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Meydan 26 March 2016 – 2000 m (10f) dirt

Runners presented with best Globeform

ratings, sires, jockeys and post positions

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals two pounds over this distance.

124 - CALIFORNIA CHROME (Lucky Pulpit) / V Espinoza (11)

123 - KEEN ICE (Curlin) / R Moore (1)

121 - FROSTED (Tapit) / W Buick (9)

120 - MSHAWISH (Medaglia d'Oro) / F Dettori (2)

118 - HOPPERTUNITY (Any Given Saturday) / F Prat (10)

117 - SPECIAL FIGHTER (Teofilo) / F Jara (5)

116 - MUBTAAHIJ (Dubawi) / C Soumillon (4)

115 - HOKKO TARUMAE (King Kamehameha) / H Miyuki (8)

115 - VADAMOS (Monsun) / V Cheminaud (7)

114 - TELETEXT (Empire Maker) / S De Sousa (12)

114 - GUN PIT (Dubawi) / J Moreira (3)

114 - CANDY BOY (Candy Ride) / P Dobbs (6)


CALIFORNIA CHROME looked in fine shape when winning a handicap under top weight at this venue in February. Covering the full World Cup distance, he bossed the field for a comfortable 2-length win over Storm Belt (a 105-rated horse who was receiving 7kg / 15,5lb). Storm Belt was next seen finishing eighth, beaten 14 ¼ lengths, behind Special Fighter in the Al Maktoum Challenge III. California Chrome did not beat much in the handicap, though was giving plenty of weight to his rivals and created a favourable impression. North America's hero of 2014 has retained his enthusiasm for the game, that's for sure.

His come-back win in the San Pasqual Stakes over 8.5 furlong (1700 m.) at Santa Anita in January was not as visually impressive, but California Chrome was never in any real danger as he won by 1 ¼ lengths from Imperative, with subsequent San Antonio winner Hoppertunity back in third. The World Cup will be more a stamina test, something that will be to Hoppertunity's liking, but there is no reason to believe that the Baffert horse can reverse the form with California Chrome, who had been off since the 2105 World Cup when winning the San Pasqual. The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner was runner-up in this $10-million event twelve months ago, when he failed to run up to his best. He seems to be sending out the right signals these days and has an obvious chance of going one better. This is a tough field, however, and to make him a short priced favourite does not make much sense.

KEEN ICE was disappointing here on Super Saturday, when he was beaten by six horses in the Al Maktoum Challenge III, most notably by Special Fighter – who was a shock winner and passed the winning post 12 lengths in front of Keen Ice. Jockey Ryan Moore was easy on him once it was obvious he could not make the frame, so it is fair to assume that Keen Ice could have finished closer. Still, this run was way below hios best, and also way below the form he had shown when sixth to Mshawish in the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park in February. Keen Ice was staying on nicely at the end that day, and stamina is his forte. He made full use of it when beating American Pharoah and Frosted in last year's Travers Stakes at Saratoga, a race run over the same distance as the World Cup. He was also quite solid when fourth to Effinex in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs less than three weeks after the Breeders' Cup, where he was badly compromised by the pace scenario and beaten a long way into fourth behind American Pharoah. Pace is the key to this horse. The Meydan dirt track has been kind to speed horses, meaning that a horse like Keen Ice really needs quick early fractions to have a chance. If he gets that, well then he could beat them all. Some bookmakers pushed him out to as big as 25-1 after Super Saturday. That was an absolute over-reaction to one dull run – and well he is well worth a small each-way investment.

FROSTED may be the one to side with, in what looks quite an open World Cup. Not quite top class as a three-year-old, though he did achieve G1 status when winning the Wood Memorial, he ran some fine races behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah last year, and he improved on that form when winning at Meydan on his seasonal debut. The Al Maktoum Challenge II, staged over 1900 metres (9.5 fur.) on February 4, was chosen as his seasonal debut. Frosted was slightly odds-on and he won the race very easily. William Buick had the grey colt nicely settled behind the early leader, Munaaser, and sent him on with about 300 metres to go. Frosted soon asserted and he powered away for a 5-length win over Gold City (who was sixth in last year's Godolphin Mile), with next-time-out-winner Faulkner just pipping Munaaser for fourth place. Frosted returned Globeform 121. Another step up, which seems likely, would make him hard to beat in the World Cup. Stepping up to 2000 metres will not be a worry. Frosted was second to American Pharoah in the 2015 Belmont Stakes, having filled fourth place behind the same rival in the Kentucky Derby, and he showed a lot of grit also when third in the Travers Stakes (where he put pressure on American Pharoah throughout, and Keen Ice went by them both close home).

Frosted is a versatile runner. He can take up a prominent position, be placed in midpack, or held up at the rear (as he was both in the Wood Memorial and Kentucky Derby). That his rider has such options is a big plus in a race like this. As is his experience with, and obvious liking for, the Meydan course. Frosted is our selection.

MSHAWISH began his career on turf, and progressed to become a very good one too. He won the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap last winter, before running third to Solow in the Dubai Turf. This time, Mshawish is set for the World Cup. Certainly the most ground versatile of the big race contenders, the son of Medaglia d'Oro is coming off a career best performance, having captured the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream in February. Mshawish travelled very strongly just off the pace and proved much too good for the reliable yardstick Valid, who he had beaten also when taking the Hal's Hope Stakes at the same venue four weeks earlier. Switching Mshawish to dirt has been a success and, although the competition will be stronger and the distance 200 metres longer, he may well step up again at Meydan. Recent form counts for a lot in racing, and the Donn has been a good guide to the World Cup in the past. Mshawish has a lot going for him. The one question mark is the distance. Will he stay 2,000 metres? The way he travelled in the Donn, very strongly throughout, suggested he might well get this trip.

