AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

Dubai World Cup Preview and tips

Star Sports’ head of operations, DAVID HADDRELL previews the Dubai World Cup (Meydan 6.05pm), Godolphin Mile (1.10pm) and Dubai Duty Free (4.40pm) on Saturday.

1.10pm Goldophin Mile

A very competitive renewal of this Group One over a mile ran on the Tapeta track to kick off the card for the proper horses and not the pantomine Arab-breds. Last year’s winner African Story swerves this assignment for the World Cup which probably is no tougher than this but has a higher purse and prestige so the local mob are keen to divert equine resources to that race in order to keep their mitts on the big prize.

Anyway, even allowing for his absence, we’ve got a strong field of 16 runners going to post for the race and I’ll briefly summarise each of them here…

1. Alpha – Ex US horse which has had one run in the UAE which was a disaster finishing last. Got smashed in the Breeders Cup Classic before that too. Drawn on the inside and interesting that Godolphin only rely on this, Time Prisoner and Moonwalk In Paris but it still has a hell of a lot to find to land a blow in this. I made it the complete rag of the field.

2. Mufarrh – Ran second in this race in 2011 and didn’t return to the track until just before Christmas last. Slowly got back to form and won a handicap last time out but beating the likes of Banna Boirche a nose there is a long way off what’s required to win this and he’s not shown he’s got the class he had two years ago. I’d be in no rush to take 12s despite the draw and Fallon up (who’s been riding very well out in Dubai this Winter).

3. Red Jazz – Contested this race in 2011 and 2012, getting placed in both renewals coming straight here. This time he’s had a prep, finishing 10th of 14 in the trial for this race. Concerning that he could place straight off the plane in those races but ran no race fresh this time. Also a bit older and European form is no better than in previous years so couldn’t recommend him to make it third time lucky out here.

4. Time Prisoner – Ex French horse which has had 5 runs out in Dubai, winning 2 handicaps. Came 4th in weak G2 sprint last time out on Tapeta but best runs prior to that were on turf and another one who’s form looks a touch short of the required here.

5. Zazou – German raider who took the scalp of Cirrus Des Aigles just over a year ago on the polytrack at Chantilly. Not won since and beaten in that race this year. Can see no signs why he’d take a hand at the shorter trip here despite coming 5th in the World Cup last year. Suspect he had his chance in 2012 and unlikely to trouble less exposed rivals.

6. Surfer – Local runner who should be respected having chased the World Cup fav home the last twice. Drops back to 1m here which he’s won over C&D at before and he’s ultra consistent. Would be dangerous to rule out but already been nibbled at in the market over the last few days.

7. Sarkiyla – French filly who showed a liking for quick ground she rarely encountered in Europe last year. Wasn’t beaten far behind superstar Moonlight Cloud in the Moulin at Longchamp on ground she wouldn’t have enjoyed. I suspect Tapeta will suit her down to the ground and whilst her jockey has put some erratic displays in over the past 2 years, he’s very good when at his best and at 14/1, she looks the bet of the race to me. Unexposed, likely to enjoy the surface and has good European form to bring to the table. Connections rarely travel their dud fillies and I think she’ll give you a good shout for your money.

8. Master Of Hounds – Consistent Meydan performer that’s plied his trade mainly on the turf track in Dubai. Looked a bit below his best this season and last Tapeta run in last year’s World Cup was probably tilting at windmills. Ran well on the surface before that in the 2012 season but will need to be right back to his best to land this but one that’s hard to put a line through.

9. Rerouted – Very consistent handicapper for Mike De Kock, formally with Barry Hills and used as Frankel’s defunct pacemaker! Put in some nice handicap performances out in the desert and won his last two races on the surface but this is quite a step up from the challenges he’s been facing. Easy to skip by in favour of other runners.

10. Haatheq – The rag of the field I’d want to be with. 50s with the firms but only beaten 4L by Moonwalk In Paris and came 5th in this last year. Form coming into this is no worse than last year and this is probably a weaker renewal. Will probably outrun his price without getting paid but if you like a rag, he’d be one to side with.

