Dubai World Cup: The lowdown ahead of the 2020 Carnival


RACING fan Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) has analysed all nine races from the Dubai World Cup, pointing out his favoured fancies ahead of the 2020 Carnival at Meydan.

Dubai World Cup | Saturday 28th March 2020

Back in November when the Meydan racing season began, the dream for all connections was to develop their horses to be good enough to take their chance at the Dubai World Cup carnival at the end of March.

The Dubai World Cup day is the absolute pinnacle of the Meydan and UAE racing season; the Meydan racing season offers a total of $40 million dollars in prize money and this year $35 million will be up for grabs on the big day itself.

Dubai World Cup day consists of nine high-class, fascinating contests with six Group 1 and three Group 2 races to enjoy.

Here's my look at each of the nine races with previous winner and places from last six years plus brief thoughts for this year's renewals.

Godolphin Mile 

  • 2014 :- 1st = VARIETY CLUB at 11/2, 2nd = Soft Falling Rain 11/4f, 3rd = Flotilla 9/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = TAMARKUZ (Evsf), 2nd Sloane Avenue (10/1), 3rd Free Wheeling (50/1)
  • 2016 :- 1st = ONE MAN BAND at 11/2 , 2nd – Faulkner at 14/1, 3rd = Cool Cowboy 8/1
  • 2017 :- 1st = SECOND SUMMER at 20/1, 2nd – Ross at 28/1, 3rd Sharp Azteca at 9/4
  • 2018 :- 1st = HEAVY METAL at 4/1, 2nd – Muntazah at 12/1, 3rd = Adirato at 40/1
  • 2019 :- 1st = COAL FRONT at 5/1, Heavy Metal 2nd at 8/1, 3rd = Muntazah at 10/11f

Muntazah has contested the last two renewals of this Group 2 one-mile contest over the Meydan dirt including finishing third after being sent of 10/11f last year – based on this year's form it's very hard to imagine him taking it.

The starting point for this race has to be market leader SALUTE THE SOLDIER who was a very impressive winner of the Group 3 Burj Nahaar over the same course and distance on Super Saturday, with the likes of Axelrod, Secret Ambition and Kimbear all well beaten and it's tough to see any of those reverse the form if they line up.

Capezzano is currently second favourite around the 7/2 mark and he's clearly a big danger based on his Group 3 Firebreak Stakes win over the mile at Meydan, perhaps the question mark over him is if his flat run in Saudi Arabia had an effect on him.

Midnight Sands has been a winning machine out in Dubai and at around 7/1 he could prove to be a lively each-way option to Salute The Soldier who does set the standard to aim at.

Dubai Kahayla Classic

  • 2014 :- 1st = RABBAH DE CARRERE at 7/1 2nd = Djainka Des Forges at 11/1, 3rd = Musharabab at 16/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = MANARK (10/1) 2nd = Valiant Boy (7/2), 3rd = Raaziq (25/1)
  • 2016 :- 1st = AF MATHMOON 2nd = TM Thunder Struck, 3rd = Thakif
  • 2017 :- 1st = REDA at 25/1, RB Burn at 10/1, Sniper De Monlau at 20/1
  • 2018 :- 1st = TALLAB AL KHALEDIAH at 8/1, 2nd = Chaddad at 8/1, 3rd = Barnamaj at 9/2
  • 2019 :- 1st = AF MAHER at 5/1, 2nd = Fazzah Al Khelidah at 11/1, 3rd = Amwaj at 50/1

Dubai Gold Cup

  • 2014 :- 1st = CERTERACH at 33/1 2nd = Cavalryman at 7/4f , 3rd = Star Empire 14/1
  • 2015 = 1st = BROWN PANTHER (4/1f) , 2nd = Star Empire (20/1), 3rd = Ahzeemah (9/1)
  • 2016 = 1st = VAZIRABAD at 5/4f , 2nd = Big Orange at 12/1, 3rd = Haafaguinea at 7/1
  • 2017 = 1st = VAZIRABAD at 9/4, Beautiful Romance at 5/1, Sheikhzayedroad at 6/1
  • 2018 = 1st = VAZIRABAD at 6/4, 2nd = Sheikhzayedroad at 22/1, 3rd = Rare Rhythm at 10/3
  • 2019 :- 1st = CROSS COUNTER at 7/4f, 2nd = Ispolini at 9/4, 3rd = Call The Wind at 3/1

Last year Godolphin's star stayer Cross Counter landed the crown that the brilliant Vazirabad had held for three straight years and no doubt Godolphin will be aiming to retain it.

Cross Counter and Ispolini gave Godolphin a 1-2 last year with impressive Saudi Arabia winner Call The Wind in third that day – that trio take three of the four spots at the head of the market with the Aidan O'Brien's star stayer Kew Gardens the other one amongst them.

Assuming those four line up then it really should be between them, Cross Counter and Kew Gardens head the market just ahead of Call The Wind, they look tough to split but I believe CROSS COUNTER can find a lot of improvement from his Saudi Arabia run to be absolutely spot on to retain his crown.

