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American��s favourite for Dubai World Cup but shocks often happen in Meydan spectacular


It's Dubai's great racing occasion on Saturday with a six race simulcast fiesta, including five Group 1's - the finale being the richest horserace in the world. And seven Hong Kong invaders at Meydan add massively to the appeal of this event, of course.

The betting is likely to suggest that the biggest financial prize in the sport - the G1 Dubai World Cup - will be fought out by two American stars in the shape of California Chrome, based in Art Sherman's California barn or Frosted usually stabled across the USA at Kiaran McLaughlin's New York headquarters.

But this 2000m spectacular - on the new Meydan dirt surface since last year - has been littered with shock winners so supporters of an international array of rivals - including Joao Moreira's mount Gun Pit - are unlikely to have victory completely out of reach.

However if talk counts, California Chrome may win as 78-year-old Sherman has been shouting his name from the rooftops all week. "I've got the preparation I wanted this year with a start here first and, after he won that easily, Victor (Espinoza) told me he had plenty of horse left. That made me feel good. Believe me 'Chrome' is a 5 length better horse than he was last year."

Last year California Chrome - bred on a shoestring budget but spectacular winner of two of the three legs of the 2014 American Triple Crown - started favourite for the Dubai World Cup but was mowed down late by upset winner Prince Bishop. The way Sherman is talking, a similarly unpleasant concluding scenario is not anticipated this time.
A formidable collection of Hong Kong sprinters (Domineer, Master Kochanwong, Super Jockey and Rich Tapestry) will enter the gates for the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, a 1200m sprint in which they posted a fantastic quinella with Sterling City and Rich Tapestry two years ago.

However history relates that when this speed contest has taken place on a dirt surface - as it is this year - American raiders have won no less than nine of the past ten renewals. This may be why X Y Jet is making lots of the racing headlines in Dubai, arriving in the Middle East off a string of stylish victories at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

This four-year-old was so wild in his younger days that according to equine science consultant Dr Isabel Acquarone he "put some riders into hospital and was untrainable."

Dr Acquarone is effectively acting as the horse's psychiatrist in Dubai "getting into his mindset and seeing things from his perspective" is how she puts it. And perhaps supporters of his rivals should worry when she concludes about speedball X Y Jet: "He is now understood. He's in a happy place."
By contrast to the Dubai Golden Shaheen no American-based sprinter has yet won the G1 Al Quoz Sprint over 1000m on the grass. And 2015 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint winner Peniaphobia and straight-course specialist Not Listenin'tome must have solid chances of adding to Hong Kong's excellent Al Quoz triumphs of Joy And Fun and Amber Sky in 2010 and 2014 respectively.


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