The Dubai World Cup Carnival see’s the worlds best Jockeys descend on Meydan Racecourse. We preview those who are expected to be in the Winner’s Enclosure throughout the Carnival.
William Buick incurred a ban while riding in Japan last winter and as a result missed the opening weeks of the carnival. He returned on January 31st, and from this point his numbers were incredible. Buick rode 15 winners from 30 rides including four winners on world cup night. The 31-year-old is the number one rider for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby and that yard will often have a handful of runners in any given race. Jockey bookings are highly significant and they are normally a deadly accurate indicator of each horse’s chance. From the day his ban ended, the only winners Buick missed out on were Ispolini in the Nad Al Sheba trophy (Buick rode the favorite which sustained a fatal injury) and Divine Image in the Al Bastakiya (Buick couldn’t do the weight). The best way of analyzing any carnival race is to see what Buick is booked to ride, and go from there.
Nobody in the UAE is riding better that Pat Dobbs at the moment. His judgement of pace on the dirt surface has been a joy to behold this season. The Irishman will have the might of the Doug Watson stable behind him and is nicely positioned to improve on his two winner haul from last year. Midnight Sands has been one of the stars of the regular season winning two handicaps in the fashion of an animal who will soon be plying his trade at a higher level. Dobbs has been effusive in his praise for the 4yo and the pair are likely to have their say at the business end of the season. Drafted should provide Dobbs with a win or two in the big dirt sprints while Kimbear is a strong candidate for stakes races over 1 mile+. There has been a recent influx of new blood at Red Stables meaning Dobbs will have plenty of ammunition on the dirt and the turf.
Christophe Soumillon needs no introduction. The Belgian superstar will ride as first choice jockey to Saeed Bin Suroor. This yard is chock full of well-bred, unexposed handicap types with Dubai Icon and Dubai Legacy springing to mind as ones to keep an eye on. It will be interesting to see what Bin Suroor decides to do with the top class Benbatl and the smart 2yo filly White Moonlight, both horses having built up strong partnerships with Oisin Murphy. One thing is certain; if the horses are good enough, they will lack nothing in the saddle from Soumillon.
Connor Beasley rode five carnival winners last season and will once again have the pick of the exciting Ahmad Bin Harmash team. Walking Thunder and New Trails are destined to perform well in the biggest dirt races while Beasley is likely to be popular with the international trainers. Beasley won on Another Batt for George Scott 12 months ago and this link-up is one that could bear fruit once more as Scott sends another turf handicapper in the shape of Lyndon B. If you see Connor Beasley’s name beside a horse you fancy, don’t hesitate, excellent rider.
Richie Mullen hasn’t had the start to the regular season that he will have been hoping for. His boss Satish Seemar has sent out plenty of winners but Mullen has often opted to ride the wrong ones. Mullen is genuinely lethal on the Meydan dirt surface, his no nonsense style is a perfect match for North America who blitzed his rivals in rounds 1 and 2 of last year’s Al Maktoum challenge. That horse should be very hard to beat in those races again and Mullen will also be dangerous in the nine dirt handicaps. Pop The Hood, George Villliers, Bochart and Lavaspin are all likely to be primed and ready for carnival targets. Mullen, known locally as “The Welsh Wizard” has a good handle on the 3yo division too. Commanding and Barrack Beach have scored impressively in the early weeks of the season and they along with Harpocrates are likely to line up in the UAE 2000 trial on January 9th.