11. Penitent – Improved no end since joining David O’Meara but has mainly been winning weak group races in Europe. His wins last year came when he was handy and the talented Danny Tudhope’s options are limited from the 11 box. Never ran on Tapeta before and whilst he’s an admirable horse who you couldn’t fault, you wonder whether sending him here when there will be soft ground group races at home in coming weeks was the right idea. Not for me as second favourite in the race.

12. Capital Attraction – Champion UAE trainer sends this one here which ran second to last years winner of this race last time out and yet it’s 20/1 for the race. The draw and jockey aren’t huge positives but he’s consistent and loves the surface and 20/1 definitely underestimates his chances in this race.

13. Soft Falling Rain – Your standard sexy Mike De Kock horse. Won all five starts including two on the Meydan Tapeta track, one of which was over C&D, both wins here very impressive so what’s not to like? Well he’s only a 3/1 shot drawn out by the Burj and he’s facing older horses for the first time. The price kills it.

14. Saamidd – Once touted as a rival to Frankel but firmly put in his place by him in the Dewhurst. Had the usual Godolphin setback campaign involving getting beaten by Paul Midgely trained animals in Yorkshire but showed a glimmer of his old self back in his owners back yard the last twice behind Moonwalk In Paris and African Story. Buick up and whilst drawn in 14 isn’t ideal, I can see him outrunning his 33/1 price for sure and he starts slowly and can be dropped in so 14 isn’t as worrying as it would be for some.

15. Moonwalk In Paris – Seemed to enjoy Dubai and Godolphin obviously sent him here as a replacement for African Story. A few have said he’s overpriced at 11/1 but drawn out in 15 with Ajtebi up? Clearly talented and goes on the track but 11/1 is about the right price taking everything into consideration.

16. Barbecue Eddie – Eddie is a legend around Meydan having dotted up in numerous conditions and minor group races at the track, especially in the Autumn. He’s often come up short when the big boys and girls from Europe come out to play from January onwards and I think that will continue to be the case here despite having the assistance of a hugely under rated pilot in Patt Dobbs onboard.

This race has lost its star favourite in African Story and I think that’s one reason why De Kock has sent Soft Falling Rain here instead of the UAE Derby but I can’t have him at the prices. Capital Attraction is a model of consistency on the surface and ran a lovely trial for the race having progressed dramatically from the Autumn handicaps that they hold here but I think he’s going to struggle to take the prize home for his local in form trainer. Haatheq also should give a very good account of himself and out run his ridiculous 50/1 price but he’s another local horse that will make the odds compilers look a little silly without bagging the No.1 spot. I have often said that backing unglamorous local horses at this meeting is the most profitable strategy but that seems to have corrected itself in recent years and in this race, I’m siding with one of only two horses in this race that have never flown into Dubai before. Sarkiyla brings strong European form to this race and her very shrewd trainer wouldn’t be lobbing her in an all sex race like this on a whim and given she seems to like a sounder surface back in Europe, she should go on the Tapeta here and 14/1 is a big price for such an unexposed horse from a world class yard like hers.

Sarkiyla EW at 14/1 with small EW savers on Capital Attraction and Haatheq.

4.40pm Dubai Duty Free

The Dubai Duty Free is ran over the unusual distance of 1m1f on Meydan’s turf track. It has often been targeted by European trainers and last year saw a runaway winner in Cityscape. This year’s renewal is a strong renewal with lots of different form lines represented. Let’s run through the field….

1. Aesop’s Fables – Ex Andre Fabre trained colt who won a very weak Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last year. Has had two runs in Meydan, one over C&D when finishing 4th behind The Apache. Has since got beaten a long way on Tapeta and hard to recommend him here when plenty of others have better Dubai form.

2. I’m A Dreamer – British trained Globetrotting filly who had a spell Stateside last year winning a Grade 1 at Arlington. That was a weak fillies and mares affair and whilst she’s a good filly I think this test is a bit tougher than she’s used to, especially first time up.

3. City Style – Ultra consistent Meydan performer who’s never unplaced at Meydan. 3rd in this race last year and ran two good races in Group races this year. Would be dangerous to rule him out at 16/1.

4. Little Mike – US Raider who won the Breeders Cup Turf over 1m4f. Had a prep for this race on the Tapeta over 1m2f, only came 8th but wasn’t disgraced on a new surface. He’d be dangerous to rule out but prices have him about right for me.

