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Dubai Sheema Classic preview

Ah, the turf. Some international competition. Actually, this is no more international than the the DWC and a smaller field to boot, so that turf v dirt rant doesn't stand up here. Decent field to run around for six million bucks...

Setting his sights on the prize is international racing aficionado and racecalling prodigy, Luke Humphreys, @worldracingluke.


Dubai Sheema Classic
G1 12f Turf
Meydan, 2005 local, 1605 BST

1 Earnshaw (40/1): Finished second to Ectot in G1 Criterium International in 2013. Yet to win in this country for trainer and is trying longer trip here. But finds a few that are a couple of lengths better than him. Savaged line in G1 Jebel Hatta last time and should enjoy going further but as I say is not up to G1 level against horses like this.

2 Jack Hobbs (4/1): Only making start no.10 here would you believe. Second in G1 Derby to Golden Horn in June 2015 and then won the I…
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Dubai World Cup preview

Cheltenham's over and it's almost time for the flat season in the northern hemisphere. But first, there's time for the opulence and extravagance of Dubai. World Cup night is something special, but it's a genuine shame that the big pot of cash goes to a race on a surface that America races on and few other nations take seriously. But, they have drawn the world's best horse on that surface and some pretty handy ones to run for the minor prizes.

Casting a fine eye over the field is international racing aficionado and racecalling prodigy, Luke Humphreys, @worldracingluke.


Dubai World Cup
G1 2000m Dirt
Meydan, 2045 local, 1645 BST

1 Apollo Kentucky (66/1): One of the many Japanese raiders and continues to get better. Winner of eight from 19 and is a two times LR winner and also winner of a G3. Finished fifth in the G1 Champions Cup, Japan’s premier dirt race two back, bef…

Blamey Stakes preview

It's almost time for the Flat season in Europe and it's right in the heat of the action on the sunny side of the equator. While it's raining cats, dogs and hamsters in Sydney for the Golden Slipper, it'll be gorgeous weather yet again in the world's most liveable city.

Taking on the Blamey Stakes is astute Australian form analyst, Callum Gogerly, @_gogs10.


Incognitus Blamey Stakes
Group 2, AU$200,000, 1600m
Flemington Saturday, 1505 local, 0405 GMT

Conditions: The state of the Flemington track has been hotly debated over the past two meetings. Clearly, the inside has been the place to be and it hasn’t made for the most attractive racing. To his credit, track manager Mick Goodie has come out and stated that he underestimated the effect of mowing at slightly different lengths. He has said that the track should race more evenly this week, the rail coming out to the 3m mark should certainly aid things. A little rain around on Thursday, but t…

Cheltenham Gold Cup preview

And finally, it's the heavyweight battle of the year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Has it lost anything in the absence of Thistlecrack? Maybe the absolute star quality but what we have now is a proper contest.

Taking on the challenge is sharp cookie and regular contributor, Dave Stephens, @davestevos. You can read more of his work on his blog.


Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup
Grade 1, £575,000, about 3m2.5f
Cheltenham Friday 1530 local, 0230 AEDT

After three tremendous days of action with no shortage of thrills, spills and bellyaches, the big day has finally arrived. The one that every owner, trainer and jockey wants to win is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and this year’s race looks a particularly open renewal.

Ever since Thistlecrack fell by the wayside it has been Native River and Cue Card battling it out for favouritism, but the likes of Sizing John, Djakadam and Outlander won’t go down without a fight. Only one horse priced up at bigger than 8/1 has score…

Ryanair Chase preview

We've survived to day three of the Festival, that's got to be a winner surely? A mixed bag for punters and bookies alike so far. A couple of winners yesterday pulled me back to almost square, but annoying close to big collects. Mind you, I also had Might Bite, so it works both ways!

Thursday is traditionally the stretch day, the extra day they threw in a bit over a decade ago which seems a little weaker than others. One of the features is the oft-maligned Ryanair Chase, partly for being a mid-distance race which dilutes the traditional championship races, and for being sponsored by the Marmite airline, Ryanair.

Taking another swing at a feature race preview is Cian Ryan, @cianryan92.


Ryanair Chase
Grade 1, £250,000, about 2m5f New Course
Cheltenham Thursday 1450 local, 0150 AEDT

The Ryanair Chase gets written off by many racing fans as it doesn’t tend to attract the same quality of horse as the Gold Cup. This year’s renewal is no exception wit…

Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle preview

Late in the day, and after pictures disappear from ITV, it's one of my favourite races of the week, the 4yo handicap hurdle. For fans of racing without obstacles, think of a 2yo or early 3yo handicap - so much intrigue with so many lightly-raced horses and often, a stack of winning chances. And thus, without anyone else stepping up to take this race, I've had a crack at it.


Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Grade 3, £80,000, about 2m1/2f
Cheltenham Wednesday 1650 local, 0350 AEDT

1. Divin Bere - unplaced in eight starts on the flat, but looks a completely different horse over hurdles. A win and two narrow seconds as a 3yo hurdler in France, he came to the Henderson yard via Paul Nicholls (there must be a story there?) and won on his British debut at Huntingdon. The also-rans haven't looked much so far but the runner-up Master Blueyes is one of the leading hopes in the Triumph on Friday, having won twice since, including the G2 Adonis by 11 l…

RSA Novices' Chase preview

The big conundrum of day two - should Might Bite be a raging favourite by way of his domination of the Kauto Star Novices' Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day until tripping at the last fence, or should he be the lay of the day because his jumping can't be trusted? If you can find a bookie with faller insurance, there's got to be an angle to attack this race.

That's my bit of editorial, but taking control for the preview, it's regular contributor, the shrewd Chris Day, @chrisday100.


RSA Novices' Chase
Grade 1, £175,000, about 3m1/2f
Cheltenham Wednesday 1410, 0110 AEDT

The second race on the second day of Cheltenham, the RSA Chase, gives us the first real opportunity to pit the form of this year's leading novice chasers on each side of the Irish Sea against each other.

Favourite is Might Bite from the stable of Nicky Henderson, who had a superb start to the meeting yesterday. His chance here lies on a piece of form where he fa…