HOPPERTUNITY represents Bob Baffert, and this contender is one that will be hoping for a really strong pace at Meydan. A five-year-old son of Any Given Saturday, he is coming off a game win in the San Antonio Stakes over 9 furlongs at Santa Anita in February, when beat Imperative in a close photo finish. Imperative had finished in front of Hoppertunity when these two filled second and third behind California Chrome in the San Pasqual four weeks earlier. The shorter distance, and the lack of pace, worked against Hoppertunity that day. It is also worth noting that he carried two pounds more than his rivals. He is a very game and tough runner, who joined the US elite with a win in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in 2014. He ran second in that event last year (three parts of a length behind BC Classic runner-up Effinex), after having filled second also in the Awesome Again at Santa Anita (behind Smooth Roller) and Fayette Stakes at Keeneland (behind Race Day). Hoppertunity has not been given the chance to tackle 10 furlongs more than twice, and he was a nose from Grade 1 victory in one of these races (pipped by Hard Aces in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita). It will be interesting to see him at Meydan. He may be one of the longshots, but he has a bang in-form Baffert in his corner, and the champion trainer has had 'DWC day' ticked off in Hoppertunity's diary for some time.

SPECIAL FIGHTER caused one of the biggest upsets at the Carnival when running his rivals into the ground for a solid 4 ½-length win of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III on Super Saturday. Tackling the World Cup distance, he led throughout and quickened from the front early in the straight. He ran on in great style under jockey Fernando Jara to win the race in a sharp 2.03.09 – a new track record. Gun Pit, an accomplished dirt runner from Hong Kong, finished second, with another 2 ¾ lengths back to Faulkner in third. This trifecta was quite a surprise. The two favourites Mubtaahij (fourth) and Keen Ice (seventh) both had a serious off day, but Special Fighter's performance was still of a high level. Can he repeat it? After all, it was markedly better than anything he had achieved in his 17 previous races. Though it is worth bearing in mind that he won for fun when scooting up by 5 lengths in a handicap in January, and that he lost shoes when sixth behind Frosted in the second round of the Al Maktoum series. It's a bit harder to see Special Fighter winning the World Cup, than it is to write him off, but stranger things have happened.








Meydan 26 March 2016 – 2400 m (12f) turf

Runners presented with best

Globeform ratings, jockeys and draw

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 1,5 pounds over this distance.

121 - DURAMENTE (King Kamehameha) / M Demuro (4)

120 - HIGHLAND REEL (Galileo) / R Moore (8)

119 - POSTPONED (Dubawi) / A Atzeni (7)

116 - DARIYAN (Shamardal) / C Soumillon (9)

116 - LAST IMPACT (Deep Impact) / J Moreira (1)

116 - GAILO CHOP (Deportivo) / T Jarnet (6)

115 - ONE AND ONLY (Heart's Cry) / Y Take (5)

112 - SHEIKHZAYEDROAD (Dubawi) / M Harley (2)

107 - THE BLUE EYE (Dubawi) / H Bentley (3)


DURAMENTE was the top three-year-old in Japan in 2015, when he won the 2,000 Guineas (Satsuki Sho) at Nakayama in April and the Derby (Tokyo Yushun). He sustained injuries to both his forelegs and found himself on the sidelines when the big autumn races were staged. The son of King Kamehameha came back to racing action at Nakayama a month prior to World Cup night, when he beat Ambitious by a neck to win the Nakayama Kinen over 1800 metres. Dubai Turf contender Real Steel finished third. Duramente's Guineas success came at the chief expense of just Real Steel, who is also owned by Sunday Racing Co Ltd. Duramente won the 2,000-metres contest readily by 1 ½ lengths. Eventual St. Leger winner Kitasan Black was third. Duramente stepped successfully up to 2,400 metres in the Derby six weeks later. Quite dominant once more, the Mirco Demuro ridden favourite obliged by almost two lengths from Satono Rasen, with Satono Crown back in third (both are G2 winners). Duramente takes the highest Globeform rating into the Sheema Classic, and he is likely to find further improvement. So he easy to like, though he is also a horse who has been injured and paused for a long time – something that is always a bit of a worry. Still, his comeback win was pretty faultless and he has a good chance.

HIGHLAND REEL could also improve as a four-year-old, having been rather highly strung and immature as a three-year-old, when he landed the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in August and the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin in December. The latter run was by far his best performance to date and he has been rested since. The Aidan O'Brien trained son of Galileo was heavily backed with UK bookmakers before his run at Sha Tin, where he met last year's winner of the Vase, the well established top flight runner Flintshire. Highland Reel went by Flintshire in a matter of strides inside the last 200 metres, and beat him quite easily by 1 ½ lengths. Jockey Ryan Moore had Highland Reel in front from the outset (he led all the way in the Secretariat) but took him back to third at the halfway stage. Highland Reel was definitely a mentally stronger, more grown up, performer when he came to Hong Kong – via Australia, where he had run third behind Winx and Criterion in the Cox Plate seven weeks earlier.

POSTPONED was a very smart performer in England last year, winning the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot when trained by Luca Cumani. He had been beaten into third behind Snow Sky and Eagle Top at the Royal Ascot meeting five weeks earlier, but turned the tables on both when it mattered the most – albeit only just got the better of Eagle Top, who he beat by a nose. It was Postponed's fourth career win, and he gained a fifth by landing the Prix Foy at Longchamp in September. He beat Spiritjim by three parts of a length that day, with last year's Sheema winner Dolniya back in fourth. Postponed is ideally suited by 2400 metres, and he goes well on any ground. His prep run for the Sheema came in the City Of Gold Stakes on Super Saturday, when he was a visually impressive 3-length winner over Dariyan, who reopposes here. Postponed, now in the care of Roger Varian, is defintely a leading player. His smooth win here three weeks ago is the main factor as he is made our selection in this year's Sheema Classic.

