DWC race-by-race

DWC race-by-race


Ed Marnane: Race-by-race analysis of Saturday’s Dubai World Cup meeting

Dubai Kahayla Classic

The Arabian showpiece has attracted a strong international field. Saudi Arabian trainer Mutlaq Bin Mushreef won the 2018 renewal with Tallaab Al Khalediah and returns with two leading players, Mubasher Al Khalediah and Mutawakel Al Khalediah, winner and runner up respectively in the Obaiya Arabian Classic last month. It’s hard to split the pair, with preference for Mubasher Al Khalediah to confirm the form with his stable companion. Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 2) winner and track record holder, RB Frynchh Dude will appreciate being back at Meydan, a track at which he has yet to taste defeat. He makes plenty of appeal of the home team, especially drawn near the rails. Brraq has made massive strides since switching to dirt at Meydan, winning twice this year, both at Group 1 level. The eight-year-old clearly warrants respect. The Didier Guillemin trained Deryan, winner of the 2020 The President of the UAE Cup (Group 1) at Deauville, completes the shortlist.


Godolphin Mile

Doug Watson has a good record in the race and course specialist Midnight Sands, winner of six of his seven races at Meydan, is fancied to give the American Dubai-based trainer his third victory in the hands of Pat Dobbs. Back after an unsuccessful spell in the USA, Midnight Sands impressed in the Burj Nahaar. UAE champion trainer Satish Seemar has a strong team, saddling Roman Rosso, South American three-time Grade 1 winner, Rodaini, Tuz and Secret Ambition, the mount of local champion Tadhg O’Shea. Of the quartet, Tuz makes most appeal. He ran well behind Midnight Sands, keeping on for pressure to finish just over two lengths behind the selection. In a race where the home challenge is numerically strong, Chiefdom can’t be overlooked on the back of a solid effort in the Burj Nahaar. Frankie Dettori is a notable booking for Dieu Du Vin, the lone Japanese challenger who will need to overcome an awkward draw. Winner of three of eight races, all on dirt, he arrives in good form having finished a close fourth at Grade 2 level last month.


Dubai Gold Cup

Godolphin are strongly represented in a race they have dominated, winning six of the 11 renewals since 2009. Secret Advisor, trained by Charlie Appleby, should be a big player. Unbeaten in two starts at Meydan, he comes in on the back of a pleasing comeback in the Red Sea Turf Handicap on the Saudi Cup undercard. The Saeed bin Suroor-trained pair Global Heat (Frankie Dettori) and Volcanic Sky have progressed nicely this winter and demand obvious respect. Suroor has booked Christophe Soumillon to ride Volcanic Sky. It’s hard to split the pair, with slight preference for Volcanic Sky to uphold the form, as he may improve going up in distance. Mark Johnston’s Prix Royal Oak (Group 1) winner Subjectivist is a smart stayer and spearheads the British challenge, joined by Andrew Balding’s useful five-year-old Spanish Mission, Red Verdon and the quirky Mekong, representing Jamie Osborne. Subjectivist showed a likeable attitude in France, finding plenty for pressure in very testing conditions under a fine front-running ride from Joe Fanning. He won’t find it easy to dominate this field on quicker ground, while Johnston’s dreadful record at Meydan can’t be ignored. Back after a four-month break, Spanish Mission fared best of those who contested Red Sea Turf Handicap, finishing second, a neck ahead of Secret Advisor, with Red Veron close-up in fourth. Spanish Mission, the mount of Ryan Moore, was reported to have needed the race and won’t be far off them.



Al Quoz Sprint

Space Blues, regarded by many as the banker on the card, is the class act of the race and will take plenty of beating for Charlie Appleby, a trainer who saddled three winners on the 2019 Dubai World Cup card. He hasn’t tasted defeat since disappointing at Meydan in March last year, reeling off five consecutive wins, including the Prix Maurice de Gheest (Group 1) in France. Equilateral, trained by Charlie Hills, can boast a tremendous record at Meydan, winning three times and finishing second in just four starts, all over 1000m. A strong traveller, he could be vulnerable stepping up to 1200m under Frankie Dettori. However, if he sees out the trip, he can go well. Stable companion Khaadem has to defy a 259-day absence. He has his quirks and can be opposed. American turf sprinters have a poor record (0-27) in the race and Extravagant Kid and True Valor both make little appeal. Godolphin’s Final Song led home Motafaawit in the Nad Al Shea Turf Sprint, the key local trial and a contest that has been a good guide. The latter, trained by Doug Watson, is fancied to reverse the form, having run on strongly in the closing stages from the rear of the field. He is in the form of his life and makes plenty appeal to cause an upset at double-digit odds.


UAE Derby

This race has attracted a competitive field of 14. Pink Kamehameha, representing Japan, is chasing another big prize in the Middle East, five weeks after landing the Saudi Derby on his dirt debut. Always handy, he found plenty for pressure and will be fancied to confirm the form with New Treasure (third), Rebel’s Romance (fourth) and the fifth (Soft Whisper). Pink Kamehameha jumps from stall No 14 and doesn’t appeal stepping up in distance. France Go De Ina has better prospects of taking the prize back to Japan since Lani landed the 2016 renewal. Winner of two of his three races on dirt, he has the assistance of top US rider Joel Rosario and is a strong stayer. Lightly raced Mnasek, impressive winner of the UAE Oaks, has badly missed the break in two of her three races and will need to avoid those antics facing her biggest task to date. Panadol, arguably the main hope of the home team, impressed when making all in the Al Bastakiya, overcoming a wide gate and following up his impressive performance on his racecourse debut. Nicely drawn in stall No 4, he should confirm the form with Speight’spercomete and El Patriota. Mouheeb enjoyed his biggest success over the course, winning the UAE 2000 Guineas last month. He has been kept fresh for the race and is one to consider, especially drawn near the rails.


