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Ladbrokes Irish Grand National
Horse Racing: 5.30 Fairyhouse: Grade 2 Novice Hurdle (2m4f)
Tuesday 26 April 2011 - Kickoff 5:30


Another terrific card at Fairyhouse in Ireland today with no less than four graded races, they all look fairly open but I’m going to Grade 2 Novice race in search of a winner.

GAGEWELL FLYER ran out of steam late on when eventually pulled up in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival but he had made a big impression in winning Grade 2 events at Naas and Punchestown previously and the return to this shorter trip should see him return to something like his best form. Flemenstar looked a smart prospect when beating Rattan with ease in a 2m maiden hurdle at Navan last month and is well worth this rise in grade with similar comments applicable to Last Instalment, unbeaten in two starts over timber. Perfect Smile could only finish sixth at Aintree but he has some decent form in top company to his name with the consistent Pineau De Re also holding sound form claims.

12 runners go to post and they all run off level weights except the top one Gagewell Flyer who has a 5lb penalty for being successful in a similar race earlier in the season. Every horse in the race has won at least one race including bumpers and hurdle races and will be a fascinating contest.

Starting with the top weight trained by Willie Mullins and ridden for the first time in a year by Ruby Walsh, Gagewell Flyer has been very impressive this year rattling up a three timer and leading all the way in all of them, he was stepped up to 3 miles last time in the Albert Bartlett race at Cheltenham and didn’t stay the trip although he ran well for a long way behind Bobs Worth. All of his wins have come on softer ground but that’s the same for the majority of these. Back down to 2m4f he should be hard to pass and represents the best form in the race.

Favourite at the moment is Last Instalment. Philip Fenton’s 6yo is unbeaten over hurdles and still progressing. He has been well backed in each race and just held on last time at Limerick. Davy Russell takes the ride and is obviously well regarded by connections and can’t be dismissed lightly.

One I like is Fenton’s other runner Pineau De Re, he won on his comeback at Limerick and a terrific second to Zaidpour since reads really well, the last twice he has been stepped up in trip and been placed on both occasions including a third to Gagewell Flyer when he was beaten just over 5 lengths, well he has a 5lb pull in the weights today so shouldn’t be far away and the 8/1 at Stan James is a fair price.

Of the others Perfect Smile trained by Noel Meade could be involved, he was well beaten at Aintree last time behind Topolski but it was a very slow pace that day and it wouldn’t have suited this horse at all so today’s race should see him in a different light, his overall form is very solid and will be ridden by the in form Paul Carberry .

The race will be all about the pace set by Gagewell Flyer, sure to lead these a long way and they will be snapping at his heels turning into the home straight, Ruby Walsh is a master tactician and will at sometime get a breather into the horse and hopefully save something for the finish. At 4/1 with Boylesports he looks the bet for me with a saver on Pineau De Re.
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Ladbrokes Irish Grand National
Horse Racing: 16.55 Fairyhouse (3m 5f )
Monday 25 April 2011 - Kickoff 16:55


There is always a top class list of entries for the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse with 30 runners generally going to post on Easter Day. We see some top class stayers in the Irish National and this year is expected to be no different with plenty of top class types set to take their chance. We often see some potential Aintree Grand National stars of the future run in the Irish equivalent as connections look to see if their horses are going to stay the trip on offer in the Irish National. The Irish Grand National Runners will be revealed at various stages with the final list of entries known 48 hours before the race. The crucial factor for punters to look at here is the weights that each horse is allocated and we will be keeping a close eye on that as the handicapper makes that all important decision.

A maximum field of 25 will line up for the Ladbrokes Irish Grand National today but as I write the favourite Beautiful Sound trained by Gordon Elliott is a very doubtful runner as he’s currently the second reserve and needs two horses to drop out before 1.35pm to get a run, it’s an amazing scenario, Elliott has said he will be ringing every other trainer in the race this morning in the hope that one or two have doubts about the ground and may not run, the other possible outcome is if that just one is declared a NR he could well take his other horse Backstage out of the race enabling Beautiful Sound to take his place.

