The Dubai Carnival has reached its climax this weekend, as the richest race day comes around once again, with the Dubai World Cup, Gold Cup and UAE Derby just some of the great races taking place this Saturday.
The day opens with the Arab-only G1 race, and is quickly followed by the Godolphin Mile Group 2 race. Soft Falling Rain is the clear and deserved favourite, best priced 7/2 (Bet365, StanJames, BetVictor, Sky Bet, Betfred, Totesport), and has won 2 out of 2 already at the carnival, including the UAE 2000 Guineas over C&D last month. He went off an odds-on favourite, and beat significantly weaker horses well in that.
Moonwalk in Paris, a favourite of mine, was also in the Winner’s enclosure on that day, very impressively beating many of today’s opponents in the process. He disappointed next time out, but was still placed, and I fancy the horse to show more in this race under the highly useful Ahmed Ajtebi. The Godolphin horse is 11/1 with StanJames, Bet Fred and Totesport, and with Best Odds Guaranteed and ¼ odds from StanJames, looks profitable.
The other horse to interest in the race is Richard Mullen’s mount, Surfer. He’s been just under 4 lengths behind Hunter’s Light on both runs so far this year, and has the beating of some top horses as a result, including Saint Baudolino (G2 Winner at 3yo), subsequent G2 Winner Mushreq, and American G1 Winner Little Mike. Satish Seemar’s colt looks to have solid form coming into this, and with Ladbrokes offering 10/1 at the moment, I’d recommend snapping it up at that price, with the rest going 8s and 9s.
In the Dubai Duty Free, the previously mentioned Little Mike is expected to improve on his showing when 8th in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3. Sajjhaa has won 2 G2 races under Silvestre De Sousa, who is one of my favourite jockeys, before winning a G1 for William Buick last time out. In doing so, the horse has the beating of The Apache, City Style, Igugu and Prussian. There are some obvious threats for the Godolphin mare, with the main one being Trade Storm, a G2 Winner here last time out. Jamie Spencer’s ride is available at 5/1 generally, but looks no better off on a line through Prussian, and with Sajjhaa at 8/1 with Bet365, and the ¼ odds and BOG available once again, it looks the value bet. Add to this the fact SDS is seemingly so sweet on the horse, and you’ve got to be confident of her chances in this.
De Sousa is on the favourite in the final race of the day, and the biggest, The Dubai World Cup with the winning connections collecting a non-too-shabby £3+ million. That horse is Hunter’s Light, but not surprisingly to those that follow my selections, I’m not keen at the prices being mentioned (currently best price 7/2). There’s a couple that interest at bigger prices, however, with big priced winners historically not a rarity in this.
Dullahan has had legitimate excuses on numerous races, including races on turf (which doesn’t suit) and needing the run last time out. However, Dale Romans knows what it takes to win this race, having done so in 2005, and the horse will be all the better for his run in the Burj Nahaar over C&D. Gary Stevens, who takes the mount at the age of 50, also has experience in this race, as he won it in 1998 and it would be an amazing story for him to win the grandest race of them all once again after coming out of retirement. The American horse is currently 12/1 with most bookies, including StanJames and Bet365 who both offer the previous ¼ odds and BOG offers.
The other to interest is the biggest priced horse in the race, and rank outsider, Side Glance. With Jamie Spencer on board, things can easily go pear shaped, but his style of jockeying can be just as sublime as it is perplexing. In my opinion, when it goes well it goes great, and if not then the less said the better. Last time out the horse was only 2½ lengths behind Sajjhaa, and that form could be boosted earlier in the day. The horse ran on well in the final furlong, so the step up to 10 furlongs could also bring improvements. Can I see the horse winning? Honestly not, but at 33/1 (Sportingbet (¼ odds) & BetVictor (BOG)), I’m happy to take the chance at a place.
Dubai Duty Free 4:40 – Sajjhaa (8/1 Bet365)