Vision D’Etat the
One to Beat

The talking, the final pieces of work and the last adjustments are now all but over and Saturday is the day that it all has to come together.

Published: Sat 27 Mar 2010, 12:15 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:25 AM

And I’m not just talking about the finishing touches to Dubai’s mutli-million dollar racecourse, Meydan, but to the horses themselves. For trainers, jockeys and owners these last 24 hours or so are surely the most nerve-wracking moments; in the run up to a race anything can go wrong.

As it stands, all of the 14 declared go forward for the first $10million World Cup at Meydan and even after several days of close scrutiny on the track, there is no hot favourite for the race. However, the Hong Kong Cup winner Vision D’Etat is attracting plenty of attention and I think he is the one to beat, especially after English raider Twice Over received a slightly disadvantageous wide draw.

I’m also expecting big runs from the Japanese filly Red Desire and well as Gitano Hernando, whose connections have had this race in mind for him ever since he won the Grade I Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita last year.

Japan is represented by another filly in the Sheema Classic and this time I think she is the one to catch. Buena Vista was the leading three year old filly in her country last year and she is open to further improvement, for all that she faces a tough bunch of colts.

They include the first three home in the Dubai City of Gold, over course and distance; Campanologist, Pan River and Golden Sword. I fully expect the latter to turn the tables on the other two, although suggestions from trainer Mike De Kock that he may still not be at his best makes it hard to fancy him to win.

The Dubai Duty Free, as usual, is the race of the night and I am torn between Herman Brown’s Al Fahidi Fort winner Bankable and last year’s second Presvis. The latter has the best form in the book, but his tendency to come from well off the pace and leave things to chance is a concern, while Bankable needs to prove he can cut it at this level having been fifth 12 months ago.

The Golden Shaheen has attracted its most international line-up for years, with seven countries represented, including Singapore, who I believe have a good chance of collecting a first Dubai World Cup win with Rocket Man.

The five year old is still improving and should be too good, although Godolphin’s Gayego should be spot on for this and it is interesting that the ‘boys in blue’ rely solely on him here.

The two Group 2s on the card are both competitive. The ten year old UAE Derby is yet to be won by anyone who isn’t named De Kock or bin Suroor, and it is difficult to see this changing this year as both have four in the race. De Kock’s main hope is the Guineas winner Musir, but bin Suroor has the unbeaten Mendip in opposition. De Kock’s second string is his Oaks winner Raihana who, sure to stay, I think could just rival the main two.

The Mile lacks American contenders but remains an extremely good race. Desert Party, easy winner of the 1200metre Mahab Al Shimaal last time out, is the favourite and will be hard to beat, but I think the ever consistent Lucky Find can go well, as can Japan’s Glorious Noah.

While I think America may struggle to find a winner this time in the World Cup, I think they can make the Group 3 Al Quoz Sprint their own with California Flag, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last October. He followed that with a gutsy run in Hong Kong in December and can blaze a trail again here for up and coming rider Joe Talamo.

I will be blazing a trail too – to get to Meydan in time to enjoy all the build-up, because all too soon it will be over!

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