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Dubai Sheema Classic Preview – Saturday 31st March

Last updated: March 28, 2018 by Leon Marshal

The $10million Dubai World Cup takes place at Meydan on Saturday. It was the richest horse race in the world prior to the inaugural running of the Pegasus World Cup in 2017.

The Dubai World Cup is the climax of the Dubai Racing Carnival and remains one of the most sought-after prizes in flat racing. American champion Cigar won the first race in 1996. Dubai Millennium provided Sheikh Mohammed with the first of six winners for Godolphin when successful in 2000. Other notable winners include Singspiel (1997), Curlin (2008), California Chrome (2016) and Arrogate (2017).

Multiple horses running at the Dubai World Cup

Bob Baffert seeks fourth World Cup

Trainer Bob Baffert saddled Arrogate along with previous winners Silver Charm (1998) and Captain Steve (2001). He has the favourite again this year in West Coast, runner-up in the Pegasus World Cup in January behind Gun Runner.

The winner has since been retired so West Coast appears to be the form choice here. The four-year-old had finished third to the same horse in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. The son of Flatter has won five of his eight races including the Grade 1 Travers Stakes and the Pennsylvania Derby. He finished just over a length behind stable companion Collected at Del Mar. Those placings were emphatically reversed in the Pegasus with Collected fading to finish seventh.

Distaff winner in action at Meydan

Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled will represent Dallas Stewart. The six-year-old mare kept on strongly to beat Abel Tasman by half a length. She also won the Grade 1 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga when beating Songbird by a neck. This will be her final racecourse appearance before retiring to the paddocks.

Also successful at Del Mar was Godolphin’s Talismanic, trained by Andre Fabre in France. The five-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro beat Beach Patrol to claim the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf. He then finished a close second to Highland Reel in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. An impressive seasonal reappearance at Chantilly should have him in peak form for Saturday, his first competitive race on a dirt track.

Gunnevera finished behind West Coast when only fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He has around three lengths to make up on the Baffert-trained favourite. There was little encouragement in his remote third in the Pegasus, although he was given a lot of ground to make up.

Many horses running at the Dubai World Cup

Thunder Snow carries British hopes

Saeed bin Suroor sends Thunder Snow, a four-year-old colt by Helmet. He is fit from a winter campaign in Dubai, most recently finishing second to North America. Thunder Snow had finished a lot closer to that rival on his previous outing.

North America posted a career-best effort when easing to a five and a quarter lengths win last time. He has an excellent record on the track and is one of the more progressive runners in the line-up. Mubtaahij ran in this race a year ago when finishing fourth to Arrogate. He was no match for Accelerate in the Santa Anita Handicap earlier this month.

Pavel was eased down to finish one from last in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The grey ran better when fourth in the Malibu Stakes in December and filled the same sport last time out in the San Pasqual Stakes.

Dubai World Cup Betting Tips

West Coast @13-8 William Hill

Talismanic @8-1

Each-way 1/5 odds, 1,2,3

The Dubai Sheema Classic is due off at 5.10pm on Saturday 31st March and will be televised live on AtTheRaces and RacingUK.