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Dubai World Cup

Nad Al Sheba: Six early value bets
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Dubai World Cup Night always offers some good opportunities in the early betting market. Bookmakers have now priced up all but one of the six big races, and six horses stick out as tremendous value bets.

Geir Stabell reveals his ante-post wagers, which include a live 50-1 shot with solid form in the book and every right to improve, a 14-1 chance that has clearly also been underestimated by the bookies, a 12-1 runner with ticks in all the right boxes, a course and distance specialist at 11-2 and a 3-1 horse that ought to be much shorter.


The last time Charlie Farnsbarns raced he looked a million dollars - before during and after the event. He was a surprise winner of the 9-furlong Darley Stakes (G3) at Newmarket on his final start of 2008, beating Bankable by 1 ½ lengths, with Kirklees back in third. It was a surprise because he was 50-1 but Charlie Farnsbarns was clearly the pick of the paddock, and Jamie Spencer was a late replacement jockey. Bankable and Kirklees have both been impressive winners here in Dubai this winter, and quite how the bookies have come to the (unanimous) conclusion that Charlie Farnsbarns is a 50-1 shot in the Duty Free is a bit of a mystery in this office. Bankable is 16-1 for this race while Kirklees is 10-1 for the Sheema Classic. The Duty Free is the toughest heat on the night but Charlie Farnsbarns is not without a chance.

Prior to his win at Newmarket, he had run a good second to Alexandros at Goodwood, and as a juvenile Charlie Farnsbarns finished second in the Racing Post Trophy (G1), behind the subsequent Derby (G1) winner Authorized.


The dual Carnival winner Gladiatorus must be backed at 14-1. The Duty Free distance of 1777 metres may be the main worry, as this ex-Italian horse looks a natural miler but he is very talented and, from time to time, turf races at Nad Al Sheba are run at a steady pace and he must have a good chance.

Gladiatorus has already beaten last year’s winner, Jay Peg, albeit on vastly better weight terms. He won the Jaguar XF Trophy Handicap, when Jay Peg had to settle for fourth on his reappearance, and the latter franked the form with a fine second in the principle prep for the Duty Free, the Jebel Hatta (G2). Carrying 12lb less than Jay Peg that day, Gladiatorius made all to win with ease, and he followed up with a near six-length verdict over Hunting Tower in the Al Fahidi Fort (G2), also over a mile, four weeks later. Gladiatorus, a son of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Silic, was one of the most exciting horses seen at this year’s Carnival. A powerful front-runner, he races with great zest and he is an uncomplicated ride. He should not be underestimated in the Duty Free.


Quijano, currently 12-1 with Bluesquare for the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) is also worth a bet. Some will be looking back and seeing that he has been beaten a couple of time in the Sheema, but this year’s scenario is different. Quijano ran a remarkable race when making his seasonal debut in the Dubai City of Gold (G2) on Super Thursday, where he was burdened with a tough weight. Quite frankly, I his chances of making the frame seemed pretty slim, but Quijano finished strongly for second, just half a length behind the filly Front House, who had enjoyed the run of the race in front. Quijano was conceding 9lb to the winner, while in the Sheema the difference will be only 4lb. Also, Quijano was giving weight to the third placed King Of Rome and the fourth placed Purple Moon. They are both shorter than him in the betting. Go figure! Some may think that Quijano, who is now seven, cannot improve but I am not so sure about that. This horse did not race at all at two and three, and he has gained 12 wins from 23 races, three of them over this course and distance.

GODOLPHIN MILE / CAT JUNIOR 10-1 (W Hill) – could be bigger, shop around when more bookmakers offer prices.

The lightly raced Cat Junior ran his best race to date last time out as a three-year-old, when finishing second to Stimulation in the Challenge Stakes (G2) over 7 furlongs at Newmarket in October. He had been beaten just 2 ½ lengths behind the top 3yo miler in France, Tamayuz, when fourth in the Prix Jean Prat (G1) at Chantilly in the summer, so Cat Junior is certainly a horse that has been ‘knocking’ a couple of times. He ran just once as a juvenile, for an easy win, and he is open to improvement this year. The Godolphin Mile means a dirt track debut, something that is a concern, but the race itself is not much better than the Challenge Stakes was, and Cat Junior looks a value bet. He might be a big price in the international pool.


Diabolical needed the run badly last time out, when looking all over the winner a furloung out only to ‘blow up’ and finish third to Gayego. He will be much sharper this time. Having gained a big win over course and distance here last year, Diabolical is decent each-way value at 11-2 in the Golden Shaheen.

He was runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint over 6.5 furlongs on the downhill course at Santa Anita in October. Dettori committed a bit too soon in that race, and the Godolphin runner was caught close home by Desert Code, who has already won another valuable sprint in California this winter. Diabolical, among the best dirt sprinters in North America two years ago, was competing well against the best turf sprinters in Europe last season. Versatile as he is, he ran a particularly encouraging race when second in the Diadem Stakes (G2) at Ascot, and he won last year’s Al Shimaal (G3) over this distance by 4 ½ lengths. If Diabolical runs like that again this week he will not finish outside the first three.


Although Albertus Maximus appears to be the improving horse, and will probably be my selection in the World Cup (depending on weather conditions and post positions), the 3-1 offered by Coral for Asiatic Boy is a bet worth recommending. He has been trained specifically for this race since last autumn, and his gradual progress has been a joy to follow. Second to Curlin last year, he holds home track advantage and his win last time out signalled a return to top form.

All prices given as of Tuesday 12.00 noon UK time

Published: 2009-03-24 07:38:22

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