Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with nine to follow on Saturday at the Dubai World Cup, Doncaster, Kempton and Stratford. View selections below
The first leg of the spring double the Lincoln is today’s British highlight but the Dubai World Cup takes centre stage from Meydan with five Group 1 contests on their stellar card.
The action begins with a Group 2 event over a mile on dirt and Tamarkuz (12.40) is a confident selection in the colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum and ridden by Paul Hanagan. A winner of his last three starts over today’s C&D the selection used to be a notoriously slow starter but has been breaking on terms of late and once again has the plum draw in stall one.
One extraordinary stat given a low draw is an advantage on the dirt track at Meydan; the former Godolphin trained runner has now been drawn one of 10, two of 10, one of 13 and now one of 16 in his last four starts. If he comes out on terms he has the option of trying to make all or sit in the box seat and kick if he gets the gap. Other than being very slowly away or meeting trouble in running I can’t see him being beaten although that is factored into his price at 6/4 with BetVictor.
Confidence in French raider Solow (3.40) is tempered by his modest draw in stall ten (of ten) but the mind goes back to Longchamp on Arc weekend when he was an emphatic winner of the Group 2 Daniel Wildenstein and the grey has had a prep run at Chantilly earlier in the month.
Ryan Moore takes the ride on Japan’s Harp Star in The Sheema Classic and this daughter of Deep Impact has been given plenty to do in recent starts including when a never nearer sixth in the Arc under Yuga Kawada back in October. She is sure to be given more assistance from the saddle but Flintshire (4.15) is taken to reverse Breeders’ Cup Turf form with Main Sequence in a top class renewal.
The Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest horserace with an obscene amount of money (Over £6m) to the winner and last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome (5.00) is a worthy favourite and is taken to be a tenth American winner of the race in its illustrious twenty year history.
African Story is bidding to become the first horse to win the race back-to-back but last year’s victory was on tapeta and this dirt surface is likely to suit the American horses more despite the Godolphin 8-year-old winning his prep race in a decent time over C&D earlier in the month.
The last four winners of the Lincoln have been returned at 16/1, 25/1, 20/1 and 20/1 and the each way recommendation is What About Carlo (3.45 Doncaster) despite the fact that he has been drawn right in the centre of the track in twelve. The selection had a pipe-opener on the all-weather last month and Jimmy Fortune has been in the plate for his last two successes. At 20/1 he can reward each way support although there are any number of dangers including Gm Hopkins and Mooharib with the latter slightly overpriced at 14/1.
New Year’s Night (2.50 Kempton) is on a hat-trick after a couple of narrow but comprehensive wins including from a 3lb lower mark at Lingfield last time. He hasn’t won in three starts at Kempton but those runs were over an inadequate trip; Noble Gift is likely to put the pace to the race and could get a soft lead but the selection has an excellent draw to stalk the likely front-runner and pounce fast and late.
Proofreader (5.10) did us a favour earlier in the week for Neil Mulholland and can follow up under a 6lb penalty in the finale; a half-brother to African Story who defends his World Cup crown ten minutes earlier he is obviously improving with age and can follow up.
I am convinced In Fairness (4.10) will make up into a decent chaser in time and I liked the way he kept battling at Leicester last time; this step up in trip should suit on decent ground and Daryl Jacob takes the ride in the absence of the injured Barry Geraghty.
Imperial Vic (3.20 Stratford) is a light of former days but he has dropped like a stone in the weights and the small string of Harriet Bethell have been running well of late. The drying ground is a positive and he may not have got home over 3m 3f at Sedgefield on soft ground at the beginning of the month.