DARIYAN was easily beaten by Postponed when runner-up in the City Of Gold, but. He could well be open to improvement but to close a gap like that in three weeks seems unlikely. He has also been beaten by Highland Reel, who had him back in third in last year's Hong Kong Vase. Dariyan, effective from 2000 to 2400 metres, seems to act on any ground. He is normally held up at the back of the field though has the speed to take up a more prominent position if needed.

LAST IMPACT contributed to a surprise exacta when narrowly beaten by Shonan Pandora in the Japan Cup last November, when he was ridden by Ryan Moore. The son of champion Deep Impact ran the race of his life that day, as he had beat the favourite Lovely Day by a neck for second. It was not a vintage renewal of the race though, and Last Impact will find it tougher in the Sheema. He was beaten 3 lengths when sixth to Duramente in the Nakayama Kine last month (when receiving 1.5kg / 3lb from the winner).

GAILO CHOP produced his best form to date when he gained top level success beating Rising Romance by 1 ½ lengths in the Mackinnon Stakes over 2000 metres at Flemington in Australia last October (he led early, went clear and fought back really well after being slightly headed 200 metres out). The ex-English Contributor was half a length further adrift in third. The French trained challenger needs to improve on that form to make the frame here. He ran well on his seasonal debut at Chantilly early this month, taking third behind the Fabre duo Elliptique and Manatee (Gold Cup runner) in the Prix Darshaan over 1900 metres.







Meydan 26 March 2016 – 1200 m (6f) dirt

Runners presented with best

Globeform ratings, sires, and jockeys

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 3 pounds over this distance.

126 - X Y JET (Kantharos) / E Jaramillo (3)

123 - MUARRAB (Oasis Dream) / P Hanagan (7)

118 - RICH TAPESTRY (Holy Roman Emperor) / G Mosse (1)

117 - SUPER JOCKEY (Sandtrap) / J Moreira (6)

116 - REYNALDOTHEWIZARD (Speightstown) / R Mullen (10)

113 - CONFRONTATION (War Pass) / W Buick (8)

109 - DOMINEER (Shamardal) / F Dettori (5)

108 - MORAWIJ (Exceed And Excel) / C Hayes (9)

106 - MASTER KOCHANGWONG (Commands) / D Whyte (2)

105 - KIFAAH (Dubawi) / D O'Neill (4)


X Y JET (photo: Coglianese) looks very much the one to beat here. A top class sprinter who missed much of 2015 due to injury sustained in the spring, X Y Jet been quite explosive at Gulfstream Park this winter, and he looks just the right type for this race. He returned from a near seven-month break to win at Monmouth Park last September, then shipped south and gained an easy win at Gulfstream in November, before taking a step up in class in the Mr Prospector Handicap at the same venue in December, a race he won most impressively by over nine lengths from Grande Shores (who was third to DWC contender Mshawish on his next outing). X Y Jet stopped the clocks in 1.08.4, running just a couple of lengths slower than the track record – and doing so with ease. His next win, in the Sunshine Millions Sprint over the same trip four weeks later, was almost as fast and visually just as impressive. Again he quickened right away from his rivals coming into the straight, and again he powered right away from them, to beat Wildcat Red (a useful sprinter himself) by 4 ¼ lengths. Despite not being the super fast from the stalls, X Y Jet is one of those few who goes straight to the lead, and keeps on running faster than the rest all the way to the winning post. He will get his stiffest test to date in the Golden Shaheen, but is impossible to oppose. His prep race, in the 6.5-furlong Gulfstream Park Sprint on February 27, resulted in another solid win and he comes here at the top of his form. This is his optimum trip.

MUARRAB impressed in the Mahab Al Shimaal three weeks ago. His easy success, while clocking the excellent time of 1.10.2 for the 1200 metres, made him a serious Golden Shaheen contender. He is the most likely danger to our selection. Muarrab met Rich Tapestry for a second time this season on Super Saturday, having been put readily in his place by the Hong Kong sprinter in February. This time, the tables were turned. Muarrab broke fast from the stalls and went to the lead. Rich Tapestry, a heavy favourite, was settled in second but when Muarrab kicked on as they entered the home straight, Rich Tapestry was unable to do the same. Muarrab and Paul Hanagan soon put the race to bed. By the time they passed the winning post, the gap back to the runner-up was an impressive 5 ¼ lengths. Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's second string Kifaah went past a tiring Rich Tapestry in the last few strides to take second. The latter clearly ran below par but take nothing away from Muarrab. He ran a big race on the day. He did, however, get things very much his own way on the lead. That is unlikely to happen here, and it will be interesting to see how he copes with pressure throughout – something X Y Jet is likely to make sure he gets.

RICH TAPESTRY, third behind Secret Circle and Super Jockey in this race last year, made virtually all when beating Muarrab by 1 ½ lengths in the Al Shindagha Sprint over this distance in February, but was beaten 6 ½ lengths when third to the same rival in the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday. Gerald Mosse settled Rich Tapestry just behind Muarrab on that occasion, clearly not wanting a speed duel and a hard race. Rich Tapestry failed to pick up in the straight. Perhaps the horse was simply unhappy not to be allowed to go to the lead. This battle hardened Hong Kong sprinter should not be written off on the basis of his most recent run. Don't forget, Rich Tapestry owns quite a cv, having beaten Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile champion Goldencents in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship in 2014, when he was also runner-up in the Golden Shaheen (three parts of a length behind Sterling City).

SUPER JOCKEY ran the race of his life here twelve months ago, when making sure the Bob Baffert trained winner had to work for his money. Super Jockey, ridden by Ryan Moore, came from midpack to challenge Secret Circle through the last 300 metres but failed by a head. The New Zealand bred son of Sandtrap ran a good second to Al Quoz contender Not Listenin'tome in the National Day Cup over 1000 metres on turf at Sha Tin last October, but was below form in the Jockey Club Sprint (beat just one) in November and Centenary Sprint Cup in January (beat just two) – both at Sha Tin.

