The world’s richest horse race, the $10m Dubai World Cup, hasn’t been taken by the favourite since US superhorse Curlin’s 4/11 victory back in 2008, with 2013 champion Animal Kingdom the shortest priced winner over the last eight years at 11/2.
With that in mind, it’s hard to get too excited about the chances of 2015 runner-up California Chrome, who currently leads the market at 6/4, while next best Frosted doesn’t have recent history on his side at 9/4.
Not that there’s nothing in the pair’s favour – since 2009 both Gloria de Campeao and Prince Bishop have finished second prior to taking the big prize 12 months later, a trend California Chrome will be keen to extend, while in-form Frosted will have 2015 winning jockey William Buick on board.
At five years old the jolly is also what you might call ‘the right age’ to strike in the 1m2f Meydan Group 1 as five of the past 11 winners have been five-year-olds, with only two younger animals managing Dubai World Cup victory over the last decade.
That being said, the stats say backing either California Chrome or Frosted at their short odds doesn’t make sense, and there’s a runner in the race who fits recent trends quite beautifully at a meaty price.
California Chrome’s fellow five-year-old Special Fighter is UAE trained, as where three of the past four winners of this, and Irish bred, like last year’s victor Prince Bishop.
The 12/1 shot banished the memories of a poor run at this track in February, when sixth of nine behind a rampant Frosted over 1m1½f, with a thumping Group 1 win last time out when going half a furlong further.
Four wins, a second and two sixth-place finishes in seven races over the past 12 months suggests Musabah Al Muhairi’s inmate is a valuable pick when caught on the right day. At an each-way price, Special Fighter looks the top alternative to the market leaders.
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