UAE Derby

  • 2014 :- 1st = TOAST OF NEW YORK at 11/1 2nd = Asmar 6/1 , 3rd = Emirates Flyer at 20/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = MUBTAAHIJ (9/4 f) , 2 Maftool (5/1), 3 Golden Barrows (9/4 j)
  • 2016 :- 1st = LANI at 12/1 , 2nd = Polar River 8/13f, 3rd = Yu Change
  • 2017 :- 1st = THUNDER SNOW at 11/4F, Epicharis at 9/2, Master Plan at 7/1
  • 2018 :- 1st = MENDELHSSON at 13/8f, 2nd = Rayya at 8/1, 3rd = Reride at 16/1
  • 2019 :- 1st = PLUS QUE PARFAIT at 25/1, 2nd = Gray Magician at 28/1, 3rd = Manguzi at 40/1

This race produced a front three last year that would have you landing a lottery style win had you got the tricast and there have also been other double-figure priced winners in recent years so be careful.

That said it is clear to see why current market leader FORE LEFT sits top of the betting around 7/2 given he's a proven Meydan winner after his impressive win in the UAE 2000 Guineas, this will be a step up in trip from that race but that shouldn't be an issue at all.

Emblem Storm was also a recent impressive winner out in Meydan after winning the listed Al Bastakiya over the same distance that this race will be and 9/2 looks very fair given that run with promise of more to come.

Tuz was in behind Emblem Storm that day, actually ran on well so could be one of the more interesting ones at bigger prices around 7/1.

Al Quoz Sprint

  • 2014 :- 1st = AMBER SKY at 5/2, 2nd = Ahtoug at 12/1, 3rd = Shea Shea at 11/10f
  • 2015 :- 1st = SOLE POWER (11/2) , 2nd = Peniaphobia (4/1 f), 3rd = Green Mask (33/1)
  • 2016 :- 1st = BUFFERING at 10/1 , 2nd = Ertijaal at 11/4f, 3rd = Peniaphobia at 5/1
  • 2017 :- 1st = THE RIGHT MAN at 12/1, LONG ON VALUE at 66/1, Ertijaal 2/1f
  • 2018 :- 1st = JUNGLE CAT at 11/4, 2nd = Stormy Liberal  at 40/1, 3rd = Conquest Tsunami at 25/1
  • 2019 :- 1st = BLUE POINT at 4/6f, 2nd = Belvoir Bay at 66/1, 3rd = Stormy Liberal at 9/1

Last year this was a very easy race to call as Blue Point was as good a good thing as you can get but this year it looks much tougher to call with confidence.

Wildman Jack was very impressive in winning the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba over the 6f of Meydan last time out and that run shot him to the top of the market for this.

Ekhtiyaar loves it at Meydan and has produced many top runs there so he's greatly respected but he was soundly beaten by Wildman Jack making it hard to see that formline reversed easily.

Space Blues represents Godolphin but he was disappointing when finishing way down the field in the race won by Wildman Jack, he's a Group 1 horse but will take some real improvement for Space Blues to win this.

My ante-post money is tied to Equilateral at 14/1 each-way and so my first hope is for a place at least for the Charlie Hills trained sprinter, he's got real class but can also produce a few runs that just fall below, hopefully he'll be spot on the day, if so he can go close.

Dubai Golden Shaheen

  • 2014 :-1st = STERLING CITY at 9/4f , 2nd = Rich Tapestry at 7/2, 3rd = United Color at 16/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = SECRET CIRCLE (10/3), 2nd = Super Jockey (20/1), 3rd = Rich Tapestry 5/1
  • 2016 :- 1st = MUARRAB at 6/1 , 2nd = X Y Jet at 7/4f, 3rd = Moraawij at 50/1
  • 2017 :- 1st = MIND YOUR BISCUITS at 9/2jf, 2nd COMICAS at 50/1, 3rd Moraawij at 8/1
  • 2018 :- 1st = MIND YOUR BISCUITS at 6/1, 2nd = XY Jet at 4/1, 3rd = ROY H at 4/7f
  • 2019 :- 1st = X Y JET at 7/4f, 2nd = Matera Sky at 33/1, 3rd = Imperial Hint at 7/2

The previous results for this race show how horses who do well in it can come back & do well again, so on that note it's sad to think of last year's winner X Y JET who sadly died.

However, life and racing goes on and this years market is headed by last year's second and third with MATERA SKY and IMPERIAL HINT both pretty close in the betting and you have to believe that they'll be going close again if in similar form, Matera Sky looked in good form when running an excellent second at the Saudi Cup meeting.

Third favourite New York Central confirmed place in this Group 1 sprint by winning at the Saudi Cup meeting including having Matera Sky in behind so clearly merits great respect.

I'd expect one of those market leaders to be too good on the day but the results show that huge prices can get placed at least so consider the each way plays on the day.

