For those of you who have never been to the Dubai World Cup, this is the time to grab the chance and get down to Meydan next Saturday. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed, even if you don’t end up picking winners.
My advice to you is to go for it with all the gusto you’ve got before you miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
For those of you who have already made plans, and even decided on your wardrobe, you may continue reading because I’m going to offer you some really hot tips.
As disorganisd as we journalists are at most times, the vibe entering Dubai World Cup week is always positive and all of us become ‘experts’. Naw, he’s not going to win, but I’ll tell you who’s gonna thump his rivals… is a common refrain in the days running up to D-Day.
Thirteen horses are in contention this year, and the connections of every one of them would like to believe that his horse has a chance. As the saying goes, you’ve got to be in a race to win it. But come Saturday, there can be only one winner, that’s unless we have a dead heat. Come to think of it, we’ve never had a dead heat in the Dubai World Cup, although Right Approach and Paolini sensationally dead-heated in the Dubai Duty Free (G1) in 2004.
Dead heats are pretty rare in major races with the last high-profile tie happening at the Breeders’ Cup in 2003 between High Chaparral and Johar. The Epsom Derby, arguably the most famous race in the world, has seen two dead heats, the first in 1828 between Cadland and The Colonel and again in 1884 when the judge could not separate Harvester and St. Gatien.
Now that we’ve got that bit of trivia out of the way, what do we know about this Saturday’s race.
For one, no horse has won the race twice, something Godolphin’s 2012 champion Monterosso will be attempting to do while no horse has won from stall 13, with Roses In May being the only horse to win from a wide barrier draw when triumphing in 2005 after being drawn in gate 12.
So, if you’re someone who relies on history, then perhaps you can rule out the horse drawn 13 after the barrier draw on Wednesday, but I wouldn’t put it past Monterosso becoming the first dual winner of the race despite his unconvincing comeback performance at Super Saturday. Having not run since last July’s Eclipse Stakes he would have badly needed that run and will come on in leaps and bounds for it. We know that he handles the Tapeta and that he has the class for a race like this, the only question mark is whether he has trained on this year.
Monterosso is one of five horses representing the all-powerful Godolphin operation and although I would like to make a case for the other four, my selection is the improving Kassiano who is taken to reverse the form on Hunter’s Light, the horse that beat him in the prep at Super Saturday — the Al Maktoum Challenge.
If he does win, Kassiano will become the first horse to win the race, after beginning the season as a handicapper. Much like a wild card winning a Grand Slam in tennis.