Tag Archives: Dubai World Cup

The Dubai World Cup (Group 1)

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HONG KONG – DECEMBER 08: Douglas Whyte riding Akeed Mofeed winning Race 8, The Longines Hong Kong Cup during Hong Kong International Racing at Sha Tin racecourse on December 8, 2013 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Vince Caligiuri/Getty Images)

Is the end in sight for Tapeta? It looks so. We may have reached the finish line on this particular surface. The failure of the world’s richest race to attract the world’s top performers over the last four years added to some shock results by outsiders looks like putting a nail in the coffin of this particular synthetic. The world’s richest race has not produced the world’s best performances. Indeed compared to Santa Anita’s Big Cap at the beginning of the month this one looks a tame little beast. No Game On Dude, no Mucho Macho Man, no Will Take Charge. The three top 10F horses in America are all dirt.

Of the 16 that contest here only Ron The Greek comes with an American dirt pedigree. He was a winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational last September where he had a comfortable 6 3/4 L over Palace Malice at Belmont Park. He has since transferred to Saudi Arabia where his prep was a pipe opener in a three runner race in Riyadh in February.

From the other side of the world comes Akeed Mofeed. He has come a long way since his Beresford run at the Curragh in September 2011. Then trained by John Oxx he had prior to the run shown a potential that rivalled that of the 2008 winner Sea The Stars. The loss was put down to unsuitable slow ground and as a two year old he wasn’t asked for a further effort. The miserable summer of 2012 left John with no option but to reintroduce him in the Irish Derby where bottomless ground left him 18 L adrift of Camelot. One more run as a three year old in Listed company at Cork yielded a 5 L win and a sale at reputedly $2m out east. Put in the care of Richard Gibson he was specifically purchased for the Hong Kong Derby (run on St Patrick’s Day) a race open to four year olds and up. He duly obliged and followed that up in December winning the Hong Kong Cup thus booking his place in this the world richest race. The potential seen on those Currabeg gallops unlocked.

The other Hong Kong horse is Military Attack. The ex John Hills inmate is now trained by John Moore and in the prep for this at Sha Tin in February he beat Akeed Mofeed 5 1/4 L reversing the form of the December race. That was on top of the wins in the QE11 Cup at home and the Singapore Cup in Kranji last spring. You can see why he is fancied.

And what of the European challenge?

Led by the Derby winner Ruler Of The World who will race in the colours of Al Shaquab after an intriguing deal being struck earlier in the week with the Coolmore outfit. He hasn’t won since Epsom in four visits to the track. A flat Irish Derby and a good Prix Neil was followed by an inconclusive Arc and a staying on third in the Champion Stakes. His class may tell this year.

The very likeable and underrated Red Cadeaux ran a cracker here last year to be second to Animal Kingdom doing the same in the Melbourne Cup again. Mukhadram just got home in the Sky Bet York Stakes from Grandeur before failing in the Champion Stakes while Hillstar hasn’t come out of the pack since beating Battle Of Morengo at Ascot last year going down in the King George, The International and the Champion Stakes also. Side Glance did go down under to bag a G1 in the Mackinnon Stakes on Melbourne Cup day but couldn’t repeat in Hong Kong and hardly inspired confidence when running on at the same pace in R3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on super Saturday three weeks ago.

Prince Bishop won that 1 1/4 L from Sanshaawes in a smooth if not brilliant performance having previously beaten the more fancied African Story in R2 of the Challenge.

Of the Japanese pair Belshazzar looks to have the edge over Hokko Tarumae based on Japan Cup Dirt where the former beat the latter who was favourite.

All in all the Hong Kong form looks to be the benchmark here.

Untested on Tapeta as many here are Akeed Mofeed does look to have benefitted from a good draw in stall 4. When he comes with a turn of foot and some raw acceleration I’m sure John Oxx will look on saying he saw that early one morning on those Curragh gallops.

Recommendation : Akeed Mofeed 10/1 win




The Dubai World Cup (Group 1)

Plenty to capture our attention on the worlds richest days racing.

The Dubai World Cup will round off proceedings with a cool $10 million up for grabs. A look at the ante post market tells you just how open this is with the shortest price being 9/2 and the the longest being 20/1 . There’s no stand out horse, pity Game On Dude isn’t back after his awesome performance in the Big Cap at Santa Anita on March 9th. Then we’d have a proper favourite.