5. Sajjhaa – Extremely talented mare who ran in the Oaks on only her second run as a three year old. Has thrived in Meydan this Winter winning all 3 races, the last twice when unfancied against flashier types. Cannot fault her in any way; unbeaten at the track, has won the trial for this race and has Silvestre onboard again. Should be at least joint favourite for me.

6. Igugu – De Kock talking horse who battered everything in sight in South Africa but has been turned over as favourite on two runs out in Dubai, put in her place by Sajjhaa on both occasions. De Kock says she’s shown signs of being in season and not adjusting to Meydan but even so, cannot see how she can possibly turnover the four lengths Sajjhaa has had on her in two runs.

7. Ocean Park – Definitely the most interesting runner in the race. Coming all the way from New Zealand having won the Cox Plate in October. Has since won a New Zealand Group One as a prep for this race and whilst it’s hard to compare his form with the UAE/European runners, it looks strong enough to take a hand in this. Murtagh is an eye catching booking and he is a fascinating runner but I think the market has spotted him and not taken any chances, I aren’t rushing to take 6/1.

8. Fulbright – Another consistent Godolphin horse who’s not unplaced in three starts at Meydan but was put in his place by Trade Storm and UK form is a fair bit short of the standard in this race. Will give his all but can pass him over.

9. Gifora – French mare who won the Falmouth last year and placed in the Opera and the Hong Kong Cup. On a line through Alcopop, that puts her close to Ocean Park, if not infront of him as rough as that calculation is. She travels well, won first time up last season and will go on the ground. Another female who’s very very hard to find any faults with.

10. The Apache – Mike De Kock trained colt that’s won and placed in his two starts out in Dubai. Beat City Style first time up and then ran second to Sajjhaa last time after hanging left. Find it hard to see why or how he’ll reverse the placings with her in this race though.

11. Mushreq – Won 2 of his 5 starts out here, both wins coming on the turf track over 1m and 1m2f. Those wins were incredibly impressive on the clock and would take most renewals of this race. Hanagan will have his work cut out in this stronger field from stall 11 but he is a very strong candidate and I think he’s been underestimated in the betting as he’s not got top class European form and won lesser races in Dubai. Certainly the value in the race.

12. Wigmore Hall – Admirable globetrotter who’s ran in this race for the last two years without winning. I see no reason why he’ll improve on his fourth and fifth placings in those years, especially when Little Mike took care of him out in Arlington last Summer. One that’s easy to pass over from a wide draw.

13. French Fifteen – Chased Camelot home in the 2000 Guineas last year but gone backwards in three starts since and got beat in a Chantilly polytrack conditions race as a prep for this. Will really have to regain his sparkle to land this, and probably even improve on that given how poor last year’s three year old crop were.

14. Trade Storm – The sexy horse in the race. Progressive handicapper in the UK who showed what he was really made of over C&D in a handicap on Valentines Day before winning a Group 2 easily from Musir earlier this month. He can be dropped in so his wide draw isn’t a concern and he’s been backing his visually impressive performances up on the clock but he lacks the group form of some of these and he’s far too short for me at 4/1 in as field this strong.

A fascinating renewal of this race with three very strong candidates with Meydan form alone in Trade Storm, Sajjhaa and Mushreq who really are hard to fault but given Trade Storm is half the price of the other two and has the wider draw and less Group race form, he’s just no value at all. Ocean Park and Giofra have very strong claims too; I feel the Kiwi has been spotted as a potential fly in the ointment by the bookies though and 6/1 is certainly no gift in my opinion. That leaves Sajjhaa, Mushreq and Giofra and I find it very hard to split them; if the race was ran at Longchamp, I’d say Giofra but I feel I have to side with the local pairing here as they have done nothing wrong at the track and look top class. Mushreq has a smidge more value in him at the price but I couldn’t let Sajjhaa go unbacked at 8s either so I’ll be backing the both of them.

Sajjhaa EW at 8/1 and Mushreq EW at 10/1

6.05pm Dubai World Cup

This is a weak renewal of the World’s richest race and it scarcely resembles a Group One. Either way, there are some decent American runners along with the usual local Godolphin mass entries, and it’s an interesting race nonetheless.

