16.30 Meydan: Dubai World Cup
The richest horse race in the world takes place today with the Group 1 Dubai World Cup over a mile and a quarter on the dirt at Meydan. There’s a high class field of 10 with the US dominating the betting market as the front 4 are all based there. The favourite is Todd Pletcher’s Life Is Good who could be hard to beat. Currently trading at odds-on, he’s won 5 of his 6 career starts including the Pegasus World Cup last time out & the Breeders Cup Mile previous to that. He’s never gone this far in his career so the new trip is a small question mark whilst there are other front runners in the field who may try to serve it up to him. However, he has the best of the draw in 1 and has so much speed that there are doubts whether anything can live with his early pace.
The one expected to give him most to do is Hot Rod Charlie from the yard of Doug O’Neill. Last year, he was 3rd (placed 2nd) in the Kentucky Derby & 2nd in the Belmont Stakes so brings solid form to the table whilst this year, he won his only start here in a Group 2. A good start but likely to fall short. Midnight Bourbon is another decent 4 year old from the US but has only managed to get his head in front once from 13 career starts whilst locally trained Hypothetical was 4th in this & has won his last 2 but will struggle to get to the front from his wide draw & with the quality of opposition.
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However, it’s another US runner that I’m going with in the shape of Country Grammer. He’s a 5 year old hailing from the legendary Baffert yard & I’m delighted with the jockey booking of Frankie Dettori who is still one of the best around & rides this track so well. He’s lightly raced, winning his only Group 1 last June when landing the Hollywood Gold Cup but was then off the track for 9 months. It was therefore some effort to finish 2nd in the Saudi Cup where he was leading in the straight, only to be collared late on. It’s worth bearing in mind the quality of opposition with Mishriff, Mandaloun, Sealiway & Midnight Bourbon all in behind. He’s likely to be even better today with fitness assured & everything looks in place for a good run. He has a nice draw in 5, he typically breaks well from the gate & has good early speed so may be able to keep tabs on the favourite. What’s more, he’s one that will definitely get the trip & will be staying on when others have had enough. It might be tough to overturn the favourite but at the likely odds, he rates a really good each way bet.
Back Country Grammer (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 12.00 Betfair (⅕ odds 1-3)
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