Whatever happens the betting market will be a strange one leading up to the race with bookies not knowing if to shorten the odds of the fancied runners or to stick and apply the rule 4 if the favourite comes out.

If Beautiful Sound does run he has a major chance on his third at the Cheltenham festival behind Holmwood Legend, he’s only two pounds higher here and hasn’t had a busy time of it so will be fresher than most. Paul Carberry takes the ride and will jump on Backstage if the worst happens for Elliott. Backstage was a fancy of mine for the Aintree national but never got competitive although jumped round ok, he could be a useful sub for Carberry if bouncing back to earlier form.

Dermot Weld runs Prince Erik and is second favourite, he is still in the novice stage of his fencing career, he jumped poorly when first tried over the larger obstacles but has recently won two races over shorter trips, it’s a big ask and a doubt must be over this kind of distance and if his jumping will hold up in a big field and not one on my shortlist.

The trends point towards a 7 or 8 year old taking this and carrying less than 11st, well that doesn’t count many out but one that fits the bill is The Last Derby, he showed his class when winning at Ascot last year and has been lightly raced since but his third in the Cork National last time was a cracking effort and but for a bad mistake at the last would have been closer. Will appreciate the better ground here and is a value bet at 12/1 with Bet365.

The English are represented by Quantitativeeasing, sent over by Nicky Henderson, he is a progressive type not long out of the novice stage, he won races in his first season and was second to Divers at the festival on his last outing. Not been this far but was entered up in the 4m race at Cheltenham so the stamina isn’t a worry for connections, he could be well in on 142 and AP takes the ride. Best priced 10/1 with Totesport and that looks a fair.

One at longer odds to follow could be Saddlers Storm, he’s trained by Tony Martin and Graham Lee goes over to take the ride. He was unplaced behind Junior at Cheltenham but was staying on and was still in the hunt in this race last year when unseating six out. He’s sure to stay the trip and the trainer knows how to get one ready for the big handicaps, at 20/1 with Bet365 he represents a bit of value.

Ultra competitive race as usual and the added problem of the doubts about the favourite just make it even more of a guessing game at this stage, I’ll take three against the field and ignore Beautiful Sound as he does look likely to miss the race now.d

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2011 Aintree Grand National Festival

Official Website: http://www.aintree.co.uk/

Racing: As Always Rugby Union or Attheraces .

We got to the last major festival of the jumps season, not many racing categories such as quality or Cheltenham, but with a special attraction, that race nondescript which is the Grand National. In any case, it is a sight to enjoy ...

However, this year we will have a great first day, with the participation of two of the stars of the moment: Big Bucks and Long RunIn careers and highlighted by Tiglath. From there, a lot of interesting races, of which try to take advantage once again. And finally, the Grand National, as always the most unpredictable and open race in the world ...

Here's a brief description of each day to help with your planning.

Thursday 7th April - Liverpool Day

Thursday will be a celebration of Liverpool-inspired entertainment, sport and music in one of the world’s most unique cities. Top flight racing returns to the course with the totesport Bowl, the John Smith’s Liverpool Hurdle, plus racing over the Grand National course in the Foxhunters' Steeple chase. 2010 saw a great line up of entertainment - announcements for 2011 will be made soon.

2:00 BGC Partners Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 3m110y
2:30 Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 2m110y
3:05 totesport Bowl Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 3m1f
3:40 John Smith´s Fox Hunters´ (Class 2) Cl2 2m5f110y
4:15 matalan.co.uk Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 2m
4:50 totepool Manifesto Novices´ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 2m4f
5:25 Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 2m4f

Friday 8th April - Ladies' Day

Raceday fashions provide a spectacle of colour in the Red Rum Garden as Aintree's famous Style competition returns with huge prizes up for grabs for Aintree’s most stylish racegoers. The day’s big feature races include the John Smith’s Topham Steeple chase, run over the national course, with the John Smith’s Melling Steeple chase and the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle completing an exciting race card.

