I’m leaning towards Pisa in the Dubai World Cup...

TOM Queally rides Twice Over for Henry Cecil in tomorrow’s Dubai World Cup and the pair are as short as 2/1 with Paddy Power to land the staggering £3,846,154 first prize.

The triple Group One winner looked really impressive over course and distance at the beginning of the month and is definitely the one to beat. However, this looks his toughest assignment to date and his horror draw in stall 12 of 14 puts me off slightly.

Aidan O’Brien’s boycott of Dubai is now over and his Cape Blanco is next best at 9/2 with William Hill. He must go close from stall four, a much better draw than Twice Over, but that’s reflected in his price and I’m not too keen on the fact that all the Ballydoyle runners have virtually only just arrived.

Gio Ponti looks to have regressed over the last 12 months, while I’m convinced Poet’s Voice is better suited by a mile. That leaves the Japanese pair Buena Vista and VICTOIRE PISA and my preference is for the latter as he is well drawn, race fit and looks on the upgrade.

The pair were separated by a nose in a Grade One in Nakayama on Boxing Day, but they both have plenty of form that ties in with the best of Europe. Victoire Pisa was seventh in Workforce’s Arc when set far too much to do, while Buena Vista was a disqualified winner of the Japan Cup with Joshua Tree and Dandino well beaten.

I’m prepared to take an each-way chance on Victoire Pisa at 12/1 as, apart from having a good draw, he also stays every yard of the trip and has far more class than his price suggests.

Elsewhere on a cracking card, I’m keen on TRIPLE ASPECT each-way at 16/1 in the Al Quoz Sprint (1.15pm). William Haggas’s charge has picked up a late invite, but goes well fresh and could surprise a few. Still, he’ll need to be at his best to see off J J THE JET PLANE.

The Godolphin Mile (1.50pm) looks impossible although the ultra-consistent AS DE TREBOL looks hugely overpriced each-way at 33/1 and could easily hit the frame.

Only ten runners line up for the Golden Shaheen (3.05pm) and all eyes will be on hot favourite Rocket Man to make up for last year’s defeat. Yet, he was beaten fair and square that day and I prefer to stick with the US sprinters and like the chances of the speedy EUROEARS at around 9/2.

I’ll be backing the Mike De Kock trained pair RIVER JETEZ and RAIHANA each-way at 14/1 and 20/1 respectively in the Dubai Duty Free (3.45pm) as they are too big for course specialists. The same can be said for CALVADOS BLUES who can be backed each-way at 25/1 in the Sheema Classic (4.50pm).

Finally, I’ll post my fancies for the sportingbet.com Winter Derby and the rest of the weekend’s action on Twitter @BillEsdaile later today.


Dansili Dancer must have a great chance in the Winter Derby tomorrow at 3.10 but he is going to have to go some to beat Nideeb for the Clive Brittan/Philip Robinson combination.

Nideeb has a great draw, the race should be run to suit and he’s also won over course and distance - everything is in his favour. 9/4 is a cracking price and you shouldn’t let me put you off but I think the real value lies with NICE STYLE (5% e/w). This son of Desert Style leaves the impression of an improver and even though he is drawn out in stall 12 I reckon he can travel to the final bend looking all over the winner. As such he should be much shorter in-running and you can lay your early morning prices to take advantage.

The World Cup card at Meydan looks a real cracker and the World Cup itself should be top draw. I’m very worried about not tipping a runner called Buena Vista (think Cheltenham) as it could have a great chance with Ryan Moore in the saddle but I’ve always found not backing a Mike De Kock runner a mistake and so I will be having a bet on both MUSIR (3% e/w) and GOLDEN SWORD (1% e/w) in the big race.