The upcoming Dubai World Cup night has attracted plenty of column inches with a number of high-profile European raiders set to take their chances at Meydan.
Aidan O’Brien is just one of the travelling trainers and ahead of the action we’ve produced some enticing specials around Ballydoyle’s potential fortunes in the United Arab Emirates.
But before you bet, here’s a quick rundown of his upcoming chances on Saturday 25 March…
Dubai Gold Cup – 12:50
Kingfisher is O’Brien’s sole representative in this year’s Dubai Gold Cup, a race he’s yet to taste success in.
In truth, his six-year-old looks up against it here on his first start since finishing 19 of 24 in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
The likes of last year’s winner Vazirabad and his recent conqueror Beautiful Romance are amongst those with better claims and it looks unlikely AOB will get on the board in this one.
UAE Derby – 13:25
O’Brien won this in 2012 and 2013 and will field a couple of lively outsiders in Lancaster Bomber and Spirit of Valor in the upcoming renewal.
The former heads to the Middle East having finished as the runner-up in the Dewhurst Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf so won’t be without his admirers.
Added to that, only antepost favourite Thunder Snow is rated higher than this son of War Front.
Spirit of Valor has more to find on ratings and form with this test possibly beyond him.
Al Quoz Sprint – 14:00
He’s arguably been more effective over five furlongs than six but there’s still likely to be a fair bit of each-way money staked on Washington DC.
The globe-trotting charge finished last season with seconds in the Flying Five Stakes and Prix de l’Abbaye at the Curragh and Chantilly respectively, before a weaker effort in the 6f Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Home favourites Ertijaal and Jungle Cat are more plausible winners but don’t rule out a run into the place money.
Dubai Turf – 15:30
O’Brien is triple-handed here with Cougar Mountain, Deauville and Long Island Sound his respective chances.
The middle horse of that aforementioned trio is rated as his best option by the bookies with memories of Deauville’s Belmont Derby win and Arlington Million third still fresh enough.
This is a different type of test but not an insurmountable one should he be able to live with the likes of recent Dubai Millennium Stakes winner, Zarak.
Cougar Mountain can be tough to catch right while Long Island Sound remains relatively unexposed but will need to find a lot more.
Dubai Sheema Classic – 16:05
St. Nicholas Abbey did the business for AOB in the 2013 edition of this race and Ballydoyle once again field some strong contenders.
Highland Reel is arguably O’Brien’s best chance on the card with last season’s Breeders’ Cup Turf and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner a classy operator.
However, in returning hero and re-opposing foe Postponed he faces an exceptional rival.
Marco Botti’s charge was surprisingly turned over at odds of 2/5 on his previous appearance at this track.
But he had his excuses that day and two previous wins over course and distance, not to mention his victories over Highland Reel, suggest it’d be unwise to read too much in that defeat.
Meanwhile Yorkshire Oaks winner Seventh Heaven is likeable enough but she looks well held by the market principals.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing