The 2019 Dubai World Cup (Saturday 30 March) is the richest race meeting ever. It features five group one races and four group 2 races, with the winner of the Dubai World Cup winning 20,917,405AED, which is over £4 Million.
Godolphin Mile (12.15)
Muntazah was beaten into second by Heavy Metal in the 2018 Godolphin Mile but has appeared to be a massive improver on his last two starts. He slammed Heavy Metal and Secret Ambition on both occasions and was an easy 10-lengths winner last time out. Heavy Metal did miss the break that day, so could get closer, but a first-time visor for Secret Ambition would have to have a massively positive effect for him to reverse the form.
Muntazah does face a potentially interesting new danger in Coal Front, and the American raider is rated his equal on official ratings. However, Muntazah could still have more to come and is fancied to win this Group 2 prize.
Dubai Gold Cup (12.50)
Vazirabad has won this for France for the last three years, but this year’s French raider Call The Wind has no course experience and will find this race very different from slowly-run staying races at Longchamp.
The Godolphin operation won the first two editions of this race and their two representatives this year are more interesting. Cross Counter looks the first-string with stable jockey William Buick in the saddle, and the Melbourne Cup winner gets 6lb from all his rivals aged older than four.
That’s also the case with the other Godolphin runner Ispolini who, unlike Cross Counter, has been thriving out in Meydan, improving to win each of his last two runs over 14 furlongs. Considered good enough to contest last season’s Chester Vase, he could be the pick as he could find further improvement stepping up to two miles.
Al Quoz Sprint (1.30)
Blue Point has the best sprint form and, if he returns to the form of his win in the King’s Stand Stakes at Ascot last year, he’ll win this. However, he didn’t run up to expectations in either the July Cup or the Nunthorpe after that. He’s two from two at Meydan this season over course and distance but those wins came in easier races and, as he’s odds-on, it could be worth trying to take him on with an each-way selection.
The one to take him on with could be Sands Of Mali who, like Blue Point, produced his best form at Ascot last season, so there’s no reason why he won’t also take to Meydan on his first visit. He’s also not the most consistent horse but has always looked the type to make up into a potentially powerful four-year-old. On a line through Harry Angel, who he beat in the Champions Sprint at Ascot, he also has every chance of beating Blue Point, who he’s rated just 1lb inferior to but is about 12 times the price of.
Dubai Golden Shaheen (Meydan 2.40)
This dirt sprint is again the target for Roy H, who started odds-on for last year’s edition but could only finish third. He’s once again a short-priced favourite after notching up three consecutive wins, but it’s worth remembering he also came here on a four-timer last year, when the handicapper officially rated him 5lb higher.
That’s why it could be worth taking the favourite on with X Y jet, who was beaten just a neck in 2017 and a head last year. This bold front-runner will need to hit the gates running but, having finished in front of Roy H last year, he looks the value-bet.
Dubai Turf (3.20)
A fascinating renewal of the Dubai Turf over nine furlongs, with Dream Castle looking for a four-timer after mopping up the trials. However, his form probably isn’t as strong as it looks, and he faces a potential star performer in the shape of Almond Eye, a once-raced Japanese-trained horse who has been given a rating of 124.
Despite that, it could be worth taking a chance on Lord Glitters. He normally runs very well fresh and he possesses a turn-of-foot that could be seen to great effect in the latter stages if the front-runners go off too hard.
Dubai Sheema Classic (4.00)
Old Persian didn’t seem to stay in last year’s St Leger and a truly run race over 12 furlongs is probably his ideal conditions. He also won his prep race, despite traffic problems, and William Buick is expected to change tactics here. It’s easy to see Buick popping him out in a handy position, just as he did with Hawkbill last year, and Old Persian sticking his neck out all the way to the line.
He does have 10lb to find on official ratings with Rey De Oro, but the Japanese raider didn’t impress in last year’s renewal, when he hung in behind the leaders most of the way up the straight.
Dubai World Cup (4.40)
Last year’s Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow will have had this race as his aim since last year’s success but, whilst he should improve for his prep race, it was difficult not to be impressed by the horse that beat him Capezzano.
The Ghadayer-trained five-year-old looked nothing out of the ordinary until two starts ago, when he won a handicap by 14 lengths under Mikael Barzalona after a change to front-running tactics. That was considered a fluke performance by many but, after using up plenty of energy to get to the front from a wide-draw last time, he simply ground his rivals into the ground, with Thunder Snow 9½ lengths back in second.