Dubai World Cup horse race to feature $12M purse

The 2019 Dubai World Cup will take place on Saturday, 30th of March. Despite several weeks still to go before the richest race in the world is run, the buildup is growing. On the 3rd of January, the 16th annual Dubai World Cup Carnival kicked off. The event is the lead up to the World Cup which takes place at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Horse racing fans can learn more here about the 2019 Dubai World Cup. While the World Cup winner will take home $12m, the event’s total prize money has been increased to an astronomical $35m. The 2019 running of the Dubai World Cup could make or break a jockey’s, trainer’s, or horse’s career. Preparations are ongoing as the big day is just around the corner.

Dubai World Cup Carnival

The Dubai World Cup Carnival emerged from the gates in early January with over 200 runners from around the world battling it out for a piece of the $12.6m prize money. The carnival will see 10 race days. Nine of the race days will take place on consecutive Thursdays at Meydan Racecourse, while the 10th will be run on Super Saturday, 9th of March.

Super Saturday has become the traditional “dress rehearsal” for the Dubai World Cup. It gives horses, jockeys, trainers one last tune-up before the world’s richest horse race.

This year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival sees 71 trainers from around the globe taking part. The international trainers are up against local trainers and horses with famed Dubai-based horse training team Godolphin overseeing the events.

AGOS Horses to Watch

Dubai World Cup Favourites

The Dubai World Cup odds are already being tabulated by the world’s leading bookies. Whether these horses will make the elite race on the night remains to be seen.

Thunder Snow is the early favourite for the World Cup. Leading sportsbooks have Thunder Snow at odds of 7/2 with weeks still to go until the race’s running. A Godolphin owned horse, Thunder Snow won the 2018 edition of the Dubai World Cup. Thunder Snow is aiming to be the first back to back competition winner.

Dubai World CupFive-year-old Winstar Farm-Chinese Horse Club horse, Yoshida, is 8/1 to win the richest race in the world. Yoshida won two of his five races in 2018 with wins at Churchill Downs and Saratoga. The Japanese-bred horse finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, increasing hopes he can win the Dubai World Cup.

McKinzie was trained by legendary American horse trainer Bob Baffert and has early odds of 10/1 to win the World Cup. Baffert has stated McKinzie has the make-up of a Dubai World Cup winner. The trainer should know about winning the event as he has won it three times. Baffert won the Dubai World Cup in 1998 with Silver Charm and again in 2001 with Captain Steve. After 16 years without a win at Meydan, Baffert reached the winner’s circle a third time in 2017 with Arrogate. McKinzie has won five of his seven career races.

The Dubai World Cup will see the best of the best in horse racing descend on Meydan Racecourse in late March. The richest horse race in the world will see another name etched into history as they take home the largest purse in the sport.

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Dubai World Cup Carnival Analysis – Thurs., Feb. 2, 2017

Dubai World CupSteven Molyneux’s Meydan Overview and selections for the fifth meeting of the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Meydan Overview:

Where have all the horses gone? Two reopened races this week and none of the fields requiring reserves. Indeed, only one of the races needs stalls 11 and upwards which all suggests something is not quite right.

Sadly, injury has put pay to several of the foreign raiders – and could it be that Godolphin’s domination is scaring people away? Five winners from six thoroughbred races last week suggests it might, although the boys in blue themselves just have three representatives on Thursday so not a lot to be scared about there.

Horses rated 95-100 cannot compete in three of the six races on Thursday (you have to be rated 95 to be invited here), and a conservative estimation would suggest that has cost each field at least three or four runners. Rating bands have been shifted to try and encourage high-end horses to compete in handicaps, such as California Chrome last year, and therein may lie a problem. There simply are not enough high-end horses to go round, with one highly-respected visiting trainer describing Dubai as “the perfect place for a fully exposed horse to earn his corn”. I am pretty sure that is not the motto used on the marketing material for the Carnival each year.

So having bemoaned the lack of runners it should make life easier when it comes to finding winners, if only it were that simple. It may not have paid to look too far beyond the obvious last week but, despite the small fields, I am hoping it is the case on Thursday.

More on that later, first let’s have a look at the two feature races and in truth, success in the Al Shindagha Sprint and Al Maktoum Challenge could well go to local trainers. The dirt sprints are struggling to attract runners, only the Irish-trained Moviesta and Wild Dude are prepared to have a crack and while neither were disgraced on their initial goes on the surface here, they did not show enough to suggest they can beat last year’s Dubai Golden Shaheen winner, Muarrab. He may have given best to the old boy Reynaldothewizard last time but he had been well and truly softened up by Desert Force then and there should not be anything to worry about on that score now. Having also met with defeat on his return, the run last time was a definite step up on that and he should merit his odds-on status.

The second round of the Maktoum Challenge is less cut-and-dried. Le Bernardin had several of Thursday’s rivals in behind when landing the first round, and he is already proven over this far, but is now drawn in stall nine compared to stall one then. Lindo Amor seems the likeliest from that race to reverse form given it was his first start of the season and he was also inconvenienced out of the gates, but if there is to be an upset then perhaps it will come in the form of Power Blade who does not deserve to be the outsider of the lot. The Korean raider has plenty to find on ratings but was going on at the finish behind the potentially group-class North American last time, and the second has won since. It is also encouraging his compatriots have proven to be very competitive so far, acknowledging this is the hardest race any of them will have tackled.