Why not make your Ladies day a special day with our rang of Ladies Day Hospitalitypackages?

2:00 John Smith´s Top Novices´ Hurdle Grade 2 Cl1 2m110y
2:30 John Smith´s Mildmay Novices´ Chase Grade 2 Cl1 3m1f
3:05 John Smith´s Melling Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m4f
3:40 John Smith´s Topham Chase Handicap (Listed Race) Cl1 2m5f110y
4:15 John Smith´s Sefton Novices´ Hurdle Grade 1 Cl1 3m110y
4:50 John Smith´s smithythehorse.com Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 Cl1 3m110y
5:25 John Smith´s Mares´ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed Race) Cl1 2m1f

Saturday 9th April - John Smith's Grand National Day

All eyes are on Aintree as forty of racing’s biggest stars set off in front of an audience of 70,000 at 4.15pm in a bid to win the world’s greatest Steeplechase. And for the spectators in attendance? A chance to say you took your place and were part of history as another chapter of the famous race is written.

1:45 John Smith´s Mersey Novices´ Hurdle Grade 2 Cl1 2m4f
2:15 John Smith´s Maghull Novices´ Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m
2:50 John Smith´s Aintree Hurdle Grade 1 Cl1 2m4f
3:25 John Smith´s Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 3m1f
4:15 John Smith´s Grand National Chase (Handicap) Grade 3 Cl1 4m4f
5:00 John Smith´s Handicap Hurdle (For Conditional Jockeys And Amateur Riders) Cl2 2m110y
5:35 John Smith´s Champion Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race Grade 2 Cl1 2m1f

Matalan Anniversary Juvenile Hurdle (2m110y)

Only ten runners go to post for the juvenile hurdle which is a surprise for such a decent prize of over £50,000 and a Grade 1 event too.

The race is usually a follow up for those that ran in the Triumph hurdle at Cheltenham and this year is no different with five horses renewing their rivalry including the first and third, Zarkandar and Grandouet. Those two dominate the market and it’s easy to see why as they finished well clear of the pack that day and their form is hard to pick holes in.

Zarkandar has been a revelation for connections; he won his debut at Kempton and surprised trainer Paul Nicholls and was only put in the Triumph at the last minute, he went on to win that race with a terrific turn of foot and this track should suit him well, being lightly raced he has plenty to offer and will be hard to beat. He’s 10/11 favourite at William Hills.

Grandouet is interesting, he came over from France and pulled much too hard when he started his hurdling campaign over here, since then he has improved leaps and bounds and was the ante post favourite for Cheltenham such was the impressive form he had shown this season. He took it up approaching the last in the Triumph but was outpaced up the hill, Aintree may suit him much better and trainer Nicky Henderson is hoping he can turn the tables here.

Of the others that were behind at the festival Third Intention may be one that could improve and get closer this time, he was seventh and stayed on well that day and if he can settle better he will battle all the way to the line. He was beaten by Local Hero who was eighth at Cheltenham in an earlier race and Steve Gollings horse is ridden by AP McCoy today and he too should like this track better than the undulations of Prestbury Park. His only disappointment so far was on heavy ground so the better ground will help too.

The ex Luca Camani flat horse Launchpad represents the Irish challenge, he won last time out at Thurles and this is his first race in this type of company, he could improve but will certainly have too to get involved. The Alan King trained Kumbeshwar has an outside chance, he chose the Fred Winter route at Cheltenham and ran a cracker to finish second behind What A Charm. He had earlier finished third to Zarkandar so that form looks rock solid and shouldn’t be far way here.

However many times I look at the race I can’t get away from Zarkandar, he has the best form, he’s improving, lightly raced and the track should suit, the 10/11 could look generous by the off time. For an outsider I’m going to take a chance with Local Hero, if he can just get his jumping sorted out I’m sure he has a big race in him one day, at 18/1 with Stan James he looks a bit of value to me.

