The Dubai World Cup, dubbed the richest race night in the world, although I think the Pegasus world Cup has stolen that crown!
Nonetheless it’s worth a lot of bloody money! Champions from far and wide will travel to Dubai to battle it out on the dirt and turf. Now before we get into the runners and riders there are a few things you should know, the dirt and turf are very different ball games to the tracks over here.
The dirt surface is raced on in the US and is not only very quick but also comes with its own host of obstacles. Horses who have not raced on this before will need to prepare for this accordingly, they will be doing what is called gate speed training. This is practising what is called the ‘break’ out of the gate, to do this they use an american jockey who is use to this and the sound of the bell so they associate the noise with moving away quickly. This is so important due to the kick-back of dirt in the race, which makes horses back off and slow down, hence why those first few strides out of the gate are so important.
The turf track is something most of the english horses may be use to but it’s no normal turf track. The turf in Dubai resembles a billiards table, unlike most of the tracks here there is no hill finish and there is a very long straight which can catch some jockeys out.
There are a few other factors making the night itself so unique, there is also a 40 minute break between racing. This is where there is a show with a huge firework show, this is something that alerts a lot of people as you would think the horses would find this very upsetting, but they are all in stables underground which are completely sound proof.
Now onto the racing itself! As there are nine races I won’t go through them all but below is what I believe will be the highlights of the night.
The first is the Godolpin Mile which is a Group 2 run on the dirt. The only horse from the UK will be Hugo Palmers GIFTED MASTER and from what I have heard he is taking to the dirt very well and gate speed training is going good, I also like SHARP AZTECA which will be the highest rated horse in the race.
The third race is one of the most competitive on the night, especially for the UK trainers, The Dubai Gold Cup 16F on turf. I am completely spoilt for choice in this race and would love to see a few horses win! David Simcock’s SHEIKHZAYEDROAD, is a great horse and is, in my opinion a safe each-way bet, a horse that runs well, and has settled well in Dubai. Next at the top of my list is Michael Bells BIG ORANGE, again another safe each way bet, a horse that travels and settles in so well. With Frankie on board for the first time to hopefully give him the extra edge he needs, knowing the track so well. He is a big beauty of a horse and on his day would be hard to beat. Last but by no means least TRIP TO PARIS, I must say I just love the story of this horse, a syndicate horse making it to first the Melbourne Cup and now here it would just be so nice to see him win for them. He travelled well in the Melbourne cup and again I will be having a little each way. There is so many top class horses in the race like KINGFISHER and HEARTBREAK CITY it is sure to be one hell of a race.
The eighth race is the Sheema Classic, with superstars POSTPONED and HIGHLAND REEL taking to the turf to go head to head once again. I would love to see POSTPONED take first place this time but my gallops scouts say he is not working as well as they would like, which has me looking else where and for some each way value, and I would have to say JACK HOBBS would be my bet.
Finally the Dubai World Cup itself, for me it seems a little deja vu from the Pegasus world cup and there is only one winner, ARROGATE, and I must say I am just excited to see him run! So again we are looking for some each way value, I would have to say KEEN ICE at 33/1 is looking very attractive, it’s a great dirt runner.