Weekend Racing Preview: Dubai World Cup at Meydan Takes Centre Stage7 min read
World Cup night in Dubai is today’s feature meeting and I think the French stayer Vazirabad (1.50) can make history by becoming the first thoroughbred horse in history – two pure Arabian-breds have achieved the feat – to win three times at the meeting.
The selection (2/1) was beaten in his prep race by Charlie Appleby’s Rare Rhythm over a-mile-and-three-quarters at the beginning of the month, but is taken to gain his revenge with that run under his belt.
The defection of Ertijaal from the Sprint leaves the door open for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin and I think the trainer will have the first two home with 10/11 market leader Blue Point (3.05) taken to lead home stablemate Jungle Cat.
The former was beaten a head by the great Ertijaal over five furlongs here last month and today’s additional furlong will suit. Note Blue Point beat non-other than Harry Angel at Ascot back in May although the latter was trying to give the Appleby colt 4lbs.
Tip: Blue Point
Benbatl (4.35) has long been my fancy for the Dubai Turf and I feel he can get back to winning ways having been trapped out wide in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta from a modest draw last time. The selection is well-drawn in stall five this evening and is 3/1.
The Japanese challenger Neorealism is lightly-raced for a seven-year-old entire and is rated 5lbs higher than the selection, is reported to be training well and has a cracking draw in stall two. He looks the main danger.
Cloth Of Stars (5.10) was no match for Enable in last year’s Arc but you take that superstar filly out of the equation and he would have been a good winner of the best mile-and-a-half race in the world. He can be a bit keen in his races and would appreciate a decent gallop to chase, but he looks the best horse in the field, is trained by a genius in Andre Fabre and has had a recent prep run when second on the all-weather at Chantilly earlier in the month. The selection is 5/2 and, if he settles, I feel he will be hard to beat.
Tip: Cloth Of Stars
Bob Baffert’s West Coast is Evens to land the World Cup but he has a moderate draw in stall nine and is taken on with North America (5.50) who broke the track record when winning over C&D on “Super Saturday” three weeks ago. Much has been written about a “Golden Highway” next to the rails on the dirt course at Meydan throughout the Carnival and the selection is well drawn in stall two if he wants to make all. At 15/2 he gets the each way vote.
Tip: North America
The ground is described as good to soft at Haydock but further significant rain was due to hit the track and it conditions are likely to be soft for today’s card. Behind Time (3.15) has been raised 7lbs for winning at Uttoxeter in first-time cheek-pieces but that was a much-improved round of jumping show from Harry Fry’s seven-year-old who is 5/1 to follow up. At the foot of the weights, Abracadabra Sivola might be overpriced at 10/1 and looks a big danger.
Tip: Behind Time
In the Mares Chase Final, I am going to take a chance on Milly Baloo (5.00) who ran out at the last, with the race at her mercy at Catterick on her penultimate start. The mare was given a nice run over timber last time to get her confidence back. She can reward each way support for Tim Easterby.
Tip: Milly Baloo
At Musselburgh Ayutthaya (3.00) made it third time lucky at Chester on heavy ground when last seen back in September and he can land the Mile Handicap for Kevin Ryan with a good ground in stall three. He is a colt I have marked as a horse to follow in 2018 especially when there is a bit of cut in the ground. The selection was cut from 4/1 to 3/1 on Friday.
Sunday – Fairyhouse 4.30
Fairyhouse stage the first day of their two-day Irish National meeting tomorrow and Invitation Only (4.30) came down at the top of the hill at Cheltenham last time when he was just starting to get into the race. The RSA Chase winner Shattered Love is the 11/8 market leader receiving 7lbs from her eight rivals but Invitation Only (6/1) gets the each way nod. Note all nine of the runners’ are trained by Willie Mullins (5) or Gordon Elliot and you wonder if their near current monopoly of Irish racing is good for the sport
Tip: Invitation Only