Selections;

3pts Win Zarkandar 10/11 William Hills

1pt Each Way Local Hero 18/1 Stan James

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The duel between Big Buck's and Grands Crus. Specialized pages, mostly, if not all, are very dificl Grands Crus that can swap the tables on Big Buck's apparently seen in what happened at Cheltenham. I do not agree, what I saw, is that in the sprint, Grand Crus He stuck his nose and stuck it to Big Buck's with a clear apraiencia win. I miss you breath in the final meters.

Scudamore's tactic was clear: it was in line for the whole race and the last third look for the slipstream of Big Buck's to try to catch him in the final stint. I do not like that kind of tactic is one thing that you have a jako megasuperior as it did in previous races but what can not be is that you stay in the tail of the pack while Big Bucks in leading group is well protected. If you already mantiens output queue means that the initial remora, your jako going to have to make an extra effort that goes against the well-guarded in his head. Not a question of being the hare race but if you go on headboards posts by Big Bucks and gamble with on equal terms. I think we should change the tactic and that is what will make tomorrow.

My bets will air in the following sense:

Placed Back Grands stake Crus@1.66 5

And a trade, thinking that Scudamore changed tactics and this time if it is located near from Big Bucks in the race instead of going in the queue, so that the proximity of both jakos until hostilities comes on the third utlimo , could generate more than madness and a possible trade.

Grands Crus back and see you tomorrow @ q porq believe that share will rise @ 5.10 you are paying now. 3.5 Stake

The sale of Grands Crus in the same stake lay@4.2 3.5

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As alTotesport Bowl Chase (Grade 1) in the year that will Denman, I think Denman is a very iregular jako. Except for the Gold Cup's where if you answered (the last two years) in the remaining races has not done what was expected of its class jako recently. I still remember the debut of mccoy mounted this horse with a jump Newburi mediocre and the Gold Cup in which despite this second place, it exhibited a very Catholic Jump to say.

The remaining horses are remarkable neither lot not a lot of confidence,

Deep Purple recently has nothing remarkable to think of something strong tomorrow.

Nacarat can have its dangers as a magnificent Brennan jockey in a race with only 6 jakos that provides enough tactic but it has nothing too solid.

A Punchestowns despite what was expected of him in the major obstacles following his superb performances in the hurdles, has not responded. I see very green in jumping but may be the time bomb of race given that his trainer is Henderson and ridden by Geraghty, another superb jockey.

Legacy Caroles I like. Will be the lightest of the lot, driving Mccoy O king trainer henderson. I see his last race at Cheltenham 2 / 19 class 1 grade 3. Good jump and good sprint. Great driving by Geraghty, I think jako pay a slight error in the q gallop seems torompicarse and that cost her career losing by less than two bodies. Salto pretty flawless, I think it can be an asset tomorrow.

So, rather than the direct lay Denman, seduces me much more the idea of ​​Back to the 3 jakos in my opinion the rolling 3-jockeys can not be more perrakos: Brenan, Geraghty, Mccoy, the three most smug of Chantilly. Pirates of the tactic with the knife between his teeth thanks to good odds Denam favoritism that I see with good quality and maybe jump, with his age, can afford the effort of Cheltenham Gold Cup final.

Stake 3 Nacarat@5.8 or similar back

Stake 3 Punchestowns@6.6 or similar back

Stake 3 Caroles Legacy@7.2 back or similar.

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Exhibition of Tiglath on the two main races of the day I have nothing more to add except that perhaps I prefer a dry Lay Denman, although the lot is not no big deal, you might even win ... The Grand Crus placed is not as high as at Cheltenham, but still very valuable, the twin is again clear, the only thing that scares me is that by trying to be more aggressive against Big Buck end up committing a fault ...

My two races of the day:

2:30 Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 2m110y

After the extraordinary display of Zarkandar in Cheltenham, returns to the fray in a lot of less importance, in which only highlights Grandouet, Zarkandar third in the last race, five bodies. The land today, softer works best for Grandouet, but not enough to beat a plethora Zarkandar, which has a perfect year with two straight wins in individual races Group. Remember that half-brother is one of the best mares in the history, Zarkava, who would have been better not to have withdrawn as soon ... With an unparalleled explosion, his only weakness is the technique in the jump, which ever is more polished, so unless error or disaster, today should win again.