REYNALDOTHEWIZARD won the 2013 edition of this race, when beating Balmont Mast by a quarter of a length, with 2012 winner Krypton Factor back in third. The old fan favourite ran just twice last year, winning a Listed event before once more beating Krypton Factor in the Al Shindagha Sprint. 'Reynaldo' has had two races this season. He came back from an 11-month break to win the same Listed event in January (by almost three lengths from Godolphin Mile candidate Cool Cowboy), before running third to Rich Tapestry in the Al Shindagha on February 11. He bypassed the prep on Super Saturday and thus comes here fresh – something that has worked well in the past. A true course and distance specialist, he holds place claims.

CONFRONTATION improved when winning the Firebreak Stakes over 1600 metres in early February. He had been out of action for almost seven months, but showed no signs of being rusty as he came with a late surge to take the race by 2 lengths from Godolphin Mile contender One Man Band (an impressive winner on his next start). Le Bernardin, who was coming off a win in the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, filled fourth place, while the heavy favourite Mubtaahij had to settle fo fifth. This was Confrontation's sixth success from 15 starts. He has also finished second on six occasions, giving him a remarkable 80% top-two strike rate. He was initially being aimed at the Godolphin Mile but switched to the Shaheen when stable companion Marking went the other way. Confrontation seems to be on the upgrade but does he have enough speed for this contest?


A: 3 X Y JET





Meydan 26 March 2016 – 1900 m (9.5f) dirt

Runners presented with best

Globeform ratings, sires, jockeys

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 2 pounds over this distance.

115p - POLAR RIVER (Congrats) / P Dobbs (2)

?p - VALE DORI (Asiatic Boy) / C Soumillon (5)

99 - FRANK CONVERSATION (Quality Road) / M Gutierrez (1)

? - YU CHANGE (Swift Current) / J Moreira (4)

95 - LAZZAM (Archipenko) / F Dettori (7)

? - LANI (Tapit) / Y Take (3)

? - ON THE ROCKS (Samurai Heart) / M Demuro (6)


POLAR RIVER (photo: Andrew Watkins / DRC), who has been way better than anything else seen in the classic fillies' division at Meydan

this season, will start odds-on favourite for this event. She doesn't have much to beat, in what is rather a disappointing field for such a big purse.

Polar River, a US bred daughter of Congrats trained by Doug Watson, most recently won the Oaks, to add to previous strolls in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial and UAE 1000 Guineas. She won the Guineas by 13 lengths from Promising Run, who had been 4 ¾ lengths second to her in the trial. Polar River was in a different league on both occasions, and again in the Oaks, despite the winning margin here being just three parts of a length. Fellow Derby contender Vale Dori, a Group One winner in Argentina last year, challenged her inside the final furlong to erase a clear lead, but that's just part of the story.

The more important information to take on board is that jockey Pat Dobbs had geared the winner well down by then and Polar River won with plenty up her sleeve. Like the Derby, the Oaks is contested over 1900 metres, and Polar River handled the distance well. Not that the three-runner affair presented her with a true stamina test, but at least she has been through this trip now. She has plenty of speed but she rates kindly, and she may be open to quite a bit of improvement still. She is the banker on the day.

VALE DORI ran a very promising race in the Oaks, her first start of the season and her first outing for Mike de Kock – who trained her sire Asiatic Boy. Vale Dori was previously with trainer Antonio Marsiglia in Argentina, where she was an impressive winner of the Gran Premio Jorge de Atucha over 1500 metres. Vale Dori (10-1) was still immature in this Palermo contest, but came through to lead 200 metres out and win easily by 3 lengths from the favourite Stay Calm. She relished the distance in the UAE Oaks, she should come on for the run, and she looks good enough to ensure an all female exacta in this year's Derby.

FRANK CONVERSATION represents the US, and he is a long way below the best three-year-olds on the other side of the pond. Still, he comes here in fine form, and may make an impact. Foaled as late a on May 13, he has probably needed time to fulfil his potential. He won the California Derby in January and the El Camino Real Derby in February - both staged over the Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields. Having finished fifth to Mor Sprit in the prestigious Los Alamitos Futurity on dirt last December, Frank Conversation won these races with little fuss, beating Tusk readily by three parts of a length when stepping up to 9 furlongs in the El Camino Real. He started favourite, and raced nicely settled in a handy position throughout, before moving up three wide to take command halfway down the home straight. His runner-up was coming off a third in allowance company at Santa Anita the third home, the ex-English Kasseopia, had finished second to the Canadian star Riker in the Grey Stakes at Woodbine last autumn. Frank Conversation's form can be best described as solid, not top class, but he may be a runner about to hit an upward curve.







Meydan 26 March 2016 – 1800 m (9f) turf

Runners presented with best Globeform

ratings, sires, jockeys and post positions

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 2 pounds over this distance.

