The Dubai World Cup isn’t for everyone, granted, but it’s hard to ignore this weekend as the flat season starts to sneak back into view.
This season’s main event, the Dubai World Cup, is going to be run on a dirt surface rather than the traditional Tapeta and that is a huge factor to consider when making your selections.
Dirt is a specialist surface which some horses thrive on and some flounder on.
Racing in America is predominantly run on dirt, therefore it’s no surprise to see two USA raiders at the head of the betting for the $10m contest.
California Chrome looks the one to be on this year and will be getting a dollop of my cash.
The classy sort came close to winning the American Triple Crown last year, winning Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but he finished down the field in the Belmont Stakes.
That form in itself puts him clear in my eyes over a very lacklustre field in terms of talent.
His wide draw isn’t ideal but in a field of just nine runners it shouldn’t inconvenience him too much.
He’s got a favourite’s chance and that does mirror in the make-up of his price around the 6/4 mark but in my opinion anything odds-against should be snapped up.
His biggest rival on this surface should be his fellow American raider Lea, who is a dirt lover but may just lack the class and finishing kick of the winner.
Prince Bishop and reigning champion African Story are the two hopes of Godolphin but both have looked very awkward on the surface and a career best is needed against the USA team.
The most exciting horse on show on Saturday is arguably The Grey Gatsby, who is due to run in the Dubai Turf over the extended mile.
He was last seen when beating Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes and is a tough cookie when he gets his head in front.
However, I’m worried that this trip will be on the sharp side for him around a tight track that isn’t likely to suit.
All in all, I think it’s a strange move Kevin Ryan has decided to have a go at this race.
I’m well against him despite having the genius that is Ryan Moore in the saddle.
Talking of geniuses, trainer Freddy Head can be described as that and he has a fantastic chance of landing this race with Solow, who looks a potential superstar in the making.
This race will be his first Group One race but I’ve got every expectation that he’ll thrive in this environment.
Head is a master at getting horses with potential to the top and he should take all the beating.
There has been a wave of money for the selection in the last 24 hours too, which suggests the vibes from the Head camp are very strong about his chances.
There are shades of 9/4 available still and that is fine price for a horse of this potential.
Meydan 15:40 Back Solow 2/1 (2pt win)
Meydan 17:00 Back California Chrome 6/4 (1pt win)
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