5:25 Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 2m4f

Very open race in which there are several candidates, with very juicy fees. At first the one I like is all Megastar: I think goes well in the handicap weight, is winning on the track and comes to achieving a creditable 5th place in Group 1 in Cheltenham ... Maybe you need some experience and still not winning the year, but should be in the coming ... Worth the risk ...

WIN 3 uds@1.95 Zarkandar BF

Megastar PLACE 2 uds@2.90 BF

2011 Dubai World Cup Contenders

It’s almost cliché to discuss how a single horse can unite a nation under one umbrella, but it’s worth mentioning that all eyes will be firmly-fixed on Japanese mare Buena Vista (Special Week) as the Hiroyoshi Matsuda-trained miss will have a run at the 2011 Dubai World Cup this Saturday. You could only imagine the cheers and uplifted spirits on an island recovering from a nearly indescribable series of disasters if the Japanese-bred crosses the line first against a cadre of international racing superstars. That is the power of horse racing.

It won’t be a Dubai debut for the reigning Tenno Sho winner as she acquitted herself very well to take second in the Group 1 Sheema Classic on World Cup day last year. That prior run in Dubai, coupled with a lay-off of only three months or so puts the bay or brown mare in a solid spot. Many will remember her disqualification in the Group 1 Japan Cup as she supposedly impeded Rose Kingdom (King Kamehameha) during the final furlong.

Her most recent effort came at Nakayama on boxing day as she came in a respectable second in the Group 1 Grand Prix. A switch to Christophe Soumillon from Norihiro Yokoyama has paid dividends and Soumillon’s experience at Meydan could prove to be a pivotal factor in deciding whether she crosses the line or hits the board.

It’s ironic that, on the day, she’ll be the only one who won’t know how much is riding on her performance.

You can’t discount her from the running just because she’s a female. In the post-Zenyatta (Street Cry) era that type of thinking is almost archaic, besides, she’s shown the ability several times to beat the best boys in her division. It’s genuinely difficult to argue with nearly £7,500,000 in lifetime earnings for a five year-old mare.

What will likely play to Buena Vista’s advantage will be the huge amount of early speed in this race. The issue is compounded by the fact that a lot of the early speed is pretty good – the likes of Twice Over (Observatory) and Cape Blanco (Galileo) will both be at or near the leaders. Her late-running style has served her well on the turf but traffic trouble and wide runs can really undo a horse at Meydan – more so than you’ll see on virtually any grass course, despite the surface itself playing relatively similar to the turf. If the first few panels are especially hot, and Twice Over and Cape Blanco are knee-deep in it, then expect to see her in-play price drop like a stone.

At the moment, she is drifting down towards 8/1 from a previous 10/1 price tag. Look for a number of patriotic and emotional bets to see her price driven down on the day.

An undefeated two year-old campaign set Cape Blanco up nicely for a successful run at the European three year-old division in 2010 as the AP O’Brien-trained chestnut was able to notch prestigious scores in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes and the Irish Derby, in addition to a Group 2 score in the Dante Stakes at York.

During his three year-old season, he got the better of Rip Van Winkle (Galileo), Midas Touch (Galileo) and the venerable Workforce (King’s Best). The stretch out in distance in the Arc De Triomphe was an indication that he probably won’t excel past the 1m4f distance but finding the answers to those types of questions are what high-quality connections do.

This will be a seasonal debut for Cape Blanco and, without a run over the Meydan surface, you are effectively betting that he’ll take to the Tapeta just like he’s taken to the grass. Galileo’s are versatile and his half-brothers and sisters have been excelling at Meydan since it began hosting races last year.

