Our Irish Eyes correspondent is in Dubai with his best World Cup bets
Last Updated: 28/03/14 7:35pm
Aidan O'Brien: Looks set to be among the winners at Meydan on Saturday
Our Irish Eyes correspondent is in Dubai and has the best bets from the Irish team for Saturday's Meydan card.
With 16 Irish-trained runners at Meydan, including the favourite in for the world’s richest race, the US$10 million Dubai World Cup, there is every reason to believe that Ireland can strike gold again this year, following two fantastic wins on the card for Aidan O’Brien in 2013.
O’Brien supplies the favourites for the two feature races on the card and has chances in another two races. However, it is Giovanni Boldini, the second favourite for the UAE Derby, who gets the nap selection.
He made his first appearance outside of quarantine on the Meydan track on Friday morning and looked an absolute picture and stripped very fit indeed. He has been trained with this race specifically in mind, his trainer is an expert in what it takes to win here and Giovanni Boldini is following a tried and tested route.
O’Brien's first shot at this race came in 2011 with Master Of Hounds was beaten by a mere nose having finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on last run the previous November. Daddy Long Legs finished down the field in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Dirt before landing the UAE Derby on his next start in 2012 and Lines Of Battle finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf prior to giving O’Brien a second victory in this race last year.
Giovanni Boldini also took the Breeders Cup route as a juvenile and ran a cracker, only mugged late on by Outstrip. It was more a case of not having enough time to respond that day as opposed to him not seeing out the trip and there are no worries about him staying the one mile, one and a half furlong trip of the UAE Derby.
Long John looked impressive when skating up on Meydan debut in the Group Three UAE 2000 Guineas last February but despite being bred for it, he appeared not to see out the trip in the Cox Plate.
It’s as simple as this, Long John is at best equal to Giovanni Boldini. However, with Long John having to shoulder an extra 10lb due to his Southern Hemisphere-bred status, he cannot be expected to come close to Giovanni Boldini. The bookmakers have been lazy and priced up the wrong horse as favourite so take advantage of their error and snaffle the prices on Giovanni Boldini now!
He has been chalked up at between 5/2 and 3/1 and that is simply a ridiculous price – his true chance of winning is closer to 6/4 and he is the strongest nap for this column since Hurricane Fly won over the Christmas period at odds-against. Act fast!
Another race the bookmakers seems to have got completely wrong is the feature race, the Dubai World Cup. O’Brien’s Ruler Of The World has been priced up as the 7/2 jolly which is quite astonishing considering the huge array of disadvantages he must overcome, even in what is admittedly a weaker renewal than usual.
First of all, there's his draw in 12. Granted, Animal Kingdom did win from the identical stall last year, but in 75 races run over further than one mile on the Tapeta this carnival, a winner has only once emerged from a gate above eleven.
Speaking of Tapeta, every trainer I have spoken to here has said you simply do not know if they will act on it until they run on it and Ruler Of The World has never encountered it previously. Then there is the fact that Ruler Of The World won the Derby by outstaying his opponents so this 1m2f trip is likely to be too short for him.
He did run well to finish third in the Champion Stakes over the same distance but that was on soft going, which brought his stamina into play. He ran a stinker on Irish Derby day when he was sent off 4/5 favourite. The ground was good-to-firm on that occasion and he got very warm and boiled over in the paddock beforehand.
Whether it was the firm surface or the warm weather and noise that resulted in him disappointing that day, we cannot be certain, but what we do know is he is going to have to overcome both of those elements again in the World Cup. At best you can see him staying on when the race is all but over and his is a lay at the prices, if ever there was one.
Whilst not an Irish-trained horse, Military Attack is at least Irish-bred and at a current price of 13/2 with SkyBet, he offers much more value than the current favourite in a very open race.
Magician takes his place in the US$6 million Dubai Sheema Classic and he has got a great draw in four. He is a hugely versatile and talented horse, having won a very strongly run Irish 2000 Guineas over a mile last year and emerging from a break of over four-and-a-half months to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf over a mile and a half.
Not only is Magician proven over a variety of trips but O’Brien has also shown he can bring him to concert pitch despite a long absence, therefore ruling out the worry about him not having had a run for almost four months.
Gentildonna will be looking for revenge, having finished second to the O’Brien-trained St Nicholas Abbey in the same race last year. The ill-fated and very popular ‘St. Nic’ had an official rating of 124 whilst the unexposed Magician is already on 123 and consequently he should have enough in reserve to fend off the dual Japan Cup winner.
Irish trainers supply five of the runners in the Dubai Gold Cup and it is the Willie Mullins-trained Simenon that gets our each-way vote here. Mullins is adamant that the horse has improved significantly from his first start at Meydan and this echoes the build-up of another Mullins-trained international warrior, Blackstairmoutain.
This time last year in Japan, Blackstairmountain finished a lowly nihth of 12 in his prep race (beaten 22 lengths) before proceeding to win the Nakayama Grand Jump, the richest jump race in the world outside of the Grand National, just three weeks later.
Simenon had his prep-race four weeks ago here in Dubai when he finished fifth, nine lengths behind the favourite for this race, Cavalryman. That was over two furlongs shorter and the step up in trip as well as the progress he has made fitness-wise since should see him in a better light. He is drawn widest of all but given the race is over two miles, that is not such a disadvantage as over the shorter trips.
When you take into account the positioning of the stalls, Pat Smullen has at least half a mile to manoeuvre him into a better position before he passes the post for the first time and has to contend with a bend. There is little doubt that Cavalryman is the horse to beat in this but Simenon has a decent chance of at least filling the places at 13/2 with Sky Bet.
Nap: Giovanni Boldini, UAE Derby, 2.25 Meydan
Next Best: Magician, Sheema Classic, 5.17 Meydan
Each-Way: Simenon, Dubai Gold Cup, 1.45 Meydan
Feature Race Selection: Military Attack, Dubai World Cup, 6.05 Meydan