At long last, my analysis of the 8-race Thoroughbred portion of the Dubai World Cup card for Saturday 3/30.
Working against unknown variables for speed figures and some inability to access some trips, I had to turn to other variables to determine who would be in my odds profiles, and, ultimately, who gets my contender spots and picks.
Top 3: 6-9-5 Muntazah, Logrado, Heavy Metal
ABC chart: 6,9,5/7,3,10,12
My odds: Heavy Metal 2-1 Muntazah 7-2 Logrado 7-5 Coal Front: 30-1.
Logrado a prior winner while cutting back in distance, wears blinkers for the first time. Lone source of true value here.
DUBAI GOLD CUP, turf, 2 miles:
Top 3: 4-7-9 Platinum Warrior, Sharpalo, Cross Counter. Big longshots to upset the favorite out of the top 2 spots.
Overlays: Platinum Warrior, Ispolini, Sharpalo
ABC chart: 4,7/9,6,1,5,10
My odds: Marinaresco 16-1 Platinum Warrior 9-1 Prince of Arran 16-1 Ispolini 19-1 Sharpalo 3-1 Cross Counter 8-1 Gold Mount 16-1
Platinum Warrior has won twice in Ireland and also the Grade 2 San Marcos at Santa Anita in February. Prior win with stretch out in distance, he has blinkers removed for this race. He’s also waiting nearly 2 months for this race, longer than others stretching out.
Sharpalo has a poor winning record, tho has been a bridesmaid, finishing 2nd 9 times over his 34 races. Had a fast troubled trip last out in the Dubai City of Gold, and is sneakily recovering in pace since his 2018 layoff.
AL QUOZ SPRINT, 6 furlongs, turf
Top 3: 1-4-6 Stormy Liberal, Mazzini, Brave Smash No hope for the favorites here.
Overlays: Same as top 2.
ABC chart: 1,4/8,6
My odds: Stormy Liberal 4-5 Mazzini 9-5 Brave Smash 19-1 Blue Point 19-1
Stormy Liberal had won several close finishes in Cali in 2018 and 2019. A fantastic 32-12-10-1 career mark. Switching back to Joel Rosario, with whom he had won the Breeders Cup Turf Sprint in 2017. Bit of a troubled trip last time out in a 67k allowance race at Santa Anita last month, but a nice speed figure. Gets tongue-tie equipment change here.
Mazzini a seasoned veteran on the UK circuit, plus 3 races here in Dubai this season with 2 wins. Only horse in this field with ‘exploding’ pace, a small new top since before turning 6. With his bounce in pace last out in the Nad Al Shebe Turf Sprint, i’m willing to play the bounceback angle. Also, he sports the fastest pace pattern of this field.
Brave Smash, bred in Japan, races in Australia, making his Dubai debut. Owns the fastest speed for 6 furlongs of this field, a score he matched twice before in his career. He was known as Sunlight up until now, and won the Seppelt Wines Newmarket Handicap under his old moniker last time out on 3/9.
UAE DERBY, 1 3/16 miles, dirt.
Top 3: 6-11-1 Divine Image, Van Beethoven, Walking Thunder. A return to less valued horses but not without something to work for.
Overlays: Van Beethoven
ABC chart: 6/11,1/13,3,8,12,14
My odds: 2,3,8,12,13,24 all 22-1. 6: 6-5. 11: 4-1 1: 12-1 4: 29-1.
Van Beethoven a decent record in 9 starts, 4 of which were at the Grade 2 level in the UK. Has the fastest speed pattern of this field. Switching back to regular rider Ryan Moore.
DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN, 6 furlongs, dirt.
Top 3:10-3-4 Fight Hero, XY Jet, Promises Fulfilled .
Overlays: Fight Hero, Promises Fulfilled, Nine Below Zero. Take these with a few grains of salt, as the odds-on morning line-favorite, Roy H, was scratched. It would create a new morning line, which changes how I wager this race.
ABC chart: 10,3,4/2,7,5
My odds: Imperial Hint 19-1 XY Jet 2-1 Promises Fulfilled 5-2 Drafted 14-1 Nine Below Zero 14-1. Fight Hero 4-1.
Fight Hero has raced mainly in Hong Kong. Owns a prior win with a similar drop in weight carried as prior (133 to 126)
Promises Fulfilled enters as the speed horse of the field. He won last year’s Fountain of Youth Stakes, plus the Grade 3 Amsterdam, the Grade 1 Jerkens, the Grade 2 Phoenix, and was 4th last time out in the BC Sprint. That particular race was a troubled trip, but still posted a very fast speed rating. Tongue-tie added.
Nine Below Zero, since his layoff following his 3YO campaign, had fared rather well racing in Dubai. He is recovering in pace and should continue to be competitive, and maybe even win.
DUBAI TURF, 9 furlongs.
Top 3: 2-9-6 Dream Castle, Lord Glitters, Mountain Hunter. Lots of value under the favorite
Overlays: Southern Legend, Lord Glitters, Mountain Hunter, WIthout Parole.
ABC chart: 2,9/6,12,3,1,7
Mountain Hunter definitely belongs on the podium. Racing at Dubai much of his career, he has 3 lifetime wins on the turf here. He and Dream Castle are the two pace progress horses, accomplishing a small new top better than their prior efforts the year before. Won the Wheels and District One World Class Run in his last 2 races here.
Lord Glitters 15 of 19 in the money lifetime; last win was last summer in a Grade 3 event in York. Fast troubled trip last time out, finishing 6th in the Grade 1 QE2 Stakes at Ascot; this was back in October.
Southern Legend is the speed here, and shares fast time for the distance. Good pace pattern here too.
Without Parole is waiting since September to stretch out, addes cheekpieces (a bit like blinkers, in which a horse can see in front and sides, but not behind).
DUBAI SHEEMA CLASSIC, 12 furlongs on turf.
Top 3:6-3-1 Rey de Oro, Magic Wand, Cheval Grand
Overlays:None to be found. Frankly, I can’t throw out a single horse among these 8. But this is truly Rey De Oro’s race to lose.
Best of the rest is Magic Wand, who was 2nd in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational last time out. Prior to that, a 4th in the BC Filly/Mare Turf. He’s waited this long to stretch out from 8.5 furlongs.
Cheval Grand is the one surprise. He shares fastest speed figure for the 12 furlong distance and is definitely the fastest of this field.
ABC chart: 6/1,3,4,5,7,8
DUBAI WORLD CUP, 10 furlongs, dirt.
Top 3: 1-9-12 Gunnevara, New Trails, Thunder Snow.
Overlays: Gunnevara, New Trails,
ABC Chart: 1/3,4,5,9,12
I do feel Gunnevera should own this race. Should bounce back over his 6th-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup. Blinkers off, tho adds tongue-tie and visor.
New Trails 2-for-5 in the meet and not only is recovering in pace, he’s due to bounce back after a 4th last out in the Al Maktoum Challenge. Loses visor for this race.
Coming up, my take on 6 of the stakes races at Gulfstream Park.