122 - INTILAAQ (Dynaformer / P Hanagan (8)

116 - VERY SPECIAL (Lope De Vega) / J Doyle (11)

116 - EURO CHARLINE (Myboycharlie) / F Dettori (10)

119 - REAL STEEL (Deep Impact) / R Moore (14)

114p - TRYSTER (Shamardal) / W Buick (2)

117 - FLAMBOYANT (Peer Gynt) / B Blanc (6)

115 - THE CORSICAN (Galileo) / J Spencer (7)

115 - GABRIAL (Dark Angel) / S De Sousa (15)

111 - FORRIES WALTZ (Greys Inn) / C Soumillon (1)

111 - GHAAMER (Hard Spun) / T O'Shea (4)

110 - FARRIER (Tapit) / R Mullen (5)

110 - HARRY'S SON (Haradasun) / A Delpech (9)

110 - ERTIJAAL (AUS) (Hard Spun) / D O'Neill (12)

109 - BATASEEN (Teofilo) / P Dobbs (13)

108 - FORJATT (Iffraaj) / C Hayes (3)


INTILAAQ is the best horse going into this turf contest – and he is open to further improvement. A winner of three of his five starts, Intilaaq was beaten only once as a three-year-old last term, when he finished down the field in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May. Such a tough task probably came way too soon for him. He had raced only twice previously, taking third in an Ascot maiden at two and winning a Newbury maiden on his reappearance at three. Intilaaq was the talk of the town after his Newbury race, which he won by 8 lengths from the favourite Keble after making all and quickening right away from his rivals approaching the furlong-marker. He looked top class and connections went for a supplementary gamble into the Guineas. The gamble did not pay off but, passing the winning post 13 lengths behind winner Gleneagles while looking to be out of his comfort zone, Intilaaq was not at all disgraced in the mile classic.

A break of over two months followed and the Roger Varian trainee returned in a well contested Listed event over 10 furlongs at Newbury in July, which he won readily by 2 ½ lengths from Consort (who was coming off a third to Gleneagles at Royal Ascot). The two three-year-old were well clear at the finish. Dual Listed winner Firefighting was beaten almost ten lengths in third place. He was third once more, beaten 6 ½ lengths, as Intilaaq followed up with a visually taking performance to win the the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock in August. Intilaaq won this event by 5 lengths from the in-form Master Carpenter. He was always prominent, went to the lead with under a mile to go and kicked away with half a mile to go. The Rose Of Lancaster is run over an extended ten-furlong trip, and the Dubai Turf distance is sure to suit Intilaaq. His good tactical speed should help him get a good position early on, and his stamina will be valuable at the business end of the contest. He is the obvious selection.

VERY SPECIAL is well in at the weights and could surprise a few here - though her wide draw is far from ideal for her running style. Godolphin's filly completed the Cape Verdi / Balanchine double. She led virtually throughout to beat Excilly easily by 3 lengths in the Cape Verdi over 1600 metres in February, and James Doyle employed the same tactics as she stepped up in class and distance in the Balanchine three weeks ago. Very Special was really attacking from the front that day, and moved up a gear as she came into the home straight. Last year's Dubai Turf fourth EURO CHARLINE was favourite but had no chance against Very Special, who ran on strongly to the line and beat her chief rival by 2 ½ lengths. She was even carrying 1,5kg (3lb) more than Euro Charline. The latter was making her first start of the year, she raced too keenly and was undoubtedly compromised by the way the race was run. Nevertheless, Very Special was so much the best and she will will probably beat Euro Charline again as they represent the fairer sex in the Dubai Turf.

REAL STEEL, a four-year-old son of champion Deep Impact trained by Yoshito Yahagi, also holds a strong chance here. He is versatile but 1800 metres seems to be ideal for this Japanese challenger. He tackled this distance on his first start of the year, when running a brave race for third in the Nakayama Kinen on February 28. The race was won by Duramente – who is one of the favourites for the Sheema. He made a taking comeback to hold a late charge from Ambitious by a neck, while Real Steel was just a half-length further adrift in third place. Real Steel was well fancied for this race and his performance was by no means a surprise. He was runner-up in three hot events last year; to Duramente in the Japanese 2,000 Guineas over 2000 metres, to Lia Fail in the Japanese St. Leger Trial over 2400 metres, and to Kitasan Black in the St. Leger – a classic contested over 3,000 metres. Real Steel actually beat Duramente in a Group 3 race over 1800 metres early on in 2015. He is a very game and consistent runner has a great chance on form, but his wide draw must be a concern.

FLAMBOYANT has been priced up at 33-1 by some bookmakers and that makes him an each-way bet. US turf runners seldom cut much ice in races like this but Flamboyant is a bit different. He is an ex-French runner who showed smart form at Pornichet and Cagnes as a young horse, he produced some good performances in the US last year, and he has turned a corner at Santa Anita this winter, to win the San Ganriel Stakes over 9 furlongs and the San Marcos Stakes over 10 furlongs, both in good style. Flamboyant was a 46-1 winner when finishing strongly to catch odds-son favourite Obviously in the San Gabriel in early January. It was no fluke. He came back to take the San Marcos the following month, this time beating the French G3 winner Gaga A readily by just under a length. Flamboyant comes here right at the top of his game, he will be well suited by the distance and the likely ground conditions. A strong pace will be to his advantage. But for Intilaaq, this 33-1 shot is right up there with the best of the rest on ratings.

TRYSTER is coming off two visuallly impressive off-the-pace wins over this turf course. He is sure to be the local favourite and looks like being the international favourite too. This race represents a step up in class for the Godolphin runner but he has a fine turn of foot, he has won his two races here at Meydan with such ease, and he is probably a fair bit better than his bare rating indicates. How good is this son of Shamardal? World Cup night should give us the answer. He came from last to first to win the Jebel Hatta, run over this trip three weeks ago. Tryster was considered the banker of the day, having humiliated his rivals in the Dubai Millennium Stakes just over two weeks earlier, and it was impossible not to be taken by the manner of his victory. He swooped past horses at the finish to win by 1 ½ lengths from Farrier, with Ertijaal (Aus) back in third. However, Tryster did not need to improve on his previous best to win that day and he has become a bit of a 'hype' horse in Dubai. He is up against a much stronger field this time.








Meydan 26 March 2016 – 1600 m (8f) dirt

Runners presented with best Globeform

ratings, sires, jockeys and post positions

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 2 pounds over this distance.

