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Meydan Tips for Dubai World Cup night at Meydan

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Our international racing expert Jake Price goes through the best bets for Dubai World Cup night at Meydan on Saturday.


Meydan Tips: Saturday, March 30

1pt win Tower of London in 12.40 Meydan at 7/2 (General)

1pt win Pandagate (without Forever Young) in the 1.50 Meydan at 7/2 (Sky Bet)

1pt win Sibelius to win the 2.25 at 6/1 (bet365, Hills)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook


The Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan is once again upon us. The fascinating eight-race thoroughbred card is chock-full of international runners, featuring the likes of Lord North – gunning for a fourth successive Dubai Turf – and multiple Group-1 scorer Auguste Rodin going for the Dubai Sheema Classic. All this leads us up nicely to the Dubai World Cup (16:35) itself, worth a somewhat hefty $12 million dollars (USD) in prize money alone.

Last year’s winner, the Japanese-trained Ushba Tesoro, is back for more and currently heads the market. He’s only met defeat on dirt three times from eleven starts, one of those when second to US challenger Senor Buscador in the Saudi Cup last month. In a strongly-run race, both came from right out the back to catch long-time leader Saudi Crown (who goes in the Godolphin Mile, 12:05), Ushba Tesoro briefly getting his head in front only for Senor Buscador to collar him in the dying strides.

Given their very similar run styles, the stronger they go out in front the better. That is sometimes easier said than done, particularly on a track that usually sees front-runners to best effect, such as Meydan. However, there is a chance that Wilson Tesoro, in the same ownership as Ushba Tesoro, is in the field as a pacemaker.

Speaking of which, Derma Sotogake was most impressive when winning the UAE Derby from the front last year after drawing the inside gate. He’s only raced three times since, all at the top level, his best finish since when second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, with the Saudi Cup 1-2 behind him on that occasion. A return to forcing tactics would make him very interesting.

The home team have a strong pair of contenders in Kabirkhan and Laurel River. Kabirkhan was a prolific winner when formerly trained in both Kazakhstan and Russia. That may not sound like a great deal in the wider picture of international racing these days, but he’s also two from two since being shipped to the UAE. Both were visually impressive successes, with the latter earning Doug Watson a long awaited first Group 1 in the Al Maktoum Challenge at this venue in January.

Laurel River was formerly trained in the US by Bob Baffert and was a steadily progressive sort. After winning the Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar in August 2022 he wasn’t seen on the track until January this year, by which time he’d been sent into the care of Bhupat Seemar. That run was clearly needed, as back at a more adequate one mile in the Burj Nahaar here next time, he dominated the field with a thumping 7 length success. In this spot he has at least 6 Ib to find on Timeform ratings, whilst facing an extra two furlongs on his first go in Group 1 company.

So, a fascinating race is anticipated, but with trying to unravel how it will fully play out, this is one I can sit out from a betting perspective. I do have selections elsewhere on the card which we will take a look at now.

The Dubai Gold Cup (12:40) sees the 1-2-3 from the Red Sea Turf Handicap on the Saudi Cup card do battle again and I’m taking Aidan O’Brien’s TOWER OF LONDON to frank the form. The strong pace played its part on that occasion, but let’s not forget that the placed horses, Enemy and Giavellotto, are smart performers in their own right.

Tower of London is a full-brother to Irish Derby and St Leger winner Capri, and he made good strides throughout his 3-year-old season last year, a fourth-placed finish when trying to emulate his sibling in the Doncaster Classic his best effort. It was interesting that O’Brien thought enough of him to take in the race in Saudi Arabia, where he had to overcome plenty of trouble in-running to prevail late on.

The line-up also features St Leger and Irish St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov, Long Distance Cup winner Trawlerman, and last year’s runner-up Siskany. Tower of London has a fitness edge over these, whilst getting the weight-for-age allowance, and he’s also unexposed over staying distances. The stable landed this with Broome twelve months ago.

The lure of earning a Kentucky Derby spot has seen the UAE Derby (13:50) become an attractive target for Japanese-trained runners and that’s the case again this year.

The ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ has been responsible for the last two winners and the unbeaten Forever Young looks to repeat his Saudi Derby victory from last time. In contrast to his first three wins, his head success over Book’em Danno was rather workmanlike, for all the pair came clear of the third.

His talent is there for all to see, but if there are chinks in his armour, I feel PANDAGATE can be the one to take advantage. The son of Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate has won twice from three outings, his latest by 5½ lengths in a stakes race at Aqueduct, with the underlying feeling of more to come. His trainer, Christophe Clement, doesn’t strike as being one for tilting at windmills, so that he’s bringing Pandagate so far around the world for this means he can’t be underestimated. I fancy a wager in the betting without Forever Young market.

The Dubai Golden Shaheen (14:25) has almost been an exclusive race for the US of late, with that nation responsible for the winner in six of the last eight renewals. Five of the fourteen runners this year are US-trained but I’m going with SIBELIUS to land back-to-back successes.

A look at Sibelius’ profile all points to a return to this race in a bid to retain his crown. Just like twelve months earlier, he came into this on the back of winning the Mr Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream, followed by winning the Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay. Ryan Moore got the ride last year and had a dream run on the rail from the inside gate to claim the spoils in a tight finish with the reopposing Hopkins and Remake, fourth and fifth respectively.

It’s quite an open race in the betting, and depending how Japan fare earlier on the card, it could see Remake go off clear favourite. Remake was an impressive winner of the Riyadh Sprint in Saudi Arabia last month, but this is a deeper race. However, Jeremiah O’Dwyer calls on Moore once again and that’s good enough for me.

Preview posted at 1230 GMT on 29/03/24


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