The Dubai Duty Free would be the richest race in the world if it wasn't for the Dubai World Cup. However, we have an equally competitive race on our hands this Saturday.
Heading the market is John Gosden's superb mare The Fugue. She has been across the globe in her last two starts, racing in the Breeders Cup Mile and then in the Hong Kong Vase.
Twice she was denied a huge win though, finishing a close second both times. The Fugue is well and truly 'a bookies horse.' She has all the potential in the world to be a superstar, going off at a short price in most of her runs. When she wins, the bookies pay out. However when she loses, Mr William Hill, Patrick Power, Victor Chandler and the rest of the bookmakers are definitely quids in.
In the John Gosden trained star's two latest starts, she has been even money. I think she is by far the best horse in the race on her day. However its hard to back her when she's let punters down twice in a row.
I think the rides from William Buick in the Breeders Mile and the Hong Kong Vase were poor to say the least. He seemed to panic in America and go too early, setting the race up for Magician. As for in Hong Kong, he got the horse clustered and missed his chance. You can't say he doesn't know how to ride this horse because he's won on it several times, it's just he needs to get it right. For this, I'm staying away.
Sir Michael Stoute sends over his very progressive Dank as competition. Unlike The Fugue, she won her race at the Breeders Cup, being piloted expertly by Ryan Moore. She's won three of her last four starts and she has form when coming off a long break. I think that Dank is a very good horse but not good enough to win this.. Sir Michael has done wonders with Dank, but I don't see her progressing any more.
Mike De Kock meanwhile has been unstoppable at Meydan over the last few months. He enters this time on Vercingetorix. He has already won twice at the track this year so he has both track and recent form.
In a way she reminds me a lot of The Fugue, the way he travels to power to the front. What worries me is that in his two races in Dubai, the pace looked just a little slow.
In Vercingetorix's first race, he badly needed the line, which he just found. I think that the pace may be too quick here for him. If it is a generous pace, he could easily get involved.
The Japanese horse Just A Way won very easily in his tune up race earlier this month. His three and a half length victory has been well documented, as he travelled powerfully throughout. However I wonder what level of competition he has faced. Based on that reason, I'll have to pass.
Mshawish lines up for Frankie Detorri, riding for Sheikh Joann Al Thani. He's got a bit of track form over the winter, winning a race and finishing runner up at the track. This is a horse I was massively impressed with. It was a ride timed to perfection by Richard Hughes, hitting the front two furlongs out and blowing the field away and looked to have a lot more in his locker. It was a very good performance and blew Trade Storm well away who also lines up in this race. I think he has what it takes to win this race. Added to this, he ran a very respectable fourth in the St James' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Dawn Approach, Toronado and Mars.
If you're going to back The Fugue, by all means go for it. She's a class horse and I nearly talked myself into it. However the inconsistency just doesn't allow me. Mshawish at 7/1 is two points over-priced. His track form and turn of foot is more than enough for me to back this weekend
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