How to Bet the U.A.E. Derby

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TwinSpires Staff

March 28th, 2018

By Dick Powell

The $2 million U.A.E. Derby (G2) will be run Saturday morning at Meydan race course in Dubai going 1 3/16 miles on the dirt track. There is a long run into the clubhouse turn and the dirt track is notorious for its kickback so being stuck behind horses while saving ground on the inside is not the place to be.

This year’s event drew only nine runners and there are no Southern Hemisphere-bred starters so I don’t have to explain to you that they carry 10 pounds more since they are about six months older.

None of Saturday’s races are handicaps but it is helpful to know what the official ratings of the horses are since they are coming from Japan, Ireland, America and locally:































Aidan O’Brien trains three of the top four rated horses and local favorite GOLD TOWN is in the second spot. His rating of 113 might have been higher but he has only had two runs on dirt and was only rated in the nineties off four starts on turf and one on all-weather last year at two.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner MENDELSSOHN looked good winning the Patton Stakes at Dundalk on an all-weather track last out and will make his dirt debut. He is by SCAT DADDY, who won the Champagne Stakes (G1) and Florida Derby (G1) on dirt, and is a half-brother to Grade 1 dirt stakes winners INTO MISCHIEF and multiple champion BEHOLDER so there is plenty of dirt pedigree.

The Japanese runner, TAIKI FERVEUR, has two wins and a second in three starts on the dirt. His last race, he broke slowly, was cut off a 100 yards in and trailed the pace while stuck on the inside of a dusty, dirt track going a one-turn left-handed mile. He swung out in the stretch and rallied strong to get second. With American dirt stars BRIAN’S TIME and ANY GIVEN SATURDAY as his grandsires, distance will not be a problem.

MENDELSSOHN has terrific pace and will be severely tested to make all the running on this track with the sun still up. The times are usually slow as the track is very loose from the hot sun beating down on it all day. As good as he is, I think he is very vulnerable in this spot.

Right outside of MENDELSSOHN in post 5 is GOLD TOWN, who broke running last out and after battling for the lead for five furlongs, blew the 2,000 Guineas (G3) apart by 10 ½ lengths in good time. After a blowout win in his dirt debut, he should be able to sit off MENDELSSOHN and William Buick can try to keep his Irish rival pinned to his inside.

YULONGWARRIOR and THREEANDFOURPENCE both have shown speed so there could be a scramble going into the first turn. GOLD TOWN is being asked to go farther on dirt than he ever has and MENDELSSOHN could be compromised by the pace scenario.

The Japanese have won this race before with VICTOIRE PISA and I think they can do it again with TAIKI FERVEUR. If he can handle the kickback on the dry and dusty Japanese dirt tracks, he should be able to handle Meydan and the distance should help.

Joao Moreira is known as the “Magic Man” in Asia and I know a huge bettor that has had to account for his presence in the saddle since he disrupts the handicapping algorithms. He should be able to drop far back and make the move around the far turn out in the middle of the track.

Wagering Analysis

#8 TAIKI FERVEUR should be at least 20-1 and will be bet him to win and place. I will key him up and down in exacta part wheels with #4 MENDELSSOHN, #5 GOLD TOWN and #6 SEAHENGE, and box all four in a trifecta box.