Arrogate will attempt to light up World Cup night at Meydan when he lines up in the $10m showpiece at 4.45pm on Saturday. The world’s highest-rated dirt horse is a general 1-3 chance to make it four Group 1 wins on the bounce and provide trainer Bob Baffert with his third win in the prestigious Group 1 contest.
Arrogate sprung to worldwide prominence when taking the almighty scalp of California Chrome (winner of this race in 2016) in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita and the son of Unbridled Song backed that up with a four-and-three-quarter length success in the world’s richest race, the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The star-studded eight-race card kicks off at 11:45am when North America, who has taken the Carnival by storm this winter, will go off favourite to extend his unbeaten record over C&D in the Godolphin Mile. He looks to have most to fear from fellow prominent racer Heavy Metal, winner of his last two starts.
The Dubai Gold Cup looks a crackerjack of a race and is arguably stronger than recent runnings of the Ascot version. It’s a wide open contest in which you can make a case for any number but Heartbreak City, who went so agonisingly close to landing the Melbourne Cup in November, could be the ace the pack for trainer Tony Martin.
Thunder Snow looks a favourite worth taking on in the UAE Derby (1.25pm) as he has trip and draw concerns to overcome. Quick ground would really suit Lancaster Bomber given he is a son of War Cry, and the Ryan Moore-ridden colt makes plenty of appeal from a great draw.
The Al Quoz Sprint (2.00pm) looks a straight match between Ertijaal, who has been tearing the sprint division up in Meydan this winter, and Limato, who hasn’t been seen since disappointing around the tight turns of Santa Anita in November. This galloping six furlongs should enable him to post a big effort and Henry Candy’s brilliant July Cup winner might have too many guns for Ertijaal, whose two wins this year have come over 5f, in the closing stages.
Zarak can follow in the footsteps of Solow and win the Dubai Turf (3.30pm) for France, but the following Golden Shaheen (4.05) is by no means cut and dried for favourite backers.
Postponed was a comfortable winner of this race 12 months ago but he bombed out in the Arc and was a little disappointing when beaten in his prep race for this earlier this month. He faces some serious rivals this time, not least the globetrotting Highland Reel who just looks a better horse now than when beaten four lengths in this contest last year. He has won the King George and Breeders’ Cup Turf since then and will take a deal of catching if allowed his own way out in front under Ryan Moore.