Dubai World Cup Night 2019 – Race By Race Preview

Dubai world Cup Night is upon us and it looks like it’s going to be an absolute cracker with runners from nearly every corner of the racing world. We are possibly missing one superstar performer but let’s hope we’ll see a performance that disproves this.

We’ve taken a look at each race and gone through all the form on offer and come up with a couple of bankers and some juicy each way selections.

Godolphin Mile

Group 2
For 4-year-olds and upwards
Distance: 7f 210y
Last years winner Heavy Metal

Muntazah looks set to go off a hot favourite for the carnival curtain raiser and get Dubai regular Doug Watson who’s won two of the last three runnings off to a flying start. He was a decent sort when trained by Owen Burrows in England and after a dismal display on seasonal debut, he’s looked like a different horse with wide distance victories most recently over course and distance.

Last year’s winner Heavy Metal tries to retain his crown having proved two lengths too good for the aforementioned Muntazah. He’s been slightly disappointing thus far this year finishing well behind his old advisory on his last two starts. There were some excuses for those runs but he needs to recapture last seasons form to feature.

The American trained Coal Front represents the Todd Pletcher yard and has exclusively run on dirt in his native country. He’s won four times at graded level including his last two runs and seems to be on an upward curve.

Of the remainder Kimbear and the lightly raced American raider, True Timber are of interest.

Selection: Coal Front

Dubai Gold Cup

Group 2
For 4-year-olds and upwards
Distance: 1m 7f200y
Cross Counter

Charlie Appleby seems to hold the key to this race with his Godolphin owned pair Cross Counter and Ispolini. Of the pair, William Buick has been booked to ride Cross Counter and on paper, he would appear to hold stronger claims. He won the Gordon Stakes and was placed in the Great Voltigeur before landing the Melbourne Cup in Australia at his first attempt at the two-mile trip.

A reproduction of that run would suffice here although stablemate Ispolini will be no pushover. He’s got match fitness on his side having won his last two starts at Meydan by a combined twelve lengths. The step up in trip looks likely to bring further improvement and it’s hard to look past these two.

The only horse that may trouble the Godolphin pair is French raider Call The Wind for maestro trainer Freddy Head. He showed marked improvement to win the Group 1 Pix Du Cadran at Longchamp in October and had a very promising prep run at Chantilly earlier this month.

Selection: Cross Counter

Al Quoz Sprint

Group 1
For 4-year-olds and upwards
Distance: 5f212y
Stormy Liberal

It’s a funny thing to say about a Group 1 on one of the biggest race days in the years but this looks to be a one-horse race. If the real Blue Point turns up then I just can’t see him getting beaten. He was slightly disappointing towards the end of last season but has looked imperious on both starts at Meydan thus far this year and is the one they all have to beat.

Sands Of Mali looks most likely to follow Blue Point having ended last season on a high in the Champions Sprint on Champions Day at Ascot. He’d had a fine season up to that point, contesting some of the top races all season and if he can pick up where he left off then a big run is on the cards. It’s also quite promising that he won his seasonal debut last year.

The American team is headed by Stormy Liberal who arguably has some of the best form in the book having won last years Breeders’ Cup Sprint Turf at Churchill Downs. He came up just short in this race last season behind Jungle Cat. He must have a great each way chance.

Selection: Stormy Liberal – E/W

UAE Derby

Group 2
For 3-year-olds
Distance: 1m1f98y
Van Beethoven

This race has been used as one of the main prep races for the Kentucky Derby with last years winner Mendelssohn setting a course record but running disappointingly in the Derby afterwards.

Aidan O’Brien, who has won three of the last seven renewals is solely represented this time around by Van Beethoven who in truth, looks pretty exposed. He was staying on nicely over a mile at Dundalk on seasonal debut and the step up in trip will suit but it’s hard to see him being good enough.

It’s another Godolphin horse Divine Image that tops the market in a race they took two seasons ago with Thunder Snow. The lightly raced daughter of Scat Daddy has won three of her four starts and is unbeaten over the course and distance, which entitles her to have the favourites tag. It’s hard to tell how good she really is though on what we know she’s the one to beat.

Frankie partners Walking Thunder in this and although he looked good on his first three starts he was bitterly disappointing most recently and I’d be looking elsewhere.

Janbath runs for Willian Haggas who has yet to win this race. It’s hard to know how much he beat in England but he’s won all four starts on the all-weather and he could be the surprise package in the race.