The outsiders in the field are Red Cadeaux and Treasure Beach. The former looked to have lost his way in 2012 albeit in top races including the Coronation  Cup, Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup before coming good when winning the Hong Kong Vase in December.

Treasure Beach an Epsom Derby second and Irish Derby winner when in the hands of Aidan O’Brien also lost his way and has transferred  to Mike de Kock. He ran a steady pleasing run on his debut here for his new trainer wh

Dubai World Cup

Dubai World Cup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

en beaten 4 1/2 l by Hunters Light on Super Saturday in R3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Particularly pleasing was the way he ran on after the line suggesting his form is on the way back and he liked the Tapeta experience. He’s a very live outsider and could well place off an inside draw and a positive ride.

The European team is completed by Plantuer, Meandre and Side Glance. Planteur and Meandre both changed hands during the week for probably shed loads. Planteur won the Lingfield Winter Derby Trial as a prep beating nothing but in a record time winning from the front as he liked. His third here last year definitely gives him a chance after the Lingfiled confidence booster. Andre Farbe’s Meandre  could only manage fourth in his prep on the Chantilly polytrack leaving you relying on the genius of the trainer to see him win this. The Qatar financed Pearl Bloodstock run Side Glance and will have been encouraged by the flourish he showed when running fourth behind Sajjhaa in the Jebel Hatta however a first try on Tapeta is certainly a question mark.

The top of the market is Hunters Light the winner of both R2 and R3 of the Challenge. Both were won in similar circumstances with the Godolphin horse shaping handily running clear to the line without any fuss. He’s discovered maturity and confidence but has yet to do it in a top class test.

The local challenge is supported by the incumbent Monterosso, Capponi, African Story and Kassiano. Monterosso will have needed the run he got in R3 but he will need to come on a ton to win this again. We haven’t seen Capponi since coming second last year so it will be a stunning training feat to pull this off while Kassiano’s form operated at a level suggesting this step up will be too far. African Story is possibly the most interesting of the home challenge. He’s 4/5 on the Meyden Tapeta and would be 5/5 had luck  played it’s part. He overcame an absence of 307 days to win the Burj Nahaar here on Super Saturday having won the same race the year before. The big concern is the trip. He’s never been beyond a mile in fourteen starts over three years racing. Maybe with maturity he’ll see out the 1o f here but….

The three Americans bring some hard nosed form. There headed by the Bill Mott trained Royal Delta a Dirt horse through and through. She’s a top class mare on her home surface winning a Breeders Cup Ladies Classic this last twice. Her prep in the Sabin Stakes shows she’s as good as ever however the obvious concern is her run here last year on the Tapeta where she trailed in ninth to Monterosso albeit having been seriously hampered by a back peddling Transend.

Dullahan hasn’t won since August when he bagged the TVG Pacific Classic on the polytrack at Del mar from Game On Dude. He’s tried twice on turf since in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont and in the Breeders Cup Turf at Santa Anita where he finished down the field a length in front of Treasure Beach.

Animal Kingdom is a class act. A winner of the Kentucky Derby and second in the Preakness in 2011 he displayed he retains his class when second in the Breeders Cup Mile to Wise Dan and second to Point Of Entry in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Good form on Turf both times. Can he handle the Tapeta?

When you look at it you can see why it’s priced tight by the bookmakers. No standout, nearly all in with a chance.  Do you rely on track form, those proven on the surface or look at the class of the others even if they’ve previously failed here before?

Planteur should ensure a descent pace leaving it to the speedsters to overhaul him. Hunters Light might be short of gears when push comes to shove and if you go local and proven on the track then African Story might write the final chapter.

If it’s hard nose your after then the stars and stripes brigade are where you look. All three could win it. Royal Delta sitting off Planteur might get away in the last 2 f and see it out. Dullahan in the hands of Gary Stephens could show the defeat of Game On Dude was no fluke and the plan since has always been about this. Animal Kingdom’s turn of foot could be the deciding factor. Boxed in he didn’t get out in time in the Breeders Cup Mile. When he eventually saw daylight he flew. Drawn wide here is usually bad news but it might just work out to come late.

In the end the desert may be the Animal Kingdom.

