Let’s talk about intent when referring to prep races at Meydan leading up to Dubai World Cup Day.
When handicapping the card, the biggest ammunition a player has is whether the connections in Meydan are trying to make sure their horses are peaking at the right time. In Dubai, knowing which how trainers point for big races is important as are the the owners involved.
Lets take a look at last year’s Dubai World Cup Winner Thunder Snow leading into last year’s races. Saeed Bin Suroor didn’t have him fully cranked in the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Surror had him semi-ready to run in that spot, finishing ahead behind Heavy Metal who relishes the first round of the Challenge. In the second round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, Suroor notched him up a bit, firing strongly with an eye-catching stamping himself as the best chance for Godolphin to win the DWC.
His connections were aware that a near two month break wouldn’t keep him honed on the main task. They entered the final leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge, cranking him up enough to run second to North America. Again, it was about intentions. Knowing that the colt didn’t need to be fully up to snuff in that spot made a world of difference come World Cup day.
The spot Suroor wanted him completely primed for was the March 31, 2018. Thunder Snow delivered a scintillating performance devastating a strong World Cup field that included North America, West Coast, and Mubtaahij.
RACE 1: AZIZI FARISHTA HANDICAP
(4) ALMANAARA (IRE) - Connections had every opportunity to run last week and choose this spot. Been facing some tougher company than this with Ibn Malik and Kimbear being pointed toward Dubai World Cup Day.
Will be an overlay in US betting pools with Honorable Treasure (trained by Kenneth McPeek) and Pop the Hood (formerly trained by Rodrigo Ubillo).
(8) LAIETH (GB) - Always have to give a long look at Godolphin on days like today, there isn’t any other of the “Blue Brigade” in here. Should be live for Suroor in this spot.
McPeek sent Honorable Treasure over simply to run in this type of race, want to see a race before endorsing. Many horses need some time to acclimate to Meydan. This is a tough spot for Dubai debut.
Pop the Hood was a private purchase by Touch Gold Racing, he’s likely to be over bet in this spot sprinting. Returns off a five month break for Dobbs.
RACE 4: CAPE VERDI FILLIES & MARE STAKES
(1) FURIA CRUZADA - Mare has been asked to face some tough males in her last five races. Being second to Promising Run is pretty impressive as that mare has been sharp during this Carnival in the past. She cuts back, feel this is a race to give her confidence. They aren’t afraid to point towards the World Cup but need to get her head right before bigger aspirations.
(2) POETIC CHARM - Appleby was hoping to get her into the Breeder’s Cup but didn’t run well at Keeneland in October. Was given time off, this is a softer spot for filly. Connections are looking for a big effort to see filly can continue toward World C