Jamie Spencer is confirmed for the trip aboard Cape Blanco and the former stable jockey for Ballydoyle and Coolmore will be taking the mount on all of the Dubai contenders for AP O’Brien. Cape Blanco will probably opt to stay off setting the pace, but he will definitely be in the mix tracking the leaders. Most of the better contenders running in this year’s World Cup boast tactical speed so the pace up front might be a bit hotter than usual. Connections may experiment with a mid-division trip.

From a ratings-standpoint, Cape Blanco is more than in the mix and there is usually lots of progression between a three year-old campaign and a four year-old one. The issue here is that he lacks a prep-race and shipping from Ireland to Dubai obviously isn’t like zipping over the Channel from Newmarket to run in the Arc – this is a whole separate climate and is likely further than the animal has ever travelled.

Only Singspiel (In The Wings) has ever scored in the Dubai World Cup off a lengthy lay-off and you can probably thank Sir Michael Stoute for that one as opposed to Singspiel himself. Aidan O’Brien is a top conditioner but one wonders whether his six year absence from Dubai might work against him with a move as ambitious as parachuting in Cape Blanco without a seasonal prep.

This up-and-coming contender trades at a 4/1 price with most major bookmakers and is emerging as a clear second favourite. With Bold Silvano (Silvano) dropping out of the equation, he will likely be one of the livewires in the betting market on Saturday. Look for workout news to be a make or break factor in his final price.


With the world’s richest horse race less than a week away from us, we’ll be taking the next few days to get a firm gauge on how things are expected to shape up for this Saturday’s Dubai World Cup. A number of the leading ante post contenders have been withdrawn in recent days for a variety of reasons and, at the time of this writing, Snow Fairy (Intikhab), Bold Silvano (Silvano), and Byword (Peintre Celebre) have all been removed.

Twice Over (Observatory) remains the major betting favourite for this one and the Henry Cecil-trained six year-old horse made a major statement when conquering the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. This comes on the heels of his relatively forgettable run in 2010 when he finished a well-beaten tenth from fourteen.

In all honesty, that race was the only genuine blemish on Twice Over’s 2010 card with Group 1 scores in the Coral Eclipse and the Emirates Airlines Champion Stakes while hitting the board in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes, the Juddmonte International and the Irish Champion Stakes. In virtually all of those races, Twice Over deployed a trademark stalking trip.

Twice Over gets a real advantage in the World Cup thanks to the fact that the Tapeta surface at Meydan plays so similarly to a turf course rated “good” which is where he tends to run best. Tom Queally has forged a high-quality partnership with Twice Over and it will continue here.

This race could be the greatest iteration of the Dubai World Cup – a fact backed up by the cumulative $40,000,000+ in earnings that the starting lineup has amassed.

Twice Over is now trading at a 7/4 price for the outright victory and, while that’s certainly quite short, it is relatively justified thanks to the sheer quality on display last time out and the fact that he’s had a run over Meydan before so connections will know how to deploy him properly. He has the ability to post excellent fractions and then still find more on the run-in, and that seems to be the make-or-break factor with many of these high-profile contests at Meydan.

When the betting was initially unveiled for the Dubai World Cup ante post, the early standout was Cape Blanco (Galileo) who was priced at 3/1 and continues to hold steady at around 4/1 or 5/1 with most major bookmakers. Twice Over was originally floated at 9/2 but, once he showed up in the Middle East and unleashed such an impressive run in the Al Maktoum Challenge, the puntes knew he was for real and has been subsequently bet down to 7/4. Look for him to take even more volume if there is no negative news regarding his condition or form.


Dubai World Cup Night Betting Preview :

While most punters will have their eyes firmly-fixed on the feature this Saturday, there are a number of other exciting contests set to unfold on Dubai World Cup night this Saturday. We’ll be taking an early look at the other major races that include a number of high-quality group level encounters on turf and Tapeta.

Al Quoz Sprint

This Group 2 turf clash has an early field of 16 set to go 5f as South African high-flier JJ The Jet Plane (Jet Master) has been dominating the wagering forecasts for this contest since his presence was confirmed. At this point in time he’s as low as 7/4 for the outright score, having improved markedly in his second attempt at Meydan to score over a talented group of 12. The globetrotter made a major statement by taking the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint on his first trip to Sha Tin. The seven year-old hits at career-high figures at the moment and his experience over the Meydan surface make him a justifiable favourite.

