Countdown begins for Dubai World Cup Day
by JOHN MUCCIOLO
Less than 24 hours remain until one of the grandest spectacles in horse racing – Dubai World Cup Day! The 20th renewal of this program features another stellar cast, with horses from Japan, South Africa, the United States, Europe, Hong Kong and of course, the local contingent, taking aim on the most lucrative day in the sport.
I am pretty certain I will not be sleeping much this evening (as has been the case each evening since my arrival), out of sheer anticipation of what is to come tomorrow.
There is a lot of concern among the few folks I have spoken with about the main oval at Meydan, in its first year since replacing the Tapeta surface and going back to conventional dirt. From what I have seen in earlier cards during the Carnival and heard from others who take this stuff seriously, horses tucked in behind the pace have struggled mightily.
As pointed out in perfect order by a Brit veteran who has been coming here for many years, he believes the kick back is simply too much on the newly installed main track. In his explanation, the kick back from the dirt we have in the U.S. sprays a lot more, while here it comes back in clumps…which can’t be any fun for the jockeys or horses getting an eye or mouthful. Notice the visors many pilots have been equipped with this campaign.
I can’t take this information lightly as I handicap the races for Saturday, and I am also pleased that others seem to agree with my previous opinion. I will tend to favor speed horses, as well as, tactical sorts breaking from wider positions that will avoid that scenario early on the card on Saturday, and adjust if need be as the day progresses.
Photo courtesy of Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club