ATTENTION switches from jump racing to the Flat this weekend, with all eyes on tomorrow’s multi-million pound Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Arrogate, the world’s best racehorse, faces 13 rivals in the Dubai World Cup (4.45pm) and is just 1/3 with 188BET to land the £4,878,049 first prize.
If the four-year-old reappears in the same form that has seen him win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Pegasus World Cup on his latest two starts, a win should be a formality.
There is a temptation to put up either fellow US raider Gun Runner or Mubtaahij as an each-way alternative to the favourite, but a bet like that is fraught with danger as tactics will be all-important.
It all depends whether Arrogate’s rivals are ridden to try to beat him, or to nick a place. Don’t forget there is a hefty £1.6 million up for grabs for finishing second.
Trading blows with Arrogate down the stretch at Meydan could spell disaster and if I was forced to pick one against him, then Keen Ice at 40/1 could pick up a place if the leaders go hard early.
There may only be a field of seven for the Dubai Sheema Classic (4.05pm), but what it lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality.
Last year’s winner Postponed looks the obvious one on paper, even though he was beaten in his prep race last month.
His trainer Roger Varian has been bullish about his wellbeing in recent days and he will be a tough nut to crack if in the same form as 12 months ago.
Still, he’s been drawn widest of all in stall seven and might not get things all his own way.
Aidan O’Brien saddles both Highland Reel and Seventh Heaven who warrant plenty of respect, but I’m prepared to take a chance on JACK HOBBS at 4/1 with 188BET.
The five-year-old, second to Golden Horn in the 2015 Investec Derby, cracked his pelvis at Newmarket last April and spent the best part of six months on the sidelines.
He didn’t reappear until finishing a close third to Almanzor in the Champion Stakes at Ascot in October which proved he retains all of his old ability.
He looks physically unrecognisable now that he has filled out and strengthened up.
Hopefully he can start to make up for lost time by winning tomorrow.
Ribchester, Decorated Knight, Mutakayyef and Mondialiste fly the flag for ‘Team GB’ in the Dubai Turf (3.30pm), but look to have their work cut out against French raider ZARAK.
Trainer Alain Royer-Dupre is a master at plundering international prizes like this and the four-year-old also has the benefit of a prep run here last month.
Zarak twice got within touching distance of Almanzor last summer and a reproduction of that form would make the generally available 9/4 look very attractive.
Finally, plenty expect the same owner/trainer/jockey combination to land the Dubai Gold Cup (12.50pm) with Vazirabad.
He’s looking for back-to-back wins in the valuable two-mile contest and a recent prep run would have put him spot on too.
However, at as short as 7/4, I’m willing to look elsewhere for value.
Meydan veteran SHEIKHZAYEDROAD looks overpriced at 10/1. He’ll relish the trip and may also have a fitness edge on some of his rivals.
Sheikhzayedroad e/w 12.50pm Meydan
Zarak 3.30pm Meydan
Jack Hobbs 4.05pm Meydan