Selection: Janbath

Golden Shaheen

Group 1
For 2-year-old upwards
Distance: 5f212y
Drafted training when owned by Godolphin

X Y Jet was beaten a whisker by Mind Your Biscuits last season and holds the strongest form on offer in this race. The American speedster also filled the runner-up position back in 2016 and will be hoping it’s third time lucky. It looked like he needed his reappearance run and then showed much more spark when winning at Gulfstream Park. All of the above give him strong claims and he’s likely to jump off the favourite.  

Most Europeans will remember Drafted as the talking horse of the 2016 Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot where he ultimately disappointed. He’s 5-9 since making the switch to Meydan and has looked good when winning his last two starts. I think he’s a top quality Group 3 horse but may struggle in this better company.

David Marnane has a great record with his runner at Meydan and he bids for a first Irish victory with the ex-Argentine runner Tato Key. He was 12-14 in his native Argentina and has run with great credit on both starts for new connections by filling the placings behind Drafted twice. I think he’s got more to give and will have been undoubtedly aimed at this.

The dual Group 1 winning Imperial Hint will be having his first taste of racing in Dubai and although he’s got some very smart form in the book, I think there are better quality horses in the field.

Selection: Tato Key – E/W

Dubai Turf

Group 1
For 4-year-olds and upwards
Distance: 1m209y
Without Parole

Japanese raider Almond Eye looks the standout performer here having won his last four starts at Group 1 level including in the Japan Cup. Christophe Lemaire retains the partnership here and if the lack of a prep run doesn’t hinder him,then he must go close.

Dream Castle looks set to prove the strongest oppisiton following three victories this season in Group 3, Group 2 and most recetnly Group 1 company. All of these victories have come since he’s been gelded and if he continues to progress the four-timer is very much on the cards.

Of the outsiders I don’t think Without Parole should be underestimated. John Gosden’s charge looked very good when winning the St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot last season. Although the remainder of the season didn’t quite go to plan he showed his class to run well in the Prix du Moulin on his final run of the season. This intermediate trip looks sure to suit and he could run into a place at a nice price.

Others to consider include Wootton, the Aidan O’Brien trained I Can Fly and Lord Glitters.

Selection: Without Parole – E/W

Dubai Sheema Classic

Group 1
For 4-year-olds and upwards
Distance: 1m3f216y
Old Persian

This whole night could just be a Godolphin bonanza as they seem to have a leading fancy in nearly every race and the Sheema Classic is no different with Old Persian heading the market. Charlie Appleby has won three Group Two contest with this son of Dubawi including the Great Voltigeur and most recently over course and distance. He has been unsuccessful in two attempts at Group 1 company but both those runs were in Classics and he looks to have found a good opportunity here.

Two-time Group 1 Japanese runner Rey De Oro shouldn’t be underestimated here. He was sent off joint favourite to take this contest twelve months ago but had to settle for fourth behind Hawkbill. His Form figures read “112” since that run and there’s no reason he won’t be bang there at the business end.

Magic Wand is a personal favourite of mine and although she doesn’t win that often, she’s got a great attitude and appetite for the game having danced every dance last season. She didn’t really have her ground for the Epsom Oaks but she showcased her ability when taking the Ribblesdale. A Group 1 victory has thus far eluded her and although Iv’e no doubt she win one this season it may not be now.

Selection: Old Persian

Dubai World Cup

Group 1
For 4-year-olds and upwards
Distance: 1m1f207y
Thunder Snow

The whole night comes to a crescendo with the Dubai World Cup which has given us some great racing spectacles down through the years, some of which can be read about here

Thunder Snow was sent off a slightly unconsidered 8/1 shot twelve months ago but he took it up early and never rally saw another rival to win easily. He has failed to add to his tally since then in Europe, America and back at Meydan most recently where he ran poorly to finish second behind Capezzano. He definitley needed that run and will improve from it but he needs to if he wants to retain his crown.

The North America story is very interesting as following six unsuccessful starts for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin, he left the operation as a 76 rated horse. Following a break, Satish Seemar debuted North America in a Meydan maiden where he routed his rivals. Fast forward seven runs and he wins a Group 1 beating Thunder Snow. He’s looked impressive in a brace of Group Two’s this year and looks the one to beat.

The aforementioned Capezzano is another Godolphin cast-off who won a brace of handicaps impressively at the beginning of the year and then took the marked step up in class in his stride by streaking away from Thunder Snow when last seen in action. That probably wasn’t the strongest of Group 1’s but he’s on an upward curve and could sneak into the places.

The Americans have taken two of the last three running’s and their chief representative this year is Seeking The Soul who comes into this off the back of a runner-up finish in the Pegasus World Cup. I have a feeling that this run slightly flattered him and although there’s no doubt he’s a quality animal, I think hell struggle to feature here.

Others to note include Audible, Yoshida and Gronkowski.

Selection: North America


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