For all the grumblings about the surface, the absence of most of the best horses and the missing American challenge the Dubai World Cup still has more than enough to get the blood pumping.
Some observers of the more cynical variety have denounced this year’s renewal as one of the worst in years but whatever it may lack in genuine quality is made up for in spades by its competitiveness.
Aidan O’Brien’s Ruler Of The World spearheads the market and obviously arrives with the best form in the book courtesy of his impressive Derby win just under a year ago.
However, the noises coming out of Ballydoyle smack of preparing to fail rather than succeed and with a wide draw of 12 not making things any easier quotes of 3/1 make little appeal.
Rider Joseph O’Brien has already warned about their concerns over how their son of Galileo – recently sold in half to Sheik Joaan Al Thani – will handle the increasingly controversial Tapeta surface and despite there being inconclusive evidence regarding the draw in the four runnings of the race there is little doubt that the preferred berth is nearer the inside.
However, the son of the favourite’s trainer did insist that he felt the racing public would see the best of their horse this year, highlighting the fact that it was only this time last season that Ruler Of The World saw a racecourse for the first time after missing his 2yo campaign.
The British challenge represents almost half of the field and one man who is no stranger to success in the race, Sir Michael Stoute, looks to have another excellent chance with Hillstar.
Stoute has a cracking record at the meeting, saddling only 18 runners in his time but with the Dubai World Cup (Singspiel in 1997) and Dubai Sheema Classic (Fantastic Light in 2000) already captured.
Ryan Moore’s partner has been given a favourable draw in seven and the mood around the camp is unmistakably upbeat as they attempt to get their four-year-old back on track after failing to ignite in his last three starts.
After winning the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot, the son of Danehill Dancer was as short as 5/1 to win the King George next up but disappointed in that race and the Juddmonte and Champion Stakes that followed.
On that evidence his price of 12/1 may look somewhat thrifty, however, the profile of the horses who have won this race or gone very close in the past is reassuring with many showing their best efforts in the richest race of all.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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