Happy Dubai (Indian Ridge) deserves plenty of credit but he’ll need to step it up big-time if JJ gets the right type of race. He’s been heavily-campaigned in Dubai since a Jebel Ali debut last January. Him and Royston Ffrench have a good thing going between them so look for him to complete your exotic selections. Jaipur Stakes winner Stradivinsky (Stravinsky) ships in having been laid-off since a disappointing thirteenth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He trades at 8/1 but you have to wonder how he takes to the Middle Eastern climate.

Godolphin Mile

A very respectable field lines up for this Tapeta contest and it sets up as one of the most fascinating betting races of the day. Nearly every contender in the race can win this one and the early betting looks to have little between Red Jazz (Johannesburg) and the Godolphin pair Rileyskeepingfaith (Hunting Lion) and the Pennsylvania-bred Skysurfers (E Dubai). Of the three, Skysufers turned in the most impressive Dubai performance this year when capturing the ungraded Firebreak Stakes over a very tricky field. He had Frankie Dettori in the irons and that partnership looks set to continue. The course and distance score sets him up nicely for this one.

Red Jazz is unraced in Dubai and enters off a five-month lay-off. The four year-old colt had been battling it out with a number of top Group 1 contenders for most of last season before scoring in a Group 2 contest at Newmarket to achieve a career-high 120. Unraced in Dubai after a long lay-off has not been a credible reference for most contenders this year so caution is advised on Red Jazz. Rileyskeepingfaith deserves respect after taking the Group 2 Zabeel Mile last time out. There are a few tougher contenders parachuting into this field and the actual victory was a bit of an anomaly for the five year-old as he had gone winless in twelve races. His Group 2 score was a weaker race than Skysurfers ungraded effort, so keep that in mind.

American shipper I Want Revenge (Stephen Got Even) is very likable and could be a real surprise here. His career has gone into a stuttering phase ever since being scratched as the morning-line favourite for the 2009 Kentucky Derby. His jockey Ramon Dominguez makes the trip and the pair could pull off a high-profile victory for the USA. His 7/1 price indicates some vonfidence from the betting public.

UAE Derby

This is a very enticing race from a neutral perspective but it’s going to be a tricky one to wager on for some. A number of recent Dubai winners take on some interesting shippers here and the betting favourite is the lightly-raced UAE Oaks winner Khawlah (Cape Cross). It’s not often you have an Oaks winner headlining a Derby betting market anywhere but I guess that’s just how they do things in Dubai. She has run well in the past and you can’t fault the connections as she’s Godolphin-owned, Darley-bred and Dettori-pilotted. 5/2 does seem a bit short on her though.

Mike De Kock’s Zanzamar (Fort Wood) ran a disappointing second in the UAE 2000 Guineas when sent off as the 4/6 betting favourite after scoring in a trial race on his Meydan debut. The four year-old boasts a strong late kick and could take advantage of some early speed here. The Brazilian-bred Godolphin runner Xin Xu Lin (Wondertross) is getting some respect but high-profile scores in South American races don’t always transfer over to Group 2 Meydan contests.

The real value option here appears to be Sweet Ducky (Pulpit) who was recently acquired by the Chechen president and shifted off the Kentucky Derby trail after impressing in recent efforts. A hefty 25/1 price is in effect on Sweet Ducky and, if he takes to the surface, he could be the story of the day.

Continuing on with our full coverage and preview for the upcoming Dubai World Cup day on Saturday, here’s a few observations on the other three races prior to the big race.

Golden Shaheen

The day’s smallest field will likely line up for the Golden Shaheen as ten contenders will go 6f over the synthetic surface. The even-money favourite is Rocket Man (Viscount) who lines up for the Patrick Shaw yard. He finished a tough second to JJ The Jet Plane (Jet Master) last time out at Sha Tin. The respected Australian-bred has never finished outside the top two and will be coming back here to avenge his loss to Kinsale King (Yankee Victor) in last year’s iteration of this contest.

