Thursday 10th January
(Author: Jordan Yates)
A big welcome to this week’s Dubai World Cup Carnival Preview as we look set for another cracking evening’s racing under the bright lights of Meydan. So for those of you who are getting a bit tired of 2-4 runner National Hunt contests at home, sit back, relax and enjoy some of the world’s best jockeys on the level and some not too bad horses either, do battle at one of the finest racecourses on the planet.
The first race i’ll be taking a look at in this week’s Preview is the 3.40 (GMT) which is the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial over a mile. The race see’s the exciting prospect that is Royal Marine head affairs for Saeed bin Suroor, he was last seen when winning a Group 1 contest at the Arc Meeting at Longhamp and before that he won a maiden at Doncaster which the form has worked out very well. I’ve actually seen both of those victories live on course and he’s a horse that certainly gives the impression that there’s a lot more to come within the highest level. This reflects in his price here at odds on in most places at around 8/11, a bold showing is likely under the wining machine that is Christophe Soumillon. There’s a few familiar names in the line up for the fans of the level at home, bin Suroor is also represented Burj, and Dark Thunder formerly of Tom Dascombe currently lines up also. Whilst I think if he takes to the track and turns up anywhere near his best Royal Marine wins, as a betting proposition he’s very much on the skinny side and i’d be willing to chance an each way play on WALKING THUNDER (15/2 E/W), I’ve been impressed with both of his victories to date around here and there’s no telling where the limit to his ability might be. He could well be up for this step up in class sporting the colours of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate who have enjoyed their fair share of success at the track in recent months.
The next contest the 4.15 (GMT) is a much more competitive looking affair this time contested over six furlongs however it does see the same connections at the top of the betting with Major Partnership heading things for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin. He doesn’t quite have as high of a profile as Royal Marine however he’s still a horse with a likely big future ahead of him and he’s as short as 11/8 to take this particular affair once again under the reliable partner that is Christophe Soumillon. A lot like his stablemate in the previous race, a bold showing would once again be no real surprise. Godolphin are also represented here by Roussel who takes his place in the line up for Charlie Appleby, his form is very much hit and miss and whilst he’s a smart enough performer on his day its trying to find that day is often the problem, he certainly has the ability to be competitive within this field though and can be found trading at around 7/1. As ever when looking at runners from a betting proposition I like to find something with a bit of ‘value’ the infamous word, and I’m going to try and do that here with David Barron’s ABOVE THE REST (7/1 E/W). He was slightly below par here last week on the dirt within Group 3 company but a return to this sort of level off this mark could see him put in a much better showing. It’s likely he’ll be a lot more tuned up on that back of that effort also with Ben Curtis in the saddle. Intisaab and Mujaafy are also ones to note.
The feature race of the day comes in the form of the 4.50 (GMT) which is the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge race and it really has thrown up quite the renewal. There’s a whole host of proven top level performers currently at the top of the market and heading these is the very smart Heavy Metal. This is a horse that has 8 wins to his name on this track which include 4 within Group company, he won this last year and also went on to win the Godolphin Mile. One of the most solid contenders you can find around here and deservedly takes his place at the top of the market at a general 2/1. North America just follows him in the betting at around 10/3, he was poor when last seen here in March when finishing last in the World Cup when being fancied. This is a considerably easier assignment however he sometimes needs a run. Charlie Appleby’s Gold Town is set to make his return to the track for the first time since finishing fourth in the UAE Derby. Before that he dismantled a couple of decent enough fields in trials and will be looking to return to that sort of form again here. James Doyle is in the saddle. KIMBEAR (9/2) made his return to the track last month when finishing a decent third within Listed company over a trip that was slightly on the short side. It is hard to get away from the solid credentials of Heavy Metal here however Kimbear did get the better of him on one occasion here last year and at the prices i’m going to chance him to give the market leader something to think about once again here. A very likeable sort and a decent price here at 9/2 if you fancy going against the market leader.