Mystic Guide, Thegreatcollection among favourites for DWC
All eyes will be on Dubai this weekend as some of the world’s top horses, including a host of Godolphin contenders, convene at Meydan for Dubai World Cup Night on Saturday.
As befits a global operation, Godolphin will have runners from three different continents in the evening’s highlight, the G1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline.
Mystic Guide heads out from the US on the back of a career-best win in the G2 Razorback Handicap. Magny Cours impressed on his latest outing in France, while locally-trained Gifts Of Gold captured a valuable staying handicap in Saudi Arabia in February.
Godolphin’s Mike Stidham-trained Mystic Guide had an easy day on Monday morning, one day after blowing out 600m down the Meydan stretch. Ridden by jockey William Buick in said gallop, he will instead be piloted by Luis Saez in the big race on Saturday.
Assistant trainer Ben Trask has been in charge of the early Dubai prep of the emblazoned chestnut, a son of multiple Grade 1 winners Ghostzapper and Music Note.
“He just walked and grazed here today,” Trask said. “He came out of the work in great shape.”
Space Blues bids for a sixth straight victory in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint as Godolphin launches a strong team throughout the card, including significant challengers in both the G1 Dubai Turf and G1 Dubai Sheema Classic.
Torrential rain in Sydney forced the postponement of Rosehill’s Golden Slipper Day last weekend, with the racing rescheduled for this Saturday. Godolphin is set to be well-represented on a fixture that includes five G1 races, with top juveniles Ingratiating and Anamoe due to run in the Golden Slipper itself.
Chukyo hosts one of only two G1 sprints in the Japanese calendar – the Takamatsunomiya Kinen – on Sunday, 28 March. Right On Cue will be looking to emulate Fine Needle with victory in the prestigious race following an excellent return to action in the G3 Silk Road Stakes at the end of January.
The Flat season in the UK gets underway this weekend with the Lincoln at Doncaster and Godolphin will aim for a third victory since 2016 in the historic handicap with Meydan winner Eastern World.
Meanwhile, Red Stables boss Doug Watson has pinned high hopes on Thegreatcollection. Watson’s runner has improved throughout the season to earn his place in the big race, winning the Listed Dubai Creek Mile and finishing runner-up in the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge, then fourth on Super Saturday in the third round over Saturday’s 2000m course and distance.
Watson said: “He has been in great form all season and remains so. He has earned his spot on Saturday and hopefully draws well. They should go quick which will help him and, hopefully, he will be staying on in the straight.”
Salute The Soldier, a challenger represents the epitome of international racing having been foaled in Germany, initially campaigned in Britain before transferring to Bahraini Fawzi Nass to be teamed up with Dutch jockey Adrie de Vries.
The 6-year-old Sepoy gelding arrives at the big race having won the traditional Super Saturday dress rehearsal, the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3, having also landed the 1900m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 on his previous outing. Had the 2020 Dubai World Cup meeting gone ahead, Nass’ charge would have been among the main contenders for the Godolphin Mile, now he goes to the big race itself with a live chance.
Nass said: “We are looking forward to it and his season has gone as we had hoped, probably better! He showed last year he handled the Meydan dirt so that was not an issue but we needed to test his stamina.
“The Godolphin Mile was always an option but he has earned his place in the big race and proved he stays. His work has been good and we are very pleased with him so just hope for a reasonable draw.”
Egan teams up with Mishriff for Sheema Classic glory: Fresh from enjoying the biggest success in his still very young career, 2021 Saudi Cup-winning jockey David Egan is now hoping to add the Group 1 $5m Longines Dubai Sheema Classic to his growing record when he reunites with the John Gosden-trained Mishriff (IRE) on Saturday.
Some racing fans were surprised that the 4-year-old son of Make Believe would line up at the start of the 2400m showdown, which is run on turf, rather than in the Dubai World Cup itself, but Egan explained:
“The dirt in Dubai is not the same as the dirt in Saudi and I think the mile and a half will give him a pre-test run for the upcoming season.
“Whether they are aiming him at the top mile and a half races or whether they are thinking about dropping back for the remainder of the season. I think that he will stay and the Sheema Classic should be an exciting race.”
The 2021 season looks very promising for the 21-year-old jockey, who despite being the retained rider to Prince A A Faisal since 2020 was not on board Mishriff when he lifted the Prix du Jockey Club, also known as the French Derby, at Chantilly last year. Neither was he in Deauville when he won the Prix Guillaume d’Ornano, nor when he ran disappointingly in the Champion Stakes at Ascot.