Let’s get exotic in the Al Quoz Sprint!
26 March 2015
The one aspect to Dubai World Cup week that is overlooked the most is that it is provides a wonderful way to contrast how trainers, and jockeys, from all over the world go about their business.
Some trainers decided to send their horses early to acclimatise, while some, like Singapore’s Hai Wang Tan, have decided to leave it desperately late. Dubai Golden Shaheen-bound El Padrino arrived at Meydan on Tuesday. The Japanese like to have their horses work slowly for long distances in the morning, while others like to work in short sharp bursts.
One interesting diversion from the norm was on Tuesday, when American trainer Bill Mott, Eddie Kenneally, Graham Motion and Todd Pletcher, all booked for their horses to be schooled in the paddock, under the mega-watt bulbs of Meydan’s iconic grandstand, rather than in the morning.
Mott and Motion are both previous Dubai World Cup winners, having respectively saddled Cigar and Animal Kingdom to win the most valuable race on the planet. Kenneally is 1-1 in the UAE, having won the Dubai Golden Shaheen with Kelly’s Landing in 2007, while Pletcher churns out the winners in America.
I spoke to Jerry Bailey this week, the jockey who rode Cigar in the inaugural World Cup at Nad Al Sheba in 1996 and who has won the Dubai World Cup a total of four times. This year will see the 20th running of the Dubai World Cup, but back even then Mott was trying something different.
Bailey takes up the story.
“I can’t remember which day it was but as a last piece of work, we worked Cigar at night,” he said. “That was the only time we had ever worked him at night. It was kind of fun. Trainers in America watch their horses from the grandstand side, or at the finishing wire, but Billy actually took me around himself on a pony.
“Cigar worked, very, very well.”
As it turned out, Cigar worked well enough to kick start what turned out to be an American domination of the World Cup when it was run on dirt. I am reliably informed that the Dubai Racing Club do not allow horses to work at night at Meydan.
America won eight of the first 14 Dubai World Cups on dirt, and with dirt back down again it seems beyond reasonable doubt that the US will once again reign supreme on it.
Bailey said that he believed that the best American dirt horses were always going to be the best in the world on that surface, because simply they have a larger pool of dirt horses.
Mott has brought over Lea, a gorgeous specimen, who was good enough to win the Donn Handicap last year, and was second to Constitution, who subsequently suffered a setback, in the same race in February. Cigar, Captain Steve, Roses In May and Invasor all used the Donn Handicap as a stepping stone to World Cup glory and Mott’s raider has been the wise guy horse for the past week.
Lea may well have been campaigned more lightly than California Chrome last season, but I just cannot see him improving past California Chrome. Japan’s Hokko Tarumae could well cause an upset, he is Japan’s horse of the year on dirt after all, but the favourite just looks too classy.
The Americans could well dominate the Dubai Golden Shaheen, however, as they did at Nad Al Sheba, and although Secret Circle, a dual winner at the Breeders’ Cup, looks set to start favourite, I’m going with Salutos Amigos, who is seeking a five-timer and looks certain to run his race.
Where the Japanese dirt horses may well pick up prize-money, however, is in the UAE Derby, where Dear Domus,, Tap That and Golden Barows clash with the strong team of horses based in the UAE in Mubtaahij, Maftool and Sir Fever.
Ryan Moore has long earmarked Golden Barows as his UAE Derby ride, and there is the sneaking suspicion that Aidan O’Brien did not run his three horses he had ready to send over to a race he likes due to a little conversation with the jockey.
If you go to the Japan Racing Association Dubai World Cup page you can watch Golden Barows races – he looks a machine.
The best bet of the night for me also comes from Asia. Peniaphobia’s form is head and shoulders the best on offer among the three raiders from the Special Administrative Region, which includes Amber Sky and Bundle Of Joy. Not only that, as a four-year-old he is likely to have a lot of improvement in him.
Crack South African rider Douglas Whyte comes from Hong Kong to continue his association with the Dandy Man speedball, who will enjoy a significant pace advantage with front-runner such as American raider Distinctiv Passion, and Caspian Prince to tow him along.
I think Peniaphobia is rock solid, and I’m going to try to squeeze the race dry by having him in exactas with Ahtoug, Sole Power and Via Africa. all of them have got a ludicrously fats pace to aim at, and it is just a question of who gets the breaks. Willie Muir's Stepper Point looks big at 25-1, too.
In the spirit trying new things like Motion and Mott did this week, let's try something different. It's not everyday you do exactas on a race of ths nature, is it? If you really want to go to town, try Djainka Des Forges to win the Kahayla Classic.
Geoffrey Riddle’s Dubai World Cup night tips:
5.00 Meydan: California Chrome at 7-4 with Betfair.
4.15 Meydan: Dolniya at 7-1 with Ladbrokes and Skybet.
3.40 Meydan: The Grey Gatsby at 7-2 generally available.
3.05 Meydan: Salutos Amigos at 11-2 with Paddy Power.
2.30 Meydan: Peniaphobia in straight exactas with Ahtoug, Sole Power, Via Africa.
1.55 Meydan: Golden Barows at 3-1 Betfair
1.15 Meydan: Bathyrhon at 6-1 generally available.
12.40 Meydan: Frankyfourfingers at 10-1 with BetVictor, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power