Dubai Turf

  • 2014 :- 1st = JUST A WAY at 3/1f, 2nd = Vercingetorix at 5/1, 3rd = Dank at 6/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = SOLOW (9/4) , 2nd = The Grey Gatsby (6/4 f), 3rd = Mshawish 14/1
  • 2016 :- 1st = REAL STEAL at 8/1 , 2nd = Euro Charline at 25/1, 3rd = Tryster at 7/4f
  • 2017 :- 1st = VIVLOS at 14/1, HESHAM 20/1, 3rd Ribchester at 11/4
  • 2018 :-  1st = BENBATL at 4/1, Vivlos at 10/1, 3rd = Real Steel at 10/1
  • 2019 :- 1st = ALMOND EYE at 6/5f, Vivlos at 22/1, Lord Glitters at 22/1

At the time of writing, 10 days before the big day, all looks set for the brilliant 2019 Dubai Turf winner Almond Eye to come back to Meydan to defend her title and judged on the betting it looks as though Godolphin's back to form star Barney Roy is the only serious opposition with both around 7/4 to 15/8 to take this prestigious Group 1.

The results from previous years show you that big prices do often feature in the places – Lord Glitters was third at 22/1 last season and currently around 16/1 for this year, he could be the each-way play if lining up on the day.

Dubai Sheema Classic

  • 2014 :- 1st = GENTILDONNA at 4/1 2nd = Cirrus Des Aigles at 9/1 , 3rd = Ambivalent at 50/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = 1st = DOLNIYA (7/1) , 2nd = Flintshire (3/1), 3rd = One And Only 16/1
  • 2016 :- 1st = POSTPONED at 4/5f , 2nd = Duramente at 4/1, 3rd = Last Impact at 40/1
  • 2017 :- 1st = JACK HOBBS at 4/1, 2nd = Seventh Heaven at 8/1, Postponed 7/4
  • 2018 :- 1st = HAWKBILL at 11/2, 2nd = Poet’s Word at 15/2, 3rd = Cloth Of Stars at 11/4f
  • 2019 :- 1st = OLD PERSIAN at 7/4f, 2nd = Cheval Grand at 22/1, 3rd = Suave Richard at 11/1

Godolphin will of course be firing plenty of major bullets at Dubai World Cup day but they've won this prize for the last threee years and I'd say that Ghaiyyath is probably right up with their major hopes of success, if not the main one, and he clearly does set the standard for this years Sheema Classic, 7/4 now and I'd expect much shorter on the day.

Last year's winner Old Persian, Defoe, Anthony Van Dyck and Fleeting are all truly fascinating, high class contenders that will tempt plenty if they line up, they currently range from 11/2 to 7/1 and will attract the support of British racing fans for sure.

Dubai World Cup

  • 2014 :- 1st = AFRICAN STORY at 12/1 2nd = Mukhadram at 14/1, 3rd = Cat O'Mountain at 25/1
  • 2015 :- 1st = PRINCE BISHOP (14/1) , 2nd = California Chrome (5/4 f), 3rd = Lea 4/1
  • 2016 :- 1st = CALIFORNIA CHROME 15/8 , 2nd = Mubtaahij 16/1, 3rd = Hoppertunity 25/1
  • 2017 :- 1st = ARROGATE 1/3f, GUN RUNNER at 7/1, Neolithic at 25/1
  • 2018 :- 1st = THUNDER SNOW at 8/1, 2nd = West Coast at 5/4f, 3rd = Mubtaahij at 28/1
  • 2019 :- 1st = THUNDER SNOW at 4/1, 2nd = Gronkowski at 28/1, Gunnevera at 12/1

Godolphin's famous blue silks have plundered the first prize of this flagship Carnival race for the last two years via the incredible Thunder Snow and they'll very much be hoping to make it a famous hat-trick via their brilliant star Benbatl who has this season announced himself as a serious dirt horse as well turf, Benbatl does deserve his place as current favourite at 7/4 and likely to be shorter at the off.

Mucho Gusto and Tacitus are in behind Benbatl as the next major players in the market around the 3/1 to 4/1 marks and they are both greatly respected on their form whilst Matterhorn announced himself as a contender to greatly respect on his recent demolition job at the course.

The previous results show that something always tends to get placed at huge odds, something placed at 25/1 or bigger in five of the last six years, so perhaps Military Law and last years 2nd Gronkowski can continue that trend if lining up on the big day.

Those are my early thoughts for this year's Dubai World Cup day along with results from previous years and I really hope this helps and adds interest to what is always a brilliant days racing.

About Author

I've been into football since first going to Man United as an 8 year old, lucky enough to have season ticket in the mid 90's. I've been into horse racing since first going to Doncaster as a kid and I love a day out at the races. Sports betting and writing has been a passion of mine for the last 20 years, just love sharing thoughts with people and there is no bigger buzz than knowing my work has helped somebody make a few quid. I'm also into Darts and Snooker, love watching and playing both but I watch much better than I play, although I did once get my hands on the World Snooker Championship trophy at the Crucible. My most recent sporting highs have come from watching T20 cricket with my son, we just love watching Derbyshire beat Yorkshire every time. My 23 years of working life to date have been spent in the newspaper/news media business and the betting industry including working at football grounds/racecourses.

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