Shadwell Dubai World Cup Preview 2018

Posted on: 27th Mar 2018

MUARRAB looks to take victory in the group 1 Golden Shaheen for a second time in the hands of Jim Crowley

It’s the biggest meeting of the year in the UAE, and HH Sheikh Hamdan has a team of seven runners with which to do battle on World Cup day at Meydan.

The card starts with the Group 2, Godolphin Mile, on dirt, in which the team runs Muntazah, one of four runners in the race for Doug Watson. A relatively new recruit from Europe, the Dubawi gelding has his first run on dirt here, but has a good draw in three and arrives in good form, having won the Listed President’s Cup at Abu Dhabi last time out.

The Dubai Kahayla Classic, the biggest Group 1 of the season for Purebred Arabians, has two live chances for HH Sheikh Hamdan, who has an excellent record in the race. It was a difficult choice for number one jockey Jim Crowley, but he has opted to ride Barnamaj over his Ali Rashid Al Rayhi stablemate Al Zahir. Both bring strong Group 1 form into the race, but Barnamaj, who will wear cheekpieces for the first time, has won on the dirt, having landed Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round II over 2200metres. He is drawn in four, with Al Zahir, the mount of Dane O’Neill, in six. The Group 1 Emirates Championship winner has excuses for his two runs on dirt so far, having been very wide the first time and then missed the break the second. He is no forlorn hope in what looks an open race.

Sheikh Hamdan has enjoyed a good time with his sprinters of late, and two run in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, over six furlongs. Al Rayhi’s Ertijaal has been second and third in the last two runnings of this race and deserves a big prize. Ridden by Jim Crowley, he will blast a trail up in front and will be hard to catch in the closing stages, although he may be prey to something closing late, such as Jungle Cat, who beat him last time over course and distance.  

Faatinah, a winner on his debut at Meydan for Australian trainer David Hayes, comes here fresh having missed the two prep races. A multiple Group winner at home, he too has a solid chance, under Dane O’Neill, in what looks an incredibly strong renewal of the turf dash.

 The Group 1 Golden Shaheen, also over six furlongs, but on dirt, features 2016 winner Muarrab, who lines up for Al Rayhi and Crowley. Winner of the Listed Garhoud Sprint over course and distance in December, his best would see him in the mix, although this looks a stronger race than the version he won two years ago.

South African training star Mike De Kock has just two runners on the card, and Shadwell’s Janoobi is his best chance of a winner. Successful in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile earlier on in the Carnival, De Kock says he is “in a really good place right now” and estimates a top three finish could well be achievable.

By Laura King

Tags: uae; dwc, meydan; arabian, thoroughbred, racing,