirteen in a career that has collected over £2,000,000 in prize money.


The Dubai Golden Shaheen is next and they tell me X Y Jet is a good thing but its another sprint so I don’t believe them, while Godolphin look to have a stranglehold on the Dubai Turf with red hot favourite Tryster (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) hoping to lead home a one two with Very Special (Saeed Bin Suroor/James Doyle) possibly his biggest danger. In a field where the Brits will almost expect a win, we also have Intilaaq (Roger Varian/Paul Hanagan), The Corsican (David Simcock/Jamie Spencer), Euro Charline (Marco Botti/Frankie Dettori) and Gabrial (Richard Fahey/Silvestre De Sousa), and we really ought to dominate for once.


Two races to go and the Dubai Sheema Classic looks at the mercy of Postponed who I am told looks a million dollars and ought to win for Roger Varian though I am wary of Japanese raider Duramente who has been ignored for some reason and looks as good a horse as any in the race. And so, with fanfares and farewells we finally reach the Dubai World Cup with its £4,000,000 first prize money and title of World’s richest race. To put it in to perspective, the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in May has had its prize money boosted to £500,000 this year – in Dubai the third place gets a lot more than that!


So, in conclusion, if I was betting (which I can’t), then a treble on Tryster Postponed and Polar River might just pay enough to buy a beer (it is not cheap out here and that’s being polite), but it’s racing that really wins tonight with me and 60,000 others looking forward to the day long party!


Sean Trivass is a guest of Dubai Racing Club and would like to thank them for their hospitality and assistance.


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