118p - MARKING (Bernardini) / J Doyle (2)

116 - SLOANE AVENUE (Candy Ride) / F Dettori (9)

115 - ONE MAN BAND (Pivotal) / S Hitchcott (1)

113 - COOL COWBOY (Kodiak Kowboy) / P Dobbs (8)

113 - PRAYER FOR RELIEF (Jump Start) / W Smith (10)

112 - MAFTOOL (Hard Spun) / P Hanagan (5)


111 - FAULKNER (Pivotal) / D O'Neill (4)

111 - GOLD CITY (Pivotal) / R Mullen (6)

? - GOD'S SPEED (Oratorio) / L Morales (7)


MARKING is the one to beat here. Nicely drawn in stall two, he will probably get a lead from the speedy One Man Band, who is set to break from the rail post. One Man Band is one of the dangers though, as he is hard to peg back if he gets loose on the lead. So his connections are not complaining about the draw either. Marking was favourite for his UAE debut in February, but went down on his knees and lost his rider as the stalls opened. The Kiaran McLaughlin trained Godolphin runner made amends with a highly promising handicap win over 1200 metres two weeks later, when he carried to top weight to victory over Kifaah, who was swept aside as Marking hit top gear in the closing stages. The winning margin was 2 lengths and the time was good. Marking again ran green and he looked to be in trouble turning for home. Stretching him out in distance makes a lot of sense. Marking ran second to North America's top sprinter, Runhappy, in last year's Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita, having previously outclassed his rivals in a good allowance race in New York by open lengths. McLaughlin entered him for the Cigar Mile after that win, but scratched as he was given a tough post (and looked likely to end up in a speed duel).

That his trainer considered the Cigar tells us that he has had mile races in mind for Marking all along, and he really makes a lot of appeal in this event.

SLOANE AVENUE was badly drawn when second in this race twelve months ago. Breaking from the outside post in a 15-runner field, he finished best of all to just fail in his attempt at catching the hot favourite Tamarkuz (who enjoyed post one). The Jeremy Noseda trained contender has stall 9 this time but with only ten runners it should be such a big problem. He prepped for this task by running second to Captain Cat in a four-runner affair at Kempton Park in February. Sloane Avenue was a hot favourite that day but we should probably not read too much into this one-length defeat, as the race was run totally differently to what suits him the best. Captain Cat, who is also a very smart performer, was able to dominate in front and Sloane Avenue could not quite cut him back. Sloane Avenue ideally wants a strongly run race with plenty of early speed, setting things nicely up for his closing style – and he is likely to get such a scenario here. He is a lightly raced five-year-old with 3 wins from 7 career starts. A typical miler, Sloane Avenue won a Listed event at Kempton Park as a three-year-old (beating last year's Cape Verdi and Balanchine winner Cladocera by a neck).

ONE MAN BAND has won four of his last five races, all over this course and distance, and this enthusiastic front-runner cannot be dismissed. He takes another step up in class here, though his rating says he could well be up to it. He has improved with every run this winter, and beat Heavy Metal by 6 lengths when taking a handicap over 1400 metres a month ago. He had previously finished second, 2 lengths behind Golden Shaheen runner Confrontation, in the Firebreak Stakes over 1600 metres.

COOL COWBOY won the final prep for this contest in good style three weeks ago. Facing seven rivals, including Al Maktoum Challenge II winner Le Bernardin, Cool Cowboy produced solid 3 3/4-length win after leading all the way. The course was favouring speed on the day but it was still a fine performance by Cool Cowboy. Probably his best ever. He was comfortably in command throughout and had matters wrapped up well before the winning post. German challenger Ross stayed on to take second, half a length in front of Le Bernardin. The Burj Nahaar was Cool Cowboy's seventh win from career 17 starts. Breaking from post 8, this Doug Watson's contender will probably be sent forward, and he could be the one to put early pressure on One Man Band.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF also holds each-way claims based on his best form, but his GF 113 was achieved when he ran third behind Lea and Confrontation in the Hal's Hope Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January, 2015. His best piece of form here at Meydan is his staying-on third in the Al Maktoum Challenge I, when he made his seasonal debut and came out worst in a three-way photo finish against Le Bernardin and Layl. He has since been fifth to Frosted in the second round of the series, and eighth to Tryster in the Jebel Hatta on turf.







Meydan 26 March 2016 – 1000 m (5f) turf

Runners presented with best Globeform

ratings, sires, jockeys, post positions

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 3 pounds over this distance.

120 - ERTIJAAL (IRE) (Oasis Dream) / P Hanagan (6)

120 - BUFFERING (Mossman) / D Browne (9)

119 - SOLE POWER (Kyllachy) / C Hayes (7)

118 - PENIAPHOBIA (Dandy Man) / J Moreira (5)

113p - LADY SHIPMAN (Midshipman) / I Ortiz Jr (13)

114 - BEL CANTO (Sakura Bakushin) / Y Take (3)

117 - GOLDREAM (Oasis Dream) / M Harley (8)

117 - MUTHMIR (Invincible Spirit) / D O'Neill (10)

115 - JUNGLE CAT (Iffraaj) / W Buick (2)

115 - NOT LISTENIN'TOME (Dylan Thomas) / R Moore (4)

112 - FITYAAN (Haafhd) / S De Sousa (11)

112 - NAADIRR (Oasis Dream) / C Soumillon (1)

110 - SIR MAXIMILIAN (Royal Applause) / P Dobbs (12)

Bel Canto, Lady Shipman; 2kg (4.4lb) sex weight allowance.

