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Dubai World Cup: Trend guide and key pointers

Nick Murphy | 20 March 2020

What are the key trends ahead of the Dubai World Cup at Meydan?

The Dubai World Cup. It’s a race like no other. With a purse of $12m, including over $5m for the winner, the 1m 2f test attracts horses and trainers from all over the world. 

Thunder Snow has taken the last two editions for Saeed bin Suroor. But with the dual-champion now retired, there’ll be a new name on the Meydan crown in 2020.

We’ve taken a look at some of the key trends and pointers ahead of the race on Saturday 28th March, which looks set to go ahead behind closed doors.

10/10 had won a Group 1 or Group 2

You need to have class to win the Dubai World Cup. That goes without saying. But it’s that top echelon of horse we’re looking for to be able to trot away with the biggest cheque of all.

Three of this year’s prospective field can arguably be discounted straight away, then. Chuwa Wizard, Gronkowski, Master Fencer have all failed to win in Group 1 or Group 2 company.

8/10 were trained in the USA or UAE

The Dubai World Cup attracts horses and trainers from all over the world. It’s one of the most prestigious prizes in the sport. So why wouldn’t it?

Yet it’s the USA and UAE-trained horses which tend to dominate. Victoire Pisa (Japan, 2011) and Gloria de Campeao (France, 2010), are the only exceptions to the rule.

It’s a significant statistic given that Japan usually head to Meydan with a strong hand. Break it down further and we find that five of the last eight winners have been UAE-trained.

7/10 didn’t win last time out

We know that a recent prep-run is important ahead of the race. However, finishing in the winners’ enclosure on that run isn’t as crucial as you might think.

Thunder Snow, who won the Dubai World Cup in both 2018 and 2019, is testament to that. The Godolphin star finished second in the run immediately prior to his success both times.

7/10 had won at Meydan before

People say familiarity breeds contempt. Not when it comes to this race. Seven of the last 10 winners had raced at Meydan before, which suggests course knowledge is useful.

Of those currently set to line up, only Benbatl (six), Gronkowski (four) and Mattherhorn (two) have raced at Meydan before. Curiously, all three of those are formerly British-trained too.

7/10 were four or five-year-olds

Younger horses have a much better strike rate in the Dubai World Cup. Four and five year-olds account for each of the last four winners and seven of the last 10.

Only one eight-year-old has ever won the race, Prince Bishop in 2015, while seven-year-olds only boast a marginally better record with two wins from 24 editions of the contest.

5/10 went off at 10/1 or bigger

Those near the head of the market have fared pretty well in recent years. The last four winners have gone off at short enough prices of 8/1, 4/1, 1/3 and 15/8.

However, Thunder Snow, Arrogate and California Chrome were all either star horses or had an affinity with the track. None of this year’s contingent can truly boast similar quality.

That could mean another big price winner, like Prince Bishop at 14/1 in 2015. With five of the last 10 winners going in at an SP of 10/1, it’s not something we’re ruling out.

4/10 had a low-medium draw

The draw is all-important in a race like this. History shows you don’t want a horse too close to the running rail, with the outer stalls fairing best over the last decade.

Thunder Snow (x2), Arrogate and California Chrome, each of the last four winners, were drawn in 11, 10, 9 and 11 respectively. Only four contenders have won from stall six or lower.

View the latest Dubai World Cup odds.

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication