The forthcoming multi-million-dollar meeting in Saudi is no doubt exciting and enticing for connections. It does, however, add an extra dimension to the Dubai World Cup picture.
It forces us to ask how horses will come out of the Saudi Cup and to ask whether they will still show their best form in the Dubai World Cup.
Nonetheless we will learn a lot more about those horses who are set to take part.
There is an eight-race card at Meydan on Thursday, with the Curlin and the Nad Al Sheba Trophy taking centre stage. I have five selections for you at the Dubai venue.
3.40 Meydan: Franz Kafka at a general 5-1
The return to turf is a massive plus for this horse. He was impressive on the turf on his Meydan debut where he made all the running and won comfortably.
His subsequent run on dirt should be ignored. He missed the break, didn’t face the kickback and was never in contention.
Now back on the turf, he can confirm the impression that he made on his first start at Meydan plus the Simon Crisford team continue in good form, with Epic Hero another winner for them last week.
4.15 Meydan: Captain Von Trapp at 11-1 with William Hill
Salem Bin Ghadayer has got this horse progressing steadily and a big performance is not far away.
He shaped really well last time out where he did best of those who chased a furious pace. In the circumstances, he did very well to finish fifth, beaten only by those ridden with more restraint.
There is a fair chance he will jump out of the gates and dominate here under Mickael Barzalona who has become a fine dirt rider.
4.50 Meydan: Spanish Mission at 11-8 with William Hill
The Godolphin horses will be popular here, but Spanish Mission holds the strongest form.
He is a very solid Group three performer having won at this level at Newmarket last season. His last win at Belmont in the Jockey Club Invitational was hard fought and he has been given time to get over that.
His trainer, David Simcock, has done well at this year’s Carnival and this horse can give him another winner under the guidance of Jamie Spencer.
Spanish Mission has crucial final 400-metre pace which is so effective here at Meydan and I can see him pouncing late.
5.25 Meydan: Parsimony at a general 4-1
Doug O’Neill has his horses in good form, and this could be his first winner at this year’s Carnival.
He was a good fourth on his Meydan debut where he forced a strong pace and only gave way late on.
I was impressed with how he stuck to his task that day and, with that run under his belt, he figures to improve here.
There is a chance that he will get the lead, particularly if Ambassadorial is ridden patiently as he was behind Capezzano last time out, and Parsimony looks sure to make a bold show from the front.
6.35 Meydan: On The Warpath at 100-30 with William Hill
This horse rates as my best play of the night at Meydan. Returned to sprinting at Newmarket last May, he won impressively over six furlongs in a tremendous time.
He has gone up 8lb in the weights - which is fully justified - and the return to seven furlongs is no problem, even though his future this year may well be as a sprinter.
He proved he handles Meydan when successful at this meeting last year and whilst his mark of 110 will make his life tougher, he showed at Newmarket that he is a future Group-race performer.
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