Recommendation : Animal Kingdom 11/2 win

Treasure Beach 20/1 e/w

Reverse F/C on the two

  Times and Races From Meyden Saturday 30th March 2013

GMT Time Status Pattern Race Distance Age Purse
1.10 G2 Godolphin Mile 1600 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
1.45 G3 DRC Gold Cup 3200 Meters (E) Four Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
2.25 G2 UAE Derby 1900 Meters (E) Three Year Olds $ 2,000,000
3.05 G1 Al Quoz Sprint 1000 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 1,000,000
3.45 G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen 1200 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 2,000,000
4.40 G1 Dubai Duty Free 1800 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 5,000,000
5.20 G1 Dubai Sheema Classic 2400 Meters (T) Three Year Olds & Up $ 5,000,000
6.05 G1 Dubai World Cup 2000 Meters (E) Three Year Olds & Up $ 10,000,000


Dubai World Cup Day

Aidan O'Brien leads the European Challenge to The Dubai World Cup. -Photo Tony St Ledger - Pattern Racing

Aidan O'Brien leads the European Challenge at The Dubai World Cup at Meydan..JPG

Seasons end in Dubai and the culmination brings 5 Group 1’s, 2 Group 2’s and a Group 3 with a equal split between tapeta and turf. It’s the largest single day’s prize fund of the year, a cool $27 m.

It’s the only thing that will be cool in the desert as the competition and the temperature will be white hot. Beating the competition is one thing, beating the heat will be another. The heat and the sand hang over the desert making the challenge all the more difficult. The animals have a lot to cope with.

Trainers have adopted different tactics for their horses with some being in Dubai since the carnival started while others choose to come late preferring to deliver fresh when the cash is down.

2.10 Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Etisalat G2 1600 Meters (Tapeta) $ 1,000,000

Expect the first to stay at home. African Story justifies short price favouritism on the back of an easy 4 L win in the Burg Nahaar having been previously been an unlucky loser when not having a clear run in an earlier G3. If there is to be an upset if might come from the Al Fahidi Fort winner, Viscount Nelson whose stamina was stretched last time over a mile and half. He previously suffered from a chronic lack of pace over this distance.

2.45 Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free G3 3200 Meters (Turf) $ 1,000,000

An added addition this year bringing the long distance division into play. The market can’t split the Mahmood Al Zarooni pair of Fox Hunt and Opinion Poll on the basis of the 2 1/2 L that separated them in the warm up here 30 days ago. Opinion Poll gave Fox Hunt a 1lb that time and lacked the recent outing of his stablemate. At Goodwood in the Cup last year it was Opinion Poll who came out on top. The dark won here could be Mikhail Glinka whose last two runs have been impressive over 10 and 12 F.

3.35 UAE Derby Sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group G2 1900 Meters (Tapeta) $ 2,000,000

The three year old’s and the first derby of the year. Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf and Dirt form are represented courtesy of the Aidan O’Brian pair Wrote and Daddy Long Legs. The question for Wrote will be the tapeta while for Daddy Long Legs second last at Churchill Downs doesn’t inspire confidence. An each way opportunity could come via Surfer who might get the run of the race up the inside as opposed to the outside runs he’s had here to date.

4.00 Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored by Emirates NBD G2 1000 Meters (Turf) $ 1,000,000

The most open contest of the day. Unusually Irish sprinters may hold the key. On super Saturday Invisible Ash coming up the rail got the better of Sole Power who came up the middle of the course with Nocturnal Affair back in third. Johnny Murtagh looked to have buckets in hand on Sole Power and if he has something to race with a second G1 after the 2010 Nunthorpe could be on the cards.That day he was a shock 100/1 winner over Starspanglebanner. Hong Kong’s Joy and Fun would have 5 L to find on a line through Starspanglebanner on his 2010 Golden Jubilee run.

4.35 Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored By Gulf News G1 1200 Meters (Tapeta) $ 2,000,000

This one is all about the imports. America, Sinapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Australia as well as Dubai and Bahrain are represented here. Rocket Man has 10lbs over his nearest rivals on official ratings and it could well be Singapore’s day. He has been a model of consistency throughout his career and is well capable of retaining his crown won last year.

5.25 Dubai Duty Free Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free G1 1800 Meters (Turf) $ 5,000,000

The first of the big three. Previs returns to defend but he has yet to display his A game this year. Pace will be crucial here and it’s hard to see where it will come from. Godolphin have given up the ghost on trying to turn Delegator into a sprinter and he stretches beyond a mile for the first time. The in form comes courtesy of Ambitious Dragon on the back of two defeats if Xtension at Sha Tin. It’s a step up for most and in a trappy contest an alternative may be Japan’s Dark Shadow who caught the eye in the Tenno Sho when beaten a half a lenght by Tosen Jordan. A nice prep at Kyoto in February will have brought him on.

6.00 Dubai Sheema Classic Presented by Longines G1 2400 Meters (Turf) $ 5,000,000

The least exposed here is Willie Haggas’s Beaten Up. This will be the 4 year old’s fourth run and it is a considerable step up in class to maintain his 100 % record. He shaped liked a colt who will have much to offer at this level this season but this may just come too soon. The draw won’t be a factor here with 10 runners over the mile and a half and it’s intersting that connections have plumbed for turf rather than tapeta for Cirrus De Aigles. He was second to Zazou on the new Chantilly all weather surface in his recent prep run but that was still quick and an impressive performance. St Nicholas Abbey has regained his confidence with an ultra impressive display at Churchill Downs in the Breeders Cup Turf and if he handles the heat he is the one to beat. Confidence is also an issue for stablemate Treasure Beech who set off as the hair in the Arc. A new partnership with Jamie Spencer in the Hay colours might see him ridden with more restraint which could put him in the mix with the front two.

6.40 Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline G1 2000 Meters (Tapeta) $ 10,000,000

The big one. Confidence is high from Joseph O’Brien about the chances of So You Think. He ran well in the Breeders Cup Classic until flattening out in the last two furlongs. Granted that was the end of a long season but one wonders if the surface was really to his liking. Tapeta may be better than dirt for him but questions remain. Game On Dude won’t have any surface issues but has to come from the carpark draw in stall 14. Chantel Suderland will drop him in and rely on the breaks going her way up the straight. They mightn’t come. Smart Falcon is a dirt horse through and through and out of gate 5 you have got to like his chances however in a race that can produce upsets Zazou looked very decent on the Chantilly polytrack and if he can transfer to the tapeta Peslier could come late to steal it.

A cracking day’s racing. Top class action. Enjoy.

Al Rashidiya Sponsored By Dubai Duty Free (Group 2)

An enthralling contest which will offer an insight into the thinking of trainer Mike De Kock. Musir gave a very impressive display when landing the R 1 of the Maktoum Challenge here two weeks ago on the tapeta surface. He powered home winning easily with the tank gauge still on full. You would have thought the obvious target would have been the big one on World Cup night. Mike has other thoughts for Musir though. His 6 previous runs at Meyden have all been on the artificial but now the trainer wishes to open up turf options, should a Duty Free target emerge then the question of what Mike has for the World Cup is the big intrigue. Musir certainly coped well in Turkey on turf when winning the Topkapi Trophy but this is a step up on this surface and questions marks remain after being well beaten in the Hungerford Stakes last year at Newbury by Excelebration.

There’s no such question marks regarding the surface for Presvis however there is a whole lot of other question marks. Last year he turned up here breaking from the widest gate dropping in detached before coming through the pack to win comfortably by 4 1/2L. That came after a break since the previous Royal Ascot and he followed up by taking the Duty Free. Big money pots were chased after Dubai in Hong Kong and Singapore where things didn’t go his way and he’s had a similar rest as last year. He’s fresh but is he interested? Notoriously difficult to train Luca like the rest of us will have to wait for the last half furlong to know the answer. This horse has a pet hate, jockeys. He has one love Ryan Moore. Guess who’s back in the plate.

Rajsaman is imported from France to join local trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe having left Freddie Head’s stable. There is a line of form through Excelebration when Rajasman finished 2L in arrears in the Moulin . On the book he has 4L on Musir who finished 6L behind Excelebration in the Hungerford but be mindful the Moulin was run on very soft which won’t be the case here. He won the Daniel Wildenstein on good over the Arc weekend and then a trip east for the Hong Kong Mile where he finished well in a muddling race to be 2 1/2L off Able One.

City Style comes off a handicap win not having run since last years carnival where he also won on the tapeta. The year off certainly did him no harm and Mahood Al Zarooni must be pleased with him for the step up in class. Win For Sure was also a handicap winner last year though on turf. It’s a first start since R 3 of the Maktoum Challenge last year where he was 4 1/2L short of Twice Over.

Questions. Musir gave the impression of being top class last time out but will he repeat it on the turf? Rasjaman has him on the book but can he make it count on the track? Will Previs be Previs?

With so many questions it’s best to feel the love. Presvis for Ryan.


Come on Summit Surge (See Banner) in the following handicap.