menu Essentials

Dubai Sheema Classic Preview – Saturday 31st March

Last updated: March 28, 2018 by Leon Marshal

The Dubai World Cup is the climax to a top quality card at Meydan on Saturday and is preceded by the $5million Dubai Sheema Classic.

This Group 1 mile and a half turf race was introduced in 1998 when Stowaway won for Godolphin. The famous blue silks have been carried to success on three subsequent occasions, Sulamani (2003), Rewilding (2011) and Jack Hobbs (2017). Postponed had won the Sheema Classic in 2016 for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni, setting a race record time in the process. Other notable winners include Fantastic Light (2000), Cirrus Des Aigles (2012), St Nicholas Abbey (2013) and Gentildonna (2014).

Two horses running at the Dubai Sheema

Cloth Of Stars the pick of Godolphin trio

Godolphin are set to run three horses as they seek a record fifth win in the race. Cloth Of Stars looks certain to start favourite, a five-year-old son of Sea The Stars. A victory for him on Saturday would be a good pointer to his recent Chantilly conqueror Talismanic. The winner may have had the run of the race that day and Cloth Of Stars stayed on nicely in second. That should have brought him nicely to his peak and he has to be respected. Andre Fabre’s horse ended last season by chasing home Enable in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Best Solution looked an exciting prospect when winning the Lingfield Derby Trial last May. He possibly found the going a shade too quick when only eighth at Epsom and seems to be better suited by cut in the ground. He relished the soft ground when winning the Group 3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury in October.

A smooth success at Meydan in February was followed by a modest ninth behind Hawkbill earlier this month. He lost all chance when carried wide in that race and the form can be safely ignored. Hawkbill also likes to get his toe in but battled on gamely to beat Frontiersman at Meydan last time.

Dettori booked for Poet’s Word

There is plenty of confidence behind the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Poet’s Word. He made dramatic improvement last year to finish runner-up in two Group 1 races. He was denied by Decorated Knight in the Irish Champion Stakes before finding Cracksman much too good at Ascot in October. Stoute decided to send him for the Hong Kong Cup in December and he was far from disgraced in sixth place. His recent work has been encouraging and connections will be disappointed if he is not in the frame on Saturday.

Rey De Oro is trained in Japan by Kazuo Fujsawa and won the Grade 1 Japanese Derby last year. He followed up in the St Leger trial before finishing runner-up in the Japan Cup in Tokyo. He had Aidan O’Brien’s Idaho four lengths back in fifth place that day. Rey De Doro warmed up for the Dubai Sheema Classic by finishing third to Clincher at Kyoto in February.

Joao Moreira rides Satono Crown for Noriyuki Hori, a six-year-old son of Marju. He finished second in the Grade 1 Tenno Sho in October before finishing only tenth in the Japan Cup. He has a lot to do to reverse that form with Rey De Doro and was slightly disappointing on his latest start in December.

One horse bolting ahead at the Meydan racecourse

Ryan Moore teams up with Idaho

Idaho has been slightly frustrating for his followers. The five-year-old was place in the English and Irish Derby as a three-year-old. He looked a worthy favourite to win the St Leger only to stumble and unseat his rider. He gained a deserved victory in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last June but has been beaten in all five subsequent starts. He was a fair fifth in the Japan Cup but needs to improve to finish in front of Rey De Doro.

Harbinger filly Mozu Katchan finished only a nose behind Rey De Doro in Kyoto last month and could be over-priced. That run came after a 91-day absence since winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the same course. Fillies and mares have a good recent record in this race, with Dar Re Mi (2010), Gentildonna (2014) and Dolniya (2015) all proving successful.

Dubai Sheema Classic Betting Tips

Poet’s Word @9-2 Ladbrokes

Mozu Katchan @14-1

Each-way ¼ 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.