Add 4.4 to their rating for direct comparison with the males


ERTIJAAL (IRE) has been a vastly improved sprinter this year, and he goes into this contest as the favourite based on two impressive wins over course and distance. He showed smart form also in 2015, when winning a Listed event at Abu Dhabi and a handicap at Meydan, but he has now taken the step up to the elite. And only in Dubai can that be done via handicaps. Ertijaal ran off 108 on his reappearance, and outclassed his twelve rivals for an emphatic 4-length win. Divine finished second, three parts of a length in front of Speed Hawk. Ertijaal went straight to the lead, quickened away soon after the halfway stage and was way too good for his rivals. Surprisingly, the handicapper only raised his mark to 113, something that tempted connections to another handicap run rather than a step up to stakes action. Ertijaal won again of course, this time after having been nicely settle behind the early leader Caspian Prince (finished eighth) through the early stages. Paul Hanagan shook him up with about 300 metres to go, and Ertijaal responded with a strong finish. He won comfortably by 2 lengths from FITYAAN, who beat JUNGLE CAT by a nose to cause an upset in the Meydan Sprint on Super Saturday (Fityaan had two unplaced efforts in between these good runs).

This turf sprint looks quite open on ratings but Ertijaal is still a very obvious and logical selection. He has a lot going for here; right distance, right ground condition, home court advantage and, not to forget, every right to improve again.

BUFFERING, an Australian raider who has won on 6 of his last 12 Group One starts, is a serious threat – though this veteran prefers 1200 metres. Then again, he is a fast starter, and the early pace in this race could well be bordering on the extreme, meaning that Buffering's stamina edge will come into play at the finish. He is coming off an easy win in the Magic Millions Plate over 1300 metres in January. Buffering was a 1.30-favourite in that event, as he stood out as the class act in the field. As always, he was one of the fastest from the gates. Moving smoothly forward from a wide post, he led virtually throughout around the right-handed course to beat Mister Booze without being extended. His preceding start, a win in the Winterbottom Stakes on the left-handed Ascot course, was against much tougher opposition. Buffering had won the race back in 2013, and this time he beat Ortensia's stakes record by stopping the clocks in a sharp 1.08.17. Buffering used his excellent speed to get a clear advantage down the stretch, and he won safely by a length from the staying-on Watermans Bay, who franked the form when winning the Scahill Stakes over the same course a week later.

SOLE POWER won this event twelve months ago, when beating Peniaphobia by half a length, and the Irish trained warrior has a decent chance again. He had to settle for just a Group 2 win in Europe in the summer and was well beaten in seventh behind Peniaphobia in the Hong Kong Sprint in December, but bounced back to form with a good seasonal debut on Super Saturday – when he went down by just a head and a neck in a close finish against Fityaan and Jungle Cat. They both enjoyed race fitness advantage over Sole Power, who came with his customary strong run from off the pace. He is likely to turn the tables on both these rivals in the Al Quoz.

PENIAPHOBIA went straight to the lead and got first run on Gold-Fun, who had beaten by decisively in tre trail for the big sprint, when capturing last year's Hong Kong Sprint – a race run over the same distance as the Al Quoz but around a left-handed turn. This Hong Kong based gelding opened his 2016 campaign by finishing third behind Aerovelicity and Gold-Fun in the Centenary Cup on January 31, beaten 1 ½ lengths and a neck after meeting trouble in running, and he also looks set for a good run here.

LADY SHIPMAN represents the USA. This filly has 9 wins and four placings from 13 starts. She is a sharp lady who might surprise a few on the big day. Making her first start for Kiaran McLaughlin, having previously been with Kathleen O'Connor, she warmed up for this with a comfortable win in the Ladies' Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park in February. She won the 5-furlong event by almost three lengths from course specialist Katie's Kiss, with Jewel of a Cat (minor stakes winner & course specialist) a length further back in third place. Lady Shipman was long odds-on to beat these fillies but quite impressive nevertheless. She showed her high tactical speed throughout, and gave the impression that she is a progressive sprinter. The daughter of Midshipman won 7 races in 2015, including four stakes wins on the trot (all over 5.5 furlongs on turf). She was also second in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland. As always up with the pace straight away, she was a game runner-up to Mongolian Saturday, who beat her by a neck. Green Mask, who ran third in last year's Al Quoz, was a length and a half behind her in third. The 2014 winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, Bobby's Kitten, came home in fourth and Roal Ascot winner Undrafted filled fifth spot. Lady Shipman will probably be one of the qwuickest out of the gates but her one disadvantage may be that this is a straight course, while she is used to racing around a bend at home. Stall 13 is also an interesting factor, as it means she will be racing closest to the outside rail - while what she knows best is skimming the inside rail.

GOLDREAM, one of the top sprinters in Europe, seemed to need the race when finishing seventh to FITYAAN in the Meydan Sprint. He failed to finish his race off as we know he can in the trial, and came home 3 ¾ lengths behind the winner. He is much better than that showing suggests. His besty form has come over 5 furlongs / 1000 metres. Goldream tackled this distance successfully in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (beating Medicean Man in an incredibly close finish) and the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, where he was a neck too good for Rangali, with MUTHMIR beaten two lengths in third). Goldream seems best when allowed to adopt a 'sit and pounce' style, in other words when waited with just off the pace in the early stages. Such tactics have worked well for quite a few horses on Dubai's main turf sprint course, but he will need to step up on his seasonal debut form to win this contest.

MUTHMIR, who won the Prix du Gros-Chene at Chantilly and King Keorge Stakes at Goodwood last year, has also sharp form over the minimum trip – but he has won twice over 6 furlongs in England, and gives the impression that it suits his just as well as five. He prepped for the Al Quoz by running a close third behind Lightscameraction and Take Cover over the all-weather track at Lingfield Park a month ago (while giving them weight). Lightscameraction runs in the All-Weather Sprint Championship at Lingfield this Friday.

BEL CANTO, a five-year-old mare flying the Japanese flag, won the Iibis Summer Dash over 1000 metres at Niigata last August, when beating Symboli Disco by 2 lengths. She followed up in the Sho Kitakyushu Kinen (a G3 handicap) three weeks later, beating Big Arthur by 1 ½ lengths after racing prominently throughout. Bel Canto was beaten just a length when fifth to Snow Dragon in the 2014 Sprinters Stakes, but beat just two home when going for the same championship event last year.