Kinsale King didn’t have the best of 2010’s after such a high-profile score as three straight losses saw him limp out of 2010 finishing a tame seventh to Big Drama (Montbrook) in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He trades at 7/2 for this one.

American conditioner Bob Baffert sends over the in-form seven year-old horse Euroears (Langfuhr) who is fresh off a victory in the Grade 2 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita. He’s a bit more of a blue collar horse for some, having raced at Penn National, Fairgrounds and Lone Star Park and that 5/1 price certainly indicates that more than the Baffert barn thinks he might get the win.

Dubai Duty Free

The Dubai Duty Free looks like the best betting race of the day as the three favourites are all priced as high as 9/2. There is a huge amount of talent on display and some proven Meydan performers are carrying double-digit prices for this one. Nearly every horse in the race looks a potential winner and you get the feeling that trip quality could be the make-or-break.

Mendip (Harlan’s Holiday) has been absolutely slaying it at Meydan in his two efforts this season – capturing a pair of Group 3’s in the Burj Nahaar and the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Dettori returns for the mount and, if he will be attempting to come from mid-division once again, will require near perfect timing from Frankie.

Presvis (Sakhee) is a likeable sort and the seven year-old warhorse has earned nearly £2,500,000 lifetime. He took the Group 2 Al Rashidiya on his seasonal debut in Meydan before enduring a tough beat in the Group 2 Jebel Hatta but he did not start particularly well was not able to finish with his customary verve.

Bankable (Medicean) put in a great shift to win the Group 3 Mahab Al Shamaal in his last effort and Meydan experience is certainly not an issue for him. His price at 14/1 brings him into each-way territory but puntes do seem to be retreating. Notably, Ryan Moore has switched off of him and opts for Presvis.

Arlington Million winner Debussy (Diesis) lines up with William Buick up and they’ll be looking to avenge the rude awakening they got their debut here back in the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. From a ratings-standpoint he’s right in the mix, but his fortunes in Dubai haven’t been particularly good. A lukewarm 16/1 tells you all you need to know.

Don’t sleep on Strawberrydaiquiri (Dansili) as the grey mare will be out there as Canada’s de facto representative on the day. Her mom was all-Canadian and she was a graduate from a British Columbia sale. Look for her 25/1 price to stay strong throughout the day. The multiple group winner in England could enjoy a second shot in Dubai.

Sheema Classic

This one could go down as a real classic if the race shapes up the way punters expect it to. Godolphin saddle Rewilding (Tiger Hill) as the early betting favourite and the four year-old bay commands a 9/4 price tag. Winner of the Group 2 Great Voltigeur, the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained colt finished a solid third in the Epsom Derby last year. If he runs to potential there is no reason why he can’t win.

Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Dangerous Midge (Lion Heart) made a big statement with Dettori aboard last time but he’ll have to opt for Martin Dwyer here. Already a millionaire thanks to that massive victory at Churchill Downs, Dangerous Midge has been laid-off since that race and will be taking some money despite the freshening. Look for him around 7/2.

His second place finisher in the Breeders’ Cup Turf was the well-regarded Champ Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus) who ships over from Santa Anita in cracking form. The recent winner of the Grade 2 San Marco and San Luis Obispo stakes, he’s got a great thing going with Joel Rosario and he could win one for the Stars and Stripes if he looks as sharp as he has recently.

Deem (Dalakhani) didn’t miss by too much last time out but she’ll need to step it up in a big way to get the result here but she is a credible each-way selection at 16/1 for those seeking an improver.

Overall, the best quality to price ratio comes on Redwood (High Chapparal) who ran an impressive second in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin. He also took the prestigious Northern Dancer Turf Stakes, a Grade 1 contest at Woodbine in Toronto. There’s a distinct chance that he’ll hit the board but if he remains at double-digits he’ll be a strong play for Juddmonte fans out there.