The best social media reaction from the Dubai World Cup

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The Dubai World Cup finished with a flourish at Meydan Racecouse on Saturday as California Chrome cruised to victory.

After recovering from the excitement of all the action, Sport360 picks out the best tweets and instagrams from the world’s richest horse race.

If you have any pictures or tweets to share from the Dubai World Cup, Tweet us using #360fans.

With my friend at #dubaiworldcup

A photo posted by Maj (@maj) on

#dubaiworldcup #dubaiworldcup2016

A photo posted by @zabegin on

:-) #dubaiworldcup #galpals #meydan #mydubai #hatstyle

A photo posted by Aoife (@efabefa) on

#all#selfie#dubaiworldcup#2016#dubai#dxb#mydubai#maradona#diegoarmandomaradona Selfie with The legend Maradona ⚽??

A photo posted by Anwar Yousuf (@anwaryousuf) on

@janetjackson #dubaiworldcup !! Omg!!! Slayed the stage, as always!!! ???? #janetjackson #jtrib #unbreakable2016

A photo posted by Caitlin Moran ??? (@janetfanforeva) on

#dubaiworldcup #horseracing #mydubai #dubai

A video posted by Hesham Abou Assaf (@hesham.abouassaf) on

#dubaiworldcup2016 #meydan #dubai #dubaiworldcup ?

A video posted by @chelle.bunce on

#dubaiworldcup 26.3.2016 ???

A photo posted by 'M.H.A☆~ (@7m0od_23) on

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Espinoza says saddle slip led to California Chrome’s record-breaking surge

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Jockey Victor Espinoza (c) and trainer Art Sherman (second, left).

The 2015 runner-up dominated as soon as the challengers hit the finishing straight in front of the rapturous Meydan Racecourse’s main stand.

But triple Crown-winning jockey Espinoza, 43, had to use all his experience to guide the colt home last night before disaster could have struck. This charge left second-placed Mubtaahij and third-placed Hoppertunity trailing in the 2014 US Horse of the Year’s wake.

“I was very nice and comfortable out there,” said Espinoza. “He did everything right and he went exactly where we wanted – it was perfect. It is sometimes better to be on the outside rather than stuck inside.

“I sat near the leaders and I couldn’t wait longer when we were coming for home as the saddle was slipping further and further back.

“I couldn’t take any chances, so I had to go. I know it (the saddle) was really far back, but I wasn’t paying attention. Only after I crossed the line did I have a look.”

The evening was full of redemption for California Chrome, whose run on the outside in 2015 saw the hot favourite fade and lose out to Prince Bishop. He stayed in the pack this time before sprinting clear in impressive fashion with 300 metres left. His difficulties were exemplified by his long-delayed post-race interview, as Espinoza and race stewards fiddled with his disintegrating seat.

“I was thinking about this for the whole year,” co-owner Perry Martin said. “I am just so happy.”

Veteran trainer Art Sherman is credited with more than 2,100 wins during his lengthy career.

He was hired to control yesterday’s headline maker in 2013, previous highlights of his reign including the 2014 Kentucky Derby victory.

Sherman paid tribute to Espinoza’s nerveless ride and outstanding technique, saying it was one of the most impressive he’d ever seen.

He said: “He did a fabulous job. I rode for 23 years and when your saddle slips, it makes you kind of move backwards on the horse. You have to really have good balance and control of your horse. I didn’t realise how bad it was until he pulled up. I am so happy to come back and see the look on everyone’s face.”

Espinoza was the man in the saddle 12 months ago when disappointment was the overriding emotion. Despite again starting out wide in stall 11 and the horse coming back from a worrying bruised cannon bone, he cruised through for his first piece of World Cup glory.

He said: “I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed me and the team for keeping on the horse’s tail. I know it is not easy but they chose the right jockey to win the race. I’ve been very close twice before, 2nd (with Chrome in 2015) and 3rd (on Choctaw Nation in 2005), so third time is the charm.”

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Chrome the early favourite for $10million Dubai World Cup

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California Chrome was almost retired last year due to injury.

Runner-up at the 2015 World Cup, and with an official rating of 121 – the highest in this year’s renewal – Califonia Chrome is going to be hard to beat in the $10million world’s richest horse race.

His story is a strange one in that, as good as he undoubtedly is, there is a nagging suspicion the best is yet to come. Obviously, that could be at Meydan tonight.

After last year’s World Cup he was sent to England for an ultimately aborted trip to Royal Ascot. Trainer Art Sherman had not wanted the horse to go.

He was injured and, for a while, appeared likely to be retired but connections persevered and he
returned to Sherman to resume his racing career.

That resumption began in January at Santa Anita with a smooth success. Then, unlike last year when he arrived just before the World Cup, he was dispatched to Dubai at the end of January and went on to win a 2000m handicap at Meydan on February 25.

Assistant trainer Alan Sherman explained: “He is a different horse this year; much bigger and stronger. We decided to get a Meydan run into him before the World Cup this time so he has been here two months and is nicely acclimatised.

“We targeted a handicap over the same 2000m as the World Cup and he won well. The plan has always been to make the World Cup his third start of 2016; we really believe a horse peaks on his third outing after a break which he obviously had after England.”

American Pharoah won the American Triple Crown last year but California Chrome went close in 2014. When winning the first leg, the Kentucky Derby, he guaranteed Sherman’s place in the history books as the oldest ever trainer of a Triple Crown race. Two weeks later, he followed up in the second leg, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico but could not complete the set. Sent off a hot favourite for the 2400m Belmont Stakes, everything seemed to be according to plan until, seemingly, his stamina failed him in the final 300m.

Alan Sherman added: “The Triple Crown challenge was great but sadly he could not do it. He probably just did not stay the 2400m at Belmont.”

“His getting injured in England has probably proved a blessing; he is a much more complete and furnished horse this year. Everything has gone really smoothly and we could not be more happy with him.”

Chrome fast facts

  • 2014 American Horse of the Year.
  • 2014 Kentucky Derby winner.
  • 2014 Preakness winner.
  • Grade II San Pasqual Stakes winner.

When second last year he was drawn widest of all, nine of nine and was not helped by the way the race panned out.

He had to work hard to get in a handy position and could not sustain his effort in the final 100m, when the winner, Prince Bishop, flew home.

The draw has not done him many favours this time either with just Teletext on his outside. He was the 11th name unveiled on Wednesday, leaving Art Sherman few options.

He said: “If you have the best horse the draw matters less. And we think we have the best horse.”

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