Meydan 26 March 2016 – 3200 m (16f) turf

Runners presented with best Globeform

ratings, sires, jockeys and post positions

Globeform ratings are expressed in pounds.

1 length equals 1 pound over this distance.

120 - VAZIRABAD (Manduro) / C Soumillon (1)

117 - MANATEE (Monsun) / M Barzalona (8)

114 - BIG ORANGE (Duke Of Marmalade) / J Spencer (7)

114 - NEO BLACK DIA (Zenno Rob Roy) / S Akiyama (4)

112 - STAR EMPIRE (Second Empire) / W Smith (5)

111 - HAAFAGUINEA (Haafdh) / J Doyle (11)

107 - CERTERACH (Halling) / T O'Shea (6)

106 - MEADOW CREEK (Dansili) / P Dobbs (9)

106 - PARADISE (Samum) / M Demuro (2)

105 - TELLINA (Silvano) / R Moore (10)

105 - SUEGIOO (Manduro) / P Hanagan (3)


VAZIRABAD, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre in France, will be a tough nut to crack in this contest. This four-year-old son of Manduro notched up five straight wins at home last year, culminating in a game one-length success in the Prix Royal-Oak over 3100 metres at Saint-Cloud in Paris, where he beat older horses for the first time. Jockey Christophe Soumillon rode his normal patient and confident race on the gelding, biding his time at the back of the field early on. He delivered the favourite with a relentless run taking him past horse by horse in the home straight and Vazirabad won by a length from Siljan's Saga, who was also finishing well from off the pace. Mille Et Mille finished third and the well known globetrotter Cirrus des Aigles (who failed to see out the trip) came home in fourth place. A repeat of this level of form will probably be more than good enough to win the Dubai Gold Cup, and note that Vazirabad is open to further improvement.

MANATEE is the danger and, in a race where we could easily see a French exacta. He shaped like an 'Arc' contender last spring, when he carried a tough weight to a a solid win over dual Group One winner Prince Gibraltar in the Grand Prix de Chantilly over 2400 metres on soft ground. Jockey Mickael Barzalona had him in full flight as he took the lead with under 200 metres to go. Prince Gibraltar, winner of the Grosser Preis von Baden later on, stayed on for second, though was always held as the winning margin was three parts of a length. Agent Murphy finished third and Spiritjim took fourth.

Manatee stepped right up in class four weeks later but had to settle for fourth in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud, beaten by three high profile names; Treve, Flintshire and Dolniya. A break followed, before he was really thrown into the deep end in the Prix de l'Arc. Manatee finished 11th of the 17 runners in the big race, beaten 7 ¼ lengths behind Golden Horn. Manatee's next task was a test of stamina, as he went for the Prix Royal-Oak. The stayers' classic was won by Vazirabad, while Manatee was fifth, once more beaten 7 ¼ lengths by the winner. Manatee prepped for his trip to Dubai with a game second in the Prix Darshaan over 1900 metres (too short for him) at Deauville three weeks ago. Beaten a length by Elliptique, he pipped Sheema Classic contender Gailo Chop for second place.

BIG ORANGE won the Goodwood Cup over 2 miles in England last summer, beating Quest For More by a neck, with Trip To Paris back in third. He had previously won the Princess Of Wales's Stakes over 12 furlongs at Newmarket – taking the scalp of G1 winner Second Step no less, and he is a very interesting recruit to the European staying ranks. He ran no sort of a race at York three weeks after his Goodwwod win but produced a very respectable performance to finish fifth to Prince Penzance (beaten 2 ½ lengths while carrying 2.5kg more than the winner). Big Orange does live up to the first part of his name and the flat Meydan course will be to his liking.

STAR EMPIRE, third and second in the last two editions of this race, is also in with an each-way chance. He recorded his first win for almost three years when beating Elleval in a 2000-metres handicap in January, but don't be fooled by that stat; Star Empire is nothing but game and consistent. He has finished in the first three in eight of his last twelve races. Five of these runs came in Group company, while the rest were with tough handicap weights. The slow early pace was against him in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy three weeks ago. Star Empire was a bit slow from the stalls, took up a position in midpack, before fighting his way up to third place behind Sheikhzayedroad and Certerach. Star Empire acually carried too much weight on this occasion, due to a saddling mistake. He comes here in good form.

NEO BLACK DIA brings Japanese form to the table and he has run solid races in defeat againt top notch performers. Most notably when beaten under two lengths in fifth behind Gold Ship in the Tenno Sho Spring over 3200 metres at Kyoto last May, and when beaten a little over three lengths when ninth to Lovely Day in the Takarazuka Kine over 2200 metres the following month.






HANDASSA, a French trained runner owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, looks the one to beat in this year's Kahayla Classic. The massive son of Madjani won the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III as he pleased. Handassa took some time to find his stride but when he did, rounding the home bend going very wide, it was soon obvious who would win the contest.

He grabbed the lead early in the straight, and quickened away for a comfortable 8 1/2-length win over AF TAWAQ, with NASHMEE back in third place. SHAHEER finished fourth and the race favourite Abu Alabayad (who is missing in the Kahayla Classic) was fifth, passing the winning post 14 lengths behind the winner. Handassa, who showed clear signs of immaturity in the paddock, stopped the clocks in 2.15.5 – a new course record for the Purebred Arabians.

It was even his first run over a dirt track, as he had raced on turf and an artificial track (once) in Europe. Handassa won a Group 2 contest over 2100 metres last year. Stamina is clearly no problem and he is not short of finishing speed either. Handassa looked absolutely different class in a strong field on his UAE debut and jockey Paul Hanagan remarked after the race; “he gave me a feel like a thoroughbred turning in”. He is impossible to oppose.