Five horses to back at the Dubai World Cup
Harry Preston | March 25, 2016
Meydan is home to the hugely prestigious Dubai World Cup meeting that is arguably the most global horse racing event on the calendar.
Elite Arab thoroughbred horses, plus those from France, Ireland, the UK, other parts of Europe and even America all compete in prestigious contests on the flat.
What better way to follow up All Weather Finals day and precede the Fairyhouse Easter Festival, which includes the Irish Grand National, than by having a bet or two on the world’s elite flying out the stalls in the United Arab Emirates?
Coral’s tipsters have picked out five fantastic flutters you may want to get your money at Meydan…
Godolphin Mile – Sloane Avenue
Jeremy Noseda’s talented miler can go one better in this race after overcoming a wide draw last year to only be beaten by a short head.
After a promising start to his career, the five-year-old seemed to be going off the boil before returning to the artificial surface to claim a hot listed race at Kempton.
Last year’s second in this came off the back of a four month lay-off; however, Noseda decided to blow away the cobwebs in February and, despite being beaten, that run will have Sloane Avenue primed for this. He has also been favourably drawn in seven and with a quick gallop he looks like the one to beat.
Al Quoz Sprint – Peniaphobia e/w
After finishing runner-up in this race last year, the unexposed sprinter looks to have the measure of 2015 champion Sole Power, having beaten him back in December in the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint.
This is very impressive form from the ex-Richard Fahey inmate especially as he had to overcome the widest draw last time.
Coming out of stall five and with top pilot Joao Moriera on board it is hard to see Peniaphobia not being involved in the finish here.
Dubai Turf Mile – Intilaaq
There are 15 entries in this Group 1 and it will require luck in running as well as sufficient class to land this.
Roger Varian’s colt followed up Listed success at Newbury by landing The Rose of Lancaster Group 3 at Haydock in impressive fashion. This will be the first time that Intilaaq has been tried over nine furlongs, which could turn out to be his optimum trip having won over mile on debut before proving more effective over 10 furlongs.
In a race which Solow won last year, this edition of the Dubai Turf Mile looks as if it is lacking that kind of quality. However, Intilaaq certainly possesses more than most of his rivals and could have improved further after a seven-month lay-off.
Dubai Sheema Classic – Highland Reel
The formidable duo of Ryan Moore and Aidan O’Brien team up to saddle this highly regarded middle distance colt.
This is a horse which has excelled outside the UK, winning the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington by a wide margin before running a very respectable third in the Cox Plate Down Under.
Most recently, Highland Reel powered home late to beat the classy Flintshire and the re-opposing Dariyan in what looks to be some of the best form on offer.
Jockey Moore is very confident of his mount’s chances and there is no doubt that O’Brien will have this four-year-old in top condition.
Dubai World Cup – Special Fighter e/w
The evening’s showpiece sees the clash of two American heavyweights in the form of Frosted (5/2) and California Chrome (6/4), and they both deserve their place at the top of the market. However, both are drawn wide and will be looking to come from off the pace on a track that is running very quick at the moment.
Special Fighter looks to have the best chance if the race is run in this fashion, as Musabah Al Muhairi’s charge destroyed a strong field in the Al Maktoum challenge here earlier this month.
Experienced American jockey Fernando Jara keeps the ride after accumulating a 50 per cent strike rate on the improving five-year-old.
Despite this being his biggest challenge yet, if Special Fighter is ridden in a similarly prominent fashion that saw him land the Al Maktoum, then he should pose the biggest threat to the principles.