Dubai: Even as I write this, I’m sure some body, somewhere is probably laying a bet on the Dubai World Cup. With the odds looking very inviting, this is the right time to put your money where you mouth is and take your pick. Sounds like a lot of fun, provided you have the surplus dough to shell out.
There are a lot of good horses to choose from, although we are yet to know for certain, which of them are actually going to take their place in the starting stalls at Meydan Racecourse in two weeks time.
It’s quite disappointing that the two American heavyweights, Macho Mucho Man and Game On Dude, are not going to be among them. Both had been favoured runners when the entries were released in the second week of February, but then we learnt that their connections had other plans when they squared off in the Santa Anita Handicap at California, last week.
If anyone happed to watch that race on youtube you would admit that it was a real classis with the front-running Game On Dude claiming a piece of racing history by winning the Big Cap for the third time. The seven-year-old gelding appeared in awesome form in the heavily promoted rematch between Macho Mucho Man and Will Take Charge, who had fought out the finish of the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic over the same track in November last year.
This wasn’t the horse that we saw in Dubai two years ago, where he could only beat one other home in a race won by Monterosso. He seems to have matured like fine wine and looks a much better specimen. But sadly, he won’t be coming to Dubai.
Most probably Japan Dirt Cup (G1) scorer Belshazzar, runner-up Hokko Tarumae, Breeders’ Cup Turf sensation Magician, Epsom Derby hero Ruler Of The World, last year’s Dubai World Cup second Red Cadeaux and fourth placed Side Glance.
Impressed? I’m not finished yet. Then there is Hong Kong’s multiple Group 1 winner Military Attack and John Gosden’s brilliant mare, The Fugue, winner of the Irish Champion Stakes and brave runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and Hong Kong Vase.
Throw in Godolphin’s evergreen star Prince Bishop and stable companion African Story, who will attempt to dispel the myth that he’s at best a top miler, having scored his last three victories over the distance.
Long serving UAE trainer relies on Surfer who absolutely loves the Tapeta track but is yet to deliver at the higher level but is as brave as they come.
South African champion Mike De Kock has won almost every major race in Dubai but the big one still eludes his grasp as it may once again as his intender runner, Sanshaawes, has a lot to find in class. He has impressed in handicap company and risen rapidly up the ranks, but like Kassiano last year, he may be caught out by the proven Group 1 performers.
So who will it be? I’m going to go with African Story!