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Dubai World Cup preview

The blockbuster card at Dubai concludes with the big shebang, the $10m Dubai World Cup. With the return to the dirt surface last year, organisers have got their wish - a star-studded batch of American horses, joined by a bunch of other internationals, few of whom have ever run on the surface.

Taking up the challenge is Calum Law, representing @EIBloodstock.

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Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline
Group 1, US$10,000,000
Dirt, 2000m
2100 local, 1700 GMT, 0400 AEDT


California Chrome- 2014 KY Derby and Preakness hero who was second behind surprise winner Prince Bishop in this contest last year. He has had a different preparation this time around and has been given time to acclimatise to Dubai, taking in a prep race in the process when giving 7kgs and a beating to a field of local handicappers four weeks ago. That is a big positive for his chances here and he is an obvious chance.

Candy Boy- Sixth placer in the 2014 Breeders Cup Classic before being transferred to Doug Watson for whom he ran a decent fourth in last year's edition of this race. He hasn't been seen since, but his trainer can do no wrong on this surface here and he could show some cheek at odds. Still a stretch to see him finishing top of the pile in this company mind.

Frosted- Durable son of Tapit who danced almost every dance in his 3yo campaign last season. Winning the Wood Memorial and Penn Derby and finishing in the frame in the Belmont and the Travers. Was visually stunning on his local debut in the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge and has been a hot tip for this race ever since. Comes here relatively fresh and possible he is a stronger horse this year. Ticks a lot of boxes and a powerful presence in this field.

Gun Pit- Champion dirt horse in Hong Kong where he is 7/7 on the Sha Tin sand but well beaten in a recent foray to Japan and seemingly had no excuses when second behind Special Fighter in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Needs a big leap forward and one of the roughies of the field.

Hokko Tarumae- Prolific winner on the dirt in Japan who makes his third assault on this race today. Blazed a trail before fading, when only fifth last year and no reason to think he has improved since. Looks up against it.

Hoppertunity- Grade One winner in the US but a step behind the very best in his homeland. Has never finished outside the top four in 18 trips to the track but his last time out victory in the G2 San Antonio Stakes, when ridden by the excellent Flavien Prat for the 1st time, was his first visit to the winners circle in ten. Consistent sort and could run into the money but he will need a career best if he is to take the $10 million prize.

Keen Ice- Inconsistent but extremely capable son of former DWC winner Curlin. Only 2/15 lifetime but has a victory over American Pharoah on his slate and carries a rating of 120 into this race. Was beyond poor in his trial, but was fanned out wide throughout and didn't come home too badly in the circumstances. Connections decided to press straight on after that effort and Ryan Moore retains the ride. If putting his best foot forward he is in this and his penultimate run in the Donn was perfect for the demands of this race. It takes a leap of faith to forgive his trial run, but at mammoth odds he is worth chancing in a race where the form book often goes out of the window.

Mshawish- A former winner of the Zabeel Mile here and a horse who has delivered G1 victories on Turf and Dirt in the US. This will be his third try on World Cup night having already finished third and fourth in the last two editions of the Dubai Turf. Connections have resisted the temptation to point that way again after Solow was ruled out and that brave decision would appear unlikely to pay off with victory here.

Mubtaahij- UAE Derby winner on this day last year but doesn't appear to be the same horse this time around. It is possible that his US Triple Crown excursions have taken something from him and he needs to bounce back from two below par runs this campaign. If able to rebound back to his classic form he would be right in this, but it takes a leap of faith and not hard to look elsewhere.

Special Fighter- Former Mark Johnston inmate whose last run in the UK resulted in a last-place finish off of 87 in a Ffos Las handicap. Has improved beyond recognition since then and his shrewd trainer has had an incredibly high opinion of him all season. Was stuffed by Frosted in Round Two of the Al Maktoum Challenge but rebounded with an easy victory in the G1 Round Three. He got loose on the lead that day and if his DWC winning jockey can repeat the tactics here then he might be tough to peg back.

Teletext- Former Pascal Bary-trained beast who placed in the Grand Prix De Paris and Prix Niel as a 3yo when campaigned in France. Didn't turn up in the Arc and instead was next seen in a Meydan handicap last year, when finishing down the field behind Songcraft. Two placed efforts in France preceded his switch to Saudi Arabia where he is 3/4 and took out a local G1 on his last start. He remains lightly raced for his age and remains unexposed as a dirt project. Looks capable of outrunning his market position and should not be underestimated.

Vadamos- G2 winner in Germany last summer but put in his place behind Fascinating Rock in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. Resumed with a decent second behind Solow, but doesn't look up to this class and makes his first dirt start here. I am loathe to put a line through any Andre Fabre horse but I am willing to do so here with some confidence. Massive outsider.

Verdict- Frosted and California Chrome bring the best credentials into the race and with both having impressed in their respective trials have obvious claims. However this race has proved somewhat of a graveyard for the fancied horses in the past and I am willing to chance Keen Ice, despite him running stones below his best form in his prep for this. He is only 1lb inferior to California Chrome on official ratings and his penultimate run in the Donn was full of merit for this challenge. With Ryan Moore aboard he rates as a sporting wager to upset the apple cart here. Teletext was a classy 3yo when trained in Europe and shouldn't be underestimated for his new connections and he appeals as another who is overpriced.

1 Keen Ice
2 Frosted
3 Teletext

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