If ever home advantage was going to prove key on Dubai World Cup night it is quite likely this could be the year with trainers based permanently in the UAE well represented. With Saturday night slowly on the horizon, Dubai Racing’s Laura King shares her tips for the celebrated occasion.
KAHAYLA CLASSIC PREVIEW (16:00 – Prize: USD 1,000,000)
Valiant Boy (FR), Its Far From Over (USA), Manark (FR), Callateral (USA), Raaziq (FR), Myra De Monlau (FR), Bigg N Rich (USA), Abu Alabyad (FR), Af Lafeh (UAE), Maseh Asf (GB), Versac Py (FR), Taraf (QA), Richlore (USA), Djainka Des Forges (FR), Vulcain Du Clos (FR).
GODOLPHIN MILE PREVIEW (16:40 – Prize: USD 1,000,000)
Tamarkuz (USA), Free Wheeling (AUS), Quadrivium (USA), Nolohay (IRE), Bradester (USA), Frankfourfingers (FR), Dark Emerald (IRE), Prayer For Relief (USA), Graphic (IRE), Gold City (IRE), Haatheq (USA), Pylon (SAF), Forjatt (IRE), Layl (USA), Sloane Avenue (USA), Surfer (USA).
DUBAI GOLD CUP PREVIEW (17:15 – Prize: USD 1,000,000)
Dormello (IRE), Brass Ring (GB), Cooptado (ARG), Mushreq (AUS), Dubday (GB), Star Empire (SAF), Marzocco (USA), Bathyrhon (GER), Almoonqith (USA), Havana Beat (IRE), Meandre (FR), Vaasa (IRE), Rio Tigre (IRE), Brown Panther (GB), Ahzeemah (IRE).
UAE DERBY PREVIEW (17:55 – Prize: USD 2,000,000)
Mubtaahij (IRE), Motaa (KSA), Alnajem Alfaiz (KSA), Sir Fever (URU), Faithful Creek (IRE), Tap That (JPN), Golden Barows (USA), My Johnny Be Good (USA), Maftool (USA), Dear Domus (JPN).
AL QUOZ SPRINT PREVIEW (18:30 – Prize: USD 1,000,000)
Green Mask (USA), Bundle of Joy (AUS), Hototo (GB), Via Africa (SAF), Farmah (USA), Sir Maximilian (IRE), Sole Power (GB), Mirza (GB), Stepper Point (GB), Amber Sky (AUS), Caspar Netscher (GB), Caspian Prince (IRE), Ahtoug (GB), Distinctiv Passion (USA), Lancelot Du Lac (ITY), Peniaphobia (IRE).
DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN PREVIEW (19:05 – Prize: USD 2,000,000)
Montiridge (IRE), Speed Hawk (GB), Krypton Factor (GB), Rich Tapestry (IRE), Salutos Amigos (USA), Big Macher (USA), Secret Circle (USA), Lucky Nine (IRE), United Color (USA), Shaishee (USA), El Padrino (NZ), Super Jockey (NZ), Cool Cowboy (USA), Muarrab (GB).
DUBAI TURF PREVIEW (19:40 – Prize: USD 6,000,000)
Euro Charline (GB), Umgiyo (AUS), Mshawish (USA), Earnshaw (USA), Limario (GB), The Grey Gatsby (IRE), Trade Storm (GB), Cladocera (GER), Farraaj (IRE), Solow (GB).
DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC PREVIEW (20:15 – Prize: USD 6,000,000)
Sheikhzayedroad (GB), Dolniya (FR), True Story (GB), Flintshire (GB), Max Sequence (USA), One and Only (JPN), Design On Rome (IRL), Just the Judge (IRE), Harp Star (JPN).
DUBAI WORLD CUP (21:00 – Prize: USD 10,000,000)
Prince Bishop (IRE), Hokko Tarumae (JPN), African Story (GB), Side Glance (GB), Lea (USA), Candy Boy (USA), Long Rier (USA), Epiphaneia (JPN), California Chrome (USA).
If ever home advantage was going to prove key on Dubai World Cup night it is quite likely this could be the year with trainers based permanently in the UAE well represented.