The staying handicaps have not been the most competitive so far and I think Warrior Of Light has been too readily dismissed. He was only two and a half lengths behind Red Galileo on his return, from over a year off, and I hope the longer trip and expected stronger gallop will see him in far better light. He was effectively found out for a turn of foot, plus rustiness, and with his stablemate, Beach Bar, expected to bowl along out in front, he could upset some more exalted rivals.

It’s a true story that David Simcock went to the sales to buy Warrior Of Light and ended up with Polybius, while Brendan Powell went to buy Polybius and ended up with Warrior Of Light. More than fate alone has me tipping both as I think Polybius produced as eye-catching a performance as we have seen so far at the Carnival when fourth to Final Venture on his return. He could have run over 6f last week, but he absolutely tanked through that contest so no surprise that on just his second start for David Simcock, they have opted to drop him back to 5f. Final Venture, Steady Pace and Jamesie emerged from that race to pretty much run to the pound last week so the form is solid, and if Polybius can do the same, he looks overpriced from a good draw in stall 10.

Stephen Molyneux’s Dubai World Cup Carnival week five tips:

11.15am (ET) Meydan – Warrior Of Light

11.50pm (ET) Meydan – Power Blade

1.00pm (ET) Meydan – Polybius

Dubai’s Meydan Selections – Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017

Meydan Overview and selections for the second meeting from the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival.


Meydan Overview by Steven Molyneux

Victories for Mike de Kock, Christophe Soumillon, Godolphin and Ertijaal (the sprinting one) ensured an air of inevitability regards week one of the Carnival. We still learnt the odd new thing, primarily that Nicolas Caullery is a young trainer to keep an eye on. His Golden Wood upset the applecart in the very first thoroughbred race of the Carnival, and afterwards spoke, well his wife did, of their ambition to make a success of their 70-strong operation based at Chantilly. There was also the flickering into action of the new association between Jim Crowley and Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, two winners on the card blighted slightly by a two-day suspension incurred by Crowley in the finale, although I don’t think he will be too disappointed at missing out on the delights of Abu Dhabi this coming Sunday.

MUSIR winning in Dubai. Copyright Andrew Watkins

So that’s the new dealt with, because this week is pretty much all about the old. Dubai World Cup Carnival regulars such as Reynaldothewizard, Belgian Bill, Elleval, Jamesie and Sole Power (incredibly fresh on Wednesday morning) are all back in action. Whilst not a regular, Gordon Lord Byron will also be out after his late defection last week, his trainer, Tom Hogan, reporting him to have had nothing more than a minor ailment brought on by travel. The Irish raider goes in the turf, but we are on the dirt for the feature, the Dubawi Stakes, which brought up a minor bug bear of mine. Races named after horses despite the conditions for the race being in complete contrast to what said horse became famous for.

Perhaps if Reynaldothewizard wins the Dubawi Stakes for a fourth time the race will be given his name anyway, and sure enough Meydan will go positively wild. Yes that is possible on a standard Carnival night. If the now 11-year-old gets his head in front. He has been slower than normal to come to hand, understandable given his advancing years, but he has won first-time out in three of his five seasons here in Dubai, so can he weave his magic one last time?

Golden Shaheen winner, Muarrab, is the obvious one, and he is now without the penalty that seemingly anchored him behind My Catch on his reappearance. He will be fitter, but he is also not getting any younger, so take him on with Desert Force who is very much the new kid on the block here in Dubai. Two wins by a combined distance of 14.75 lengths over seven furlongs has seen his mark rocket from 87 to 108. Don’t worry about the drop to sprinting, his races have been shot to bits from half way and twice in his UK days he chased home Twilight Son over six furlongs. On each occasion he was leading that one approaching the final furlong and not beaten at all far. He has taken to the surface like few do, a proper ball of muscle and speed, and hopefully he can take this en route to much better things.

The 10:05am (ET) provides the first reasonable betting opportunity on the card. Red Galileo isn’t exactly a frequent winner (one from 21) and although he may hold a tactical advantage as the sole pace angle on his Godolphin debut, the Meydan turf isn’t the easiest to make all on. Carbon Dating is back to the well quickly after his second last week and has been thriving over shorter, which for me leaves Curbyourenthusiasm.

Curbyourenthusiasm strikes as the type to do well in Dubai and although I have already flagged up a potential lack of pace, that didn’t stop Golden Wood sweeping through from the back last week.

His last two efforts in handicaps have seen him victorious and hopefully the class act in the race can make it three.

Belgian Bill is probably worth a small investment in the 11.50am (ET). The nine-year-old is plainly vulnerable to more progressive sorts but he goes well fresh, loves Dubai and still has it in him having won a weak Group Two in Turkey last time. The handicapper saw it that way as well as his mark has remained on 100, which is 2lb lower than when running a cracker behind Franklin D in the Betfred Mile. From stall three, he can sit handy (there is a misconception he needs to be held up) and should give you a run for your money.

Also keep an eye on North America in the 11.15am (ET). He is thriving in a similar vein to Desert Force, although dominating from stall 11 asks a more severe question of him, as does just a two week gap after quite a hard race last time. There won’t be many more imposing sorts than him in the Meydan parade ring this Thursday.

Stephen Molyneux’s Dubai World Cup Carnival week two tips:

10:05am (ET) Meydan: Curbyourenthusiasm

11:50am (ET) Meydan: Belgian Bill

12.25pm (ET) Meydan: Desert Force