Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan is one of international racing’s most prestigious events and it is centre stage on Saturday.
The main event goes off at 4.35pm GMT and is one of three live races for terrestrial viewers available on ITV Racing – with special coverage presented via a Racecourse Media Group-produced programme full of faces familiar to UK viewers, including Rishi Persad (ITV Racing), Nick Luck (Racing TV) and Ruby Walsh, both networks’ expert analyst.
Our racing expert has selections for the trio of Group 1 contests that will be shown live on ITV4.
Dubai World Cup Night predictions, Saturday March 25
Odds correct at time of publishing and subject to change.
3.10 – Dubai Turf Sponsored By DP World (1m 1f, Group 1)
As can be expected, there is a strong British presence for the feature turf races on World Cup Night, with a field of 14 set to battle it out in the Dubai Turf.
Real World was disappointing here three weeks ago, but that was his first start since finishing second behind Baaed at Royal Ascot last June. Saeed bin Suroor will be hopeful of a better showing now and has secured Oisin Murphy to ride.
Master Of The Seas for Charlie Appleby and Order Of Australia for Aidan O’Brien are good performers on their day, while Lord North may be seven now but still retains the class to go close and is race-fit ahead of his quest to win this for the third year running.
A poor draw goes against Nations Pride, winner of a Group 3 here last month and the choice of William Buick seemingly, so that leaves SERIFOS.
He was a top-level winner in his homeland in November and Japanese horses have a fine record in this race, with five wins since 2014, including the dead-heat Panthalassa shared with Lord North last time.
Tip: Serifos @ 7/2 with Betfred
Next best: Nations Pride @ 15/2 with Betfred
4.00 – Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (1m 4f, Group 1)
Equinox could easily be another for Japan, having won the Arima Kinen at Nakayama on Christmas Day in fairly clear-cut fashion. He is a four-year-old on the rise and heads the market for this latest test, just the seventh run of his career.
Mostahdaf is solid for John and Thady Gosden with Jim Crowley up, while last summer’s Irish Derby winner Westover commands respect alongside another of the Japanese raiders, Shahryar.
Dubawi gelding REBEL’S ROMANCE enjoyed a stellar 2022 for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby. He was a Group 3 winner at Glorious Goodwood in the summer, ventured to Germany afterwards to plunder two top-level successes there, and signed off a perfect five-race campaign with a decisive win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland, Kentucky, in November.
He can give the favourite plenty to think about under Buick.
Tip: Rebel’s Romance @ 9/2 with Betfred
Next best: Westover @ 6/1 with Betfred
4.35 – Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (1m 2f, Group 1)
The biggest race of the carnival in Dubai and the centrepiece of the season at Meydan brings a cool £6m to be banked by the winner of this prestigious dirt contest.
Last year’s Dubai Turf dead-heater Panthalassa would be dangerous if he got his own way, as he did when winning the Saudi Cup four weeks ago from reopposing Country Grammer.
That Bob Baffert-trained contender has Frankie Dettori on board in his final World Cup appearance, and the Italian would be the record-holder on his own if he can clinch this for a fifth time.
They have strong claims but, rather like Panthalassa and leading UK-based contender Algiers for Simon and Ed Crisford, the draw has not been kind as that trio are widest of all in this 15-runner affair. They will all be reliant on some good fortune.
T O KEYNES, by contrast, is in stall six and perfectly poised for Oisin Murphy to mount a challenge.
He is very closely matched with Ushba Tesoro based on their clash at Kawasaki in February. Both Japanese contenders are sporting first-time hoods now and, with Murphy ever so eager to shine on this grand stage so soon after his return to the saddle, he can give Daisuke Takayanagi’s charge the perfect steer to reverse placings with Ushba Tesoro.
Tip: T O Keynes @ 10/1 with Betfred
Next best: Algiers @ 7/2 with Betfred
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