Dubai Golden Shaheen

Matera Sky arrives in Dubai on the back of another heart-breaking defeat in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint, just failing to hold Copano King’s late burst. Second to XY Jet in the 2019 Golden Shaheen, Matera Sky has demonstrated he’s highly effective under these conditions and should go well from an inside gate. Copano King is consistent and showed a likeable attitude to nail Matera Sky close home. He holds sound claims, as the expected strong pace should play to his strengths. US sprinters always command respect. Yaupon, trained by Steve Asmussen, was very progressive last year, winning his first four races. He had excuses for his below-par effort in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The son of Uncle Mo likes to dominate and is ideally berthed to force the pace. Wildman Jack, winner of the Palos Verdes (Grade 3), is one to consider under Fernando Jara. Progressive Canvassed is unbeaten over the course and distance, winning a handicap before landing the Mahab Al Shimaal (Group 3) on Super Saturday. Trained by Doug Watson, he makes plenty of appeal and is the main hope of the home challenge. Good Effort, the mount of Frankie Dettori, was only caught close home in the Mahab Al Shimaal, showing blistering pace until reeled in the dying strides. Drawn in stall No 1, he could be hard to catch.


Dubai Turf

Lord North, trained by John Gosden, has the services of Frankie Dettori. He put up a smart performance when winning the Prince of Wales’s (Group 1) at Royal Ascot, quickening impressively to score easily under a confident James Doyle ride. He warrants plenty of respect and looks the one to beat. Veteran Lord Glitters, third in 2019, has been in fine form at Meydan this year, winning two of his three races including the Jebel Hatta (Group 1). Trained by David O’Meara, he needs a strong gallop and a trouble-free passage, as he likes to be ridden from off the pace. In a big field of 13, Lord Glitters doesn’t appeal at short odds. Al Suhail, trained by Charlie Appleby, made an encouraging comeback in the Jebel Hatta, finishing a close third, following a 240-day absence. He was difficult to settle and under the circumstances it was a pleasing effort. He will appreciate a strong tempo and has sound claims. Vin de Garde, the mount of Mickael Barzalona, represents Japan, a country with a good record in the Dubai Turf, winning four of the last six renewals. He signed off for 2020 with a solid run in the Mile Championship (Grade 1), beaten less than three lengths in a race that attracted Japan’s top milers. Vin de Garde’s comeback last month was encouraging, which will leave him spot-on for this challenge.


Dubai Sheema Classic

This promises to be best race on the card, featuring the exciting clash of four Group/Grade 1 winners from four countries. Mishriff, winner of the Saudi Cup, switches to turf after his fantastic win in Riyadh. On that evidence he won’t be troubled stepping up to 2400m and provided he has fully recovered from a tough race five weeks ago, can put up a bold show. Mogul ended his three-year-old campaign on a high with victory in the Hong Kong Vase in December. He will be suited by the conditions and is entitled to plenty for respect. Japan’s hopes rest with and smart racemares Loves Only You and Chrono Genesis, winner of the Arima Kinen (Grade 1) on her latest appearance in December. She’s a classy filly and has sound claims of taking her tally at the highest level to three. Oisin Murphy has been booked to ride Loves Only You, who was six lengths behind Chrono Genesis in the Arima Kinen. She confirmed her well-being, winning a Grade 2 last month. Godolphin mount a strong challenge, led by progressive Walton Street. Trained by Charlie Appleby, he is unbeaten at Meydan this year and impressed in the Dubai City of Gold. He is in the form of his life and is expected to play a leading role.


Dubai World Cup

This year’s renewal, the 25th running, looks the most competitive in history, lacking a standout performer. US horses have won the race 11 times and Mystic Guide, installed favourite after winning the Razorback Handicap (Grade 3), bids to give Godolphin a ninth Dubai World Cup. Trained by Michael Stidham, he was a lightly raced last year, being restricted to just four appearances and he rewarded his connections’ patience when impressing at Oaklawn Park on his four-year-old debut. Drawn nicely in stall No 6, a plus in a big field of 14, he makes plenty of appeal. Sleepy Eyes Todd, a first runner in Dubai for American trainer Miguel Silva, ran better than his finishing position suggested in the Saudi Cup. He met interference at the top of the home straight but kept on in determined fashion to finish less than 13 lengths behind Mishriff. He has each-way claims at double-digit odds. Jesus Team only found classy Knicks Go too strong in the Pegasus World Cup. Connections elected to swerve the Saudi Cup and keep him fresh for a trip to Dubai, and he has to be high on any shortlist. The Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 3), over the same course and distance, is the traditional lead-up race and it has been a good guide. Salute The Soldier won the Group 1 contest three weeks ago, taking his tally to three wins in five appearances on Meydan’s main track. Trained by Fawzi Nass, Salute The Soldier has a tough and others make stronger claims. Military Law, winner of two of his five races at Meydan, all on dirt, never fired in the Saudi Cup, trailing in sixth behind Mishriff. He was reported to have failed to handle the deep surface. Back on his home track, he can’t be discounted from a favourable barrier.


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