Leaving Godolphin aside, given they arrive on the track only for the Carnival (at which they have again done very well), the home team looks strong this year and their runners are certainly not just making up the numbers.
Musabah Al Muhairi, who clinched his first local trainers’ championship just last week, saddled a Super Saturday double for Sheikh Hamdan and both his winners at the ‘dress rehearsal’ meeting are back seeking further big race glory.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) March 25, 2015
His main hope would appear to be Tamarkuz, winner of the Group 3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday, and seeking a third consecutive 1,600m dirt victory when facing 15 rivals in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile.
Paul Hanagan rides with Dane O’Neill aboard stable companion Nolohay, also owned by Sheikh Hamdan and a course and distance winner.
Al Muhairi said: “It has been a great season, especially in recent weeks and it is exciting to have good chances on World Cup night. Both of mine are drawn well and should run big races under conditions that suit.”
Frankyfourfingers, winner of the 1,800m middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge for Salem bin Ghadayer, has drawn OK in seven but Surfer (16 – Satish Seemar), Layl (14 – Doug Watson), Forjatt (13 – Dhruba Selvaratnam), Haatheq (11 – Ali Rashid Al Raihe) and Gold City (10 – Seemar) have not fared so well.
Tamarkuz looked great this morning, as did stable companion Nolohay. The Godolphin Mile is such a fascinating race. #DWC15
— Laura King (@LauraKingDXB) March 23, 2015
After 21 races, no horse has won over this 1,600m drawn higher than seven. Shaishee won the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal at Meydan’s second meeting of the season for Al Muhairi and Sheikh Hamdan. O’Neill rides him with Hanagan electing to ride stable companion Muarrab for the same owner. They take their chance in the 1,200m Group 1 Golden Shaheen.
Sheikh Hamdan actually celebrated a treble on Super Saturday (as did Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor) and his Versac PY seeks to add the Kahayla Classic to his victory in the concluding round of the Al Maktoum Challenge on that occasion.
With Layl facing a stiff task from a bad draw, Watson still arguably saddles two of the most interesting local contenders on the card. Cool Cowboy will have his second outing for the trainer in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen, while Candy Boy makes his local debut in the Dubai World Cup itself.
“Both are in great form and working really well,” said Watson. “They both galloped on Monday morning which should have put them spot on for Saturday.
“Cool Cowboy ran a massive race on Super Saturday considering he had only done four serious gallops after missing a month late last year. He has come on a lot from that.
“Candy Boy excites us. We are not sure just how good he is but his American form looks strong. We missed Super Saturday to bring him here fresh and he is in great shape. “We are really looking forward to Saturday.”
With the international media arriving at Meydan in their droves there is, understandably, plenty of heated debate as to the likely destination of Saturday’s $10million (Dh36.7m) Dubai World Cup.
The Japanese contingent seem hopeful their duo of Epiphaneia and Hokko Tarumae will be good enough to provide the country with a second victory in the world’s richest horse race. We local hacks are perhaps hoping Candy Boy can bring Doug Watson’s excellent season to a sweet conclusion.
According to the bookmakers though, America hold all the aces as they seek a 10th win on World Cup night.
PICTURE OF THE DAY: Dubai World Cup favourite California Chrome working under the Meydan lights pic.twitter.com/lTFQeQtlIq
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) March 24, 2015
Heading the market is California Chrome, winner of last year’s Kentucky Derby. His trainer, Art Sherman, is not yet in town but his son and assistant Alan is.
Having watched his charge breeze 800m yesterday morning, he said: “We have to be pleased with that; there is no need to gallop him – if California Chrome is not fit by now we have missed the boat. He has grown and strengthened and really takes the eye now.”
The American press were also taken with their second challenger, Lea, who did a circuit on the dirt track. Strongly fancied for the race last year, before being ruled out by a virus, he delighted Riley Mott, assistant to his father, Bill.
Meanwhile, away from prying eyes just up the road at Al Quoz, Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor is putting the finishing touches to the preparations of last year’s winner African Story and stable companion Prince Bishop.
Seeking a seventh win in the race, we can only take his word when he reports: “Both worked well on Saturday, are in great condition and we are very happy with them.” On balance, maybe the race could be billed as Godolphin vs USA…