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Dubai Duty Free preview

Another preview from the fascinating Dubai World Cup night card from international form analyst David Haddrell, @davidhaddrell, who appears courtesy of "the gentleman's bookmaker" StarSports. Watch out for the Kiwi runner is all I'll say....

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Dubai Duty Free

The Dubai Duty Free is ran over the unusual distance of 1m1f on Meydan’s turf track. It has often been targeted by European trainers and last year saw a runaway winner in Cityscape. This year’s renewal is a strong renewal with lots of different form lines represented. Let’s run through the field….

1. Aesop’s Fables – Ex-Andre Fabre trained colt who won a very weak Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last year. Has had two runs in Meydan, one over C&D when finishing fourth behind The Apache. Has since got beaten a long way on Tapeta and hard to recommend him here when plenty of others have better Dubai form.

2. I’m A Dreamer – British trained Globetrotting filly who had a spell Stateside last year winning a Grade 1 at Arlington. That was a weak fillies and mares affair and whilst she’s a good filly I think this test is a bit tougher than she’s used to, especially first time up.

3. City Style – Ultra consistent Meydan performer who’s never unplaced at Meydan. Third in this race last year and ran two good races in Group races this year. Would be dangerous to rule him out at 16/1.

4. Little Mike – US raider who won the Breeders Cup Turf over 1m4f. Had a prep for this race on the Tapeta over 1m2f, only came 8th but wasn’t disgraced on a new surface. He’d be dangerous to rule out but prices have him about right for me.

5. Sajjhaa – Extremely talented mare who ran in the Oaks on only her second run as a three year old. Has thrived in Meydan this winter winning all three races, the last twice when unfancied against flashier types. Cannot fault her in any way; unbeaten at the track, has won the trial for this race and has Silvestre onboard again. Should be at least joint favourite for me.

6. Igugu – De Kock talking horse who battered everything in sight in South Africa but has been turned over as favourite on two runs out in Dubai, put in her place by Sajjhaa on both occasions. De Kock says she’s shown signs of being in season and not adjusting to Meydan but even so, cannot see how she can possibly turnover the four lengths Sajjhaa has had on her in two runs.

7. Ocean Park – Definitely the most interesting runner in the race. Coming all the way from New Zealand having won the Australian Cox Plate in October. Has since won a New Zealand Group One as a prep for this race and whilst it’s hard to compare his form with the UAE/European runners, it looks strong enough to take a hand in this. Murtagh is an eye catching booking and he is a fascinating runner but I think the market has spotted him and not taken any chances, I am not rushing to take 6/1.

8. Fulbright – Another consistent Godolphin horse who’s not unplaced in three starts at Meydan but was put in his place by Trade Storm and UK form is a fair bit short of the standard in this race. Will give his all but can pass him over.

9. Giofra – French mare who won the Falmouth last year and placed in the Opera and the Hong Kong Cup. On a line through Alcopop, that puts her close to Ocean Park, if not in front of him as rough as that calculation is. She travels well, won first time up last season and will go on the ground. Another female who’s very very hard to find any faults with.

10. The Apache – Mike De Kock trained colt that’s won and placed in his two starts out in Dubai. Beat City Style first time up and then ran second to Sajjhaa last time after hanging left. Find it hard to see why or how he’ll reverse the placings with her in this race though.

11. Mushreq – Won two of his five starts out here, both wins coming on the turf track over 1m and 1m2f. Those wins were incredibly impressive on the clock and would take most renewals of this race. Hanagan will have his work cut out in this stronger field from stall 11 but he is a very strong candidate and I think he’s been underestimated in the betting as he’s not got top class European form and won lesser races in Dubai. Certainly the value in the race.

12. Wigmore Hall – Admirable globetrotter who has run in this race for the last two years without winning. I see no reason why he’ll improve on his fourth and fifth placings in those years, especially when Little Mike took care of him out in Arlington last Summer. One that’s easy to pass over from a wide draw.

13. French Fifteen – Chased Camelot home in the 2000 Guineas last year but gone backwards in three starts since and got beat in a Chantilly polytrack conditions race as a prep for this. Will really have to regain his sparkle to land this, and probably even improve on that given how poor last year’s three year old crop were.

14. Trade Storm – The sexy horse in the race. Progressive handicapper in the UK who showed what he was really made of over C&D in a handicap on Valentines Day before winning a Group 2 easily from Musir earlier this month. He can be dropped in so his wide draw isn’t a concern and he’s been backing his visually impressive performances up on the clock but he lacks the group form of some of these and he’s far too short for me at 4/1 in as field this strong.

A fascinating renewal of this race with three very strong candidates with Meydan form alone in Trade Storm, Sajjhaa and Mushreq who really are hard to fault but given Trade Storm is half the price of the other two and has the wider draw and less Group race form, he’s just no value at all. Ocean Park and Giofra have very strong claims too; I feel the Kiwi has been spotted as a potential fly in the ointment by the bookies though and 6/1 is certainly no gift in my opinion. That leaves Sajjhaa, Mushreq and Giofra and I find it very hard to split them; if the race was ran at Longchamp, I’d say Giofra but I feel I have to side with the local pairing here as they have done nothing wrong at the track and look top class. Mushreq has a smidgen more value in him at the price but I couldn’t let Sajjhaa go unbacked at 8s either so I’ll be backing the both of them.

Advice: Sajjhaa EW at 8/1 and Mushreq EW at 10/1

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