Dubai Kahayla Classic (Group 1)
This has been the traditional curtain-raiser for this magnificent sporting occasion and the only race for purebred Arabians, which is a separate breed from the thoroughbreds that make up the rest of the card. This form of racing is popular as the breed is local to the Middle East and this is arguably the most important race in the region. It is always a challenge to choose the winner of this race but we are going to plump for AF Alwajel. His most recent run was in the Maktoum Challenger where he finished third and we are hoping he will be a big player this Saturday. He is trained by master trainer Ernst Oertel and ridden by UAE jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
Godolphin Mile (Group 2)
The first thoroughbred race of the night is usually won by Godolphin but this year we are looking elsewhere and that is towards Midnight Sands. This five-year-old horse showed his well-being in the Burj Nahar, where he saw off many of its rivals. Trained by UAE Champion Trainer Doug Watson, he is unbeaten at Meydan since March 2019 and he has won six on the spin. Jockey Pat Dobbs has been in the saddle for all these wins and the magic combination will be hoping this win is lucky number seven.
We think Tuz could give him most to worry about as he was third last time out behind Midnight Sands. This four year old son of Oxbow looks to be progressing all the time and he should be closer to the action this time. Don’t be surprised to see a big run from this charge trained by Satish Seemar.
Dubai Gold Cup (Group 2)
Trainer Mark Johnston is one of the most prolific trainers in the world having trained over 4,500 winners from his base in Middleham. He has brought the progressive Subjectivist to take part in the newest race on the Dubai World Cup night. After a flat season last year, Subjectivist put up a fine performance to win the Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp. A repeat of that performance in this race should be more than enough to secure the Gold Cup.
Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1)
Blink and you will miss this turf sprint up the straight course. Space Blues is a very popular selection and we will join that bandwagon. Trained by the superb Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby, he will arrive here full of confidence having his last five starts and being unbeaten for over a year. His biggest success last season in Europe was in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (Group 1), where he beat many of Europe’s final sprinters and he will be the one to beat.
One to keep an eye on is Equilateral, who has won both his start here for British trainer Charlie Hills and well-known Dubai owner Fitri Hay. He is battle hardened and will be there to pounce should Space Blues not perform.
UAE Derby (Group 2)
It is not totally unusual for a filly to win the UAE Derby and Doug Watson has a very good one on his hands this year in Mnasek. She won the UAE Oaks on her latest start by over six lengths, earning a crack at this. She will be ridden by Pat Dobbs and the daughter of Empire Maker looks to be the best of the home team.
Her biggest threat could be from the stable in Speight’spercomete, who ran a great trial in the Al Bastakiya. He lacks experience but looks to have the engine to produce a big run.
Dubai Golden Shaheen (Group 1)
The Japanese look to have a strong hand in this again this year but we are going to root for the locally-trained Canvassed. Trained by Doug Watson, he arrives here on the crest of a wave having won his previous two starts at Meydan this year. He was resolute and brave last time in the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday. Even though he will have to step up on that form to win this, he looks capable and Pat Dobbs, who knows this son of the late Shamardal so well, will be hoping this is his second trip to the winners enclosure of the evening.
Dubai Turf (Group 1)
This is a race to be competed in by two Lords, both trained in Great Britain. Lord Glitters had not won a race since the 2019 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot until he came to Dubai. He has now won two out of his three runs this year and this eight-year-old was very impressive in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta last time for trainer David O’Meara and jockey Danny Tudhope. They will be hoping for a third win here but that will not be an easy task.
Lord North is trained by John Gosden and he hit a purple patch last year in June. He won twice in ten days at the Group 1 Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot. He has run three time since without winning and comes over for his first start of the season. Do not worry about that as his trainer is a master and he is fancied to come out on top in the battle of the Lords.
Dubai Sheema Classic (Group 1)
Never underestimate the genius of Aidan O’Brien and he comes here with Mogul, who should be respected. He had plenty of racing last year and won the Gordon Stakes. He went on to win the Grand Prix de Paris (Group 1). He then took in the Breeders Cup on his way to finishing the year with a win in the Group 1 in Hong Kong, which his brother Highland Reel also won.
John Gosden is one of the greatest trainers in the world and he brings to this race his French Derby winner, Mishriff. After a stellar European season, son of Make Believe had his last start in Riyadh last month where he won the Saudi Cup in scintillating style under his regular jockey David Egan. That will put him spot on for this. He will be bidding to become the first horse to complete the Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic double and we fully expect this to happen.
Dubai World Cup (Group 1)
The home team of Godolphin have been by far the most successful in this race and for the 25th running, their best chance looks to be Mystic Guide. This colt is trained in the USA by Michael Stidham and after a progressive 2020, he won the Razorback Handicap in February. Even though it was sloppy going that day, he scored by six lengths. He will probably not encounter slop here but his dirt pedigree and form should see him being a major player.
A local yard represented here is that of Musabah Al Muhairi and his runner is Military Law. He was the impressive winner of the Maktoum Challenge Round 1 and he ran behind Mishriff in the Saudi Cup. He arrives with a great profile and he is trained on the track at Meydan. Under his regular rider Antonio Fresu, we are hopeful of a big run.
Fawzi Nass is no stranger to winners at the Dubai World Cup. From Bahrain he trains some of his best talent here in Dubai at Meydan and he is represented by Salute The Soldier. The son of Sepoy arrives here looking to complete a hat-trick of wins. He has won the Maktoum Challenge Rounds 2 and 3 and the latter race is one of the best trials for the Dubai World Cup. On that form we will not be surprised to see him win the biggest race of them all.