1. Treasure Beach – Irish Derby winner two years ago but has struggled to land a blow in most races since that Summer. Finished sixth in the trial for this race behind Hunter’s Light and ran a big race in the Sheema Classic last year. I can’t see him winning this but I think he’ll come on for his prep and if he runs to his best, he won’t be far away.

2. Red Cadeaux – Globetrotting star who’s been beat a short-head in a Melbourne Cup and won a Hong Kong Vase. Had a good record on synthetics in the UK and has the class to win this but the step back in trip is a worry but I still think 25/1 underestimates his chances in a weak renewal.

3. Dullahan – If Dullahan was coming here off the plane, I’d think he would be close to favourite given his sensational record on synthetics in the US. However, he ran over a mile here on Super Saturday and got stuffed and showed absolutely nothing. Very hard to recommend him after that despite his record on other synthetic surfaces.

4. Hunter’s Light – Improving Godolphin colt who’s won his two starts in Meydan after a blossoming Autumn European campaign. Impossible to find fault with him having won both races in Dubai impressively and he’s well drawn and more than a worthy favourite in my opinion. Will be tough to beat.

5. Capponi – Not ran since coming second in this race last year and has a phenomenal record on Tapeta. If he runs a race like he did twelve months ago, he’ll be very hard to beat but has to be a concern that he’s coming into this without a run and always the danger with ones from these connections that he’s been ruined.

6. Side Glance – Encountering Tapeta and 1m2f for the first time but can’t blame connections for having a go at this race. However, despite having strong European form, it’s a big ask to be thrown in here with two brand new variables for him and I couldn’t recommend him from a betting angle.

7. Planteur – 3rd in the race last year and then came second to Golden Lilac and wasn’t disgraced in the Prince of Wales. Granted he’s not the horse he was when sent off a fancied runner for the Arc but he won’t need to be to win this. The time of his Lingfield prep was fantastic and the rumour was he needed the run and it will have bought him on a lot. This is a weaker race than last year and he’s had a prep this time and 14/1 vastly underestimates his chances in this race. I’ll be amazed if he’s out of the frame.

8. Royal Delta – American mare which smashes fillies only races for fun in the States but came out here last year and was tailed. I see no reasons why that will change this year despite her being a fancied runner and having bits of synthetics form.

9. Meandre – Andre Fabre colt who’s had a career of mixed fortunes having won the GP De Paris in 2011 but hasn’t gone on since then having winning soft Group races in Europe. Got stuffed in his prep on his first run on synthetics last time at Chantilly and has a huge task on his plate here.

10. Monterosso – Last year’s winner but was unfancied and found a lot of improvement out of nowhere and has been stuffed in two runs since. Think he’ll need to get given whatever he had last year to make it back to back wins….

11. African Story – Redirected here from the Godolphin Mile as this is a soft renewal and he loves Tapeta. I can see him having no problems with the 1m2f trip and it’s hard to find many faults with him. The draw and trip are very slight concerns but they are negated by the price IMO.

12. Animal Kingdom – Kentucky Derby winner two years ago and only won a claimer on his return to racing but second in two Grade Ones but they were on turf and weren’t strong races. Encounters Tapeta for the first time and given the poor record that Americans have had on it so far (admittedly a small sample size), it’s hard to recommend him at around 5/1.

13. Kassiano – Proved a revelation in handicaps around this track and stepped up to Group One company last time but put in his place by Hunter’s Light last time. Was a bit unlucky there but hard to see him turning the tables in this race from the outside stall.

Hunter’s Light has a massive chance in this and I really cannot find a fault with him but 4/1 is the right price for him and I can’t back him at the right price.. I can’t have the American horses at all at the prices with question marks over them all for different reasons. Kassiano, Treasure Beach and Red Cadeaux all have small EW value at double figures.

Planteur is one of my strongest antepost bets in a while, he ran a huge race in this last year when Marco Botti hadn’t had him for long without a prep. He’s ran a very strong time in his prep for this and even just a repeat of last year’s run will see him in the frame at the very least. Ryan Moore is onboard, he’s got a good draw, he handles the track and surface and this renewal is weak enough that you don’t need to be an International Group One horse to win it. 14/1 is probably twice the price he should be and it’s an all in bet for me to bring the curtain down on the Dubai carnival.

Advice: Have the absolute lot on Planteur EW at 14/1