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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, before working hard but too good for them in the G1 Tokyo Daishoten at Ohi over 2000m. First-up since that career-best run here but if he runs the way he did last time will be in finish somewhere without doubt.

2 Long River (66/1): Winner of the trial race for this last time when scoring in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 over C&D. Before that finished distanced in the G2 R2 and finished second in the G2 R1 over 1600m. Only chance is if he has an easy lead and even if that occurs it’s a very slim chance. With all respect to him he won an amazingly weak G1 last time, only G1 horse in field was Lani who isn’t racing at his best, and this is a huge ask.

3 Gold Dream (66/1): Dogged winner of G1 February Stakes last time out at Tokyo over 1600m. Only run over this distance was a third in a LR race last year at Ohi and whilst he was a top winner of the G1 last time, I have struggled to see signs of him running out the 10f trip. Joao Moreira takes the ride.

4 Lani (100/1): Terrific winner of G2 Derby on this night last year. Finished ninth, fifth and third in the three legs of America’s Triple Crown running very respectfully in all of them. However maybe the overseas trips from last year gutted him as he has been awful since and last time in the trial race just couldn’t go with them. If back to his best can figure but on current form probably shouldn’t be running.

5 Gun Runner (9/1): Good quality horse. Last year finished third in the G1 Kentucky Derby, fifth in G1 Haskell, third in G1 Travers, second in G2 Pennsylvania Derby, 2nd in G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and got his day in the sun with victory in the G1 Clark Handicap at the end of the year. Was impressive first-up when winning G3 Razorback Handicap by 5.75 lengths at Oaklawn Park. Will win most G1s he runs in and is one of the hardest to beat in this however there is a horse in it that beat him by 15 lengths at Saratoga in the Travers…

6 Move Up (66/1): Good horse. One of the better runners in the field however is better on Turf. All runs have been on Turf bar last time. Last year won G2 International Bosphorus Cup feature in Turkey and G3 Cumberland Lodge at Ascot 12f. Beat nice horses on those occasions. Certainly better horses than the ones that beat him in the trial race last time and couldn’t get to those. Should be in Sheema Classic. Nice horse but not under conditions.

7 Awardee (66/1): Good horse that won a JPN G3 by 30 lengths a year ago. G1 winner in November and in G1 Champions Cup was caught in the final few strides. Had every chance in the G1 Tokyo Daishoten behind Apollo Kentucky but kept kicking. Yutaka Take takes the ride on a horse that will finish first half of the field without doubt.

8 Furia Cruzada (100/1): Joined John Gosden’s yard last year and is a G1 winner in Chile. Was able to finish 2nd in G2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes behind Usherette and G2 Lancashire Oaks behind Endless Time. Was a bit disappointing after that. Won G2 Al Maktoum R2 over 1900m by a nose first-up in UAE before fourth in G1 R3 Trial Event. You would’ve laughed if someone said she could win an open-class G2 in the UK or start 10/1 or under in any G1 in UK. One of the local’s best and good luck to connections but she’s outclassed.

9 Arrogate (2/5): Officially best horse in world although the Mare from Down Under might have something to say about that. Won G1 Travers Stakes by 13.5 lengths, downed California Chrome who had every chance in terrific G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, 10f on dirt, before winning world’s newest/richest race in the G1 Pegasus World Cup by 4.75 lengths winning as he liked over the 9f trip at Gulfstream Park. Overall not a vintage renewal of race, second favourite was 15 lengths behind him in Travers. Horse is a total superstar. Wins as it likes.

10 Keen Ice (40/1): Only horse to defeat American Pharoah as a 3YO! Hasn’t won since however. In his classic season his other runs included seventh in the G1 Kentucky Derby, third in G1 Belmont, second in G1 Haskell and a fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic all behind the star of 2015. Also finished fourth in G1 Clark Handicap. Last year he finished third last in the G1 Donn, seventh in the trial race for this, 8th in this event, 3rd in G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic. Finished fourth in G1 Pegasus when savaging line from well back and extra furlong will suit. Can either go really well or really really poor. Not the horse he once was but still should finish in the top few and can do so on his last 2f last time.

11 Neolithic (28/1): Wasn’t going that good until winning an allowance event at Gulfstream by nine lengths before a huge third in the G1 Pegasus feature there. Can improve again and finish in placings.

12 Hoppertunity (16/1): G1 winner who has always been a couple of lengths off the absolute best. Third in this last year when flying late the outside. Has never finished out of the first five in 25 starts which is a huge credit to his consistency. G2 San Antonio Stakes winner for the second year running last time in terrific style and can go close again although will be out the back in the run especially from this barrier.

13 Special Fighter (40/1): G1 trial winner for this race last year beating Gun Pit 4.5 lengths and finished second in that event this year. One run in between was a fourth in this race last year. Will certainly be fitter but even though he is a G1 winner, he’d been a handicapper in the UK and was as well. Outclassed.

14 Mubtaahij (11/1): Second last year. G2 Derby winner by eight lengths two years ago before eighth and fourth in Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Had three runs for Kiaran McLaughlin after this event last year for a G2 third, G1 second and G1 fourth. Had a huge weight in C&D LR when second but couldn’t get to Etijaah who isn’t much chop and is 33/1 for G2 Godolphin Mile earlier. Will improve heaps and has to but outside draw doesn’t help.



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