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Dubai World Cup �V Form Comments



Keen Ice

Will always be remembered for his shock defeat of American Pharoah at Saratoga last August. However he hasn't come close to repeating that form since and didn't show much sparkle on his Meydan debut this month though most observers seem keen to write off that race run as it was at slow fractions until the last sprint.



His Dubai World Cup jockey Frankie Dettori won on this well-travelled six-year-old at Deauville back in 2013. But it was John Velazquez who steered him to an impressive victory in the G1 Donn Handicap over 1800m at Gulfstream Park last month, never looking likely to be caught having been sent into the lead off the home bend. He will need to prove himself over this extra trip - and there are some stamina concerns - and he does take on notably stronger opposition.


Gun Pit

Although 7-7 on his terrific dirt exploits in Sha Tin he was widely considered to be vulnerable in a G1 over this distance here on Super Saturday. In fact he ran a terrific race from a handy position and though no match for Special Fighter in the closing stages, he had Saturday's rivals Mubtaahij and Keen Ice well behind. Trainer Caspar Fownes believes Gun Pit can improve at least a couple of lengths on that Meydan debut though he also says he'd be pleased with a first five finish in such a strong race.



Gained a visually spectacular 8L victory in the UAE Derby (1900m) at this meeting last year. He then performed well in the hotter dirt company of the top US races but has been a shade disappointing on both Meydan starts this year. Most recently he couldn't make enough progress from the back in a G1 on Super Saturday, though for whatever reason the dirt races that day were favouring those right up with the speed. His trainer insists that he is 'spot on' for this.


Special Fighter

He had a much better trip than he had experienced on some of his earlier Meydan starts in a G1 here on Super Saturday, leading and setting mild fractions before quickening away in the home stretch leaving some of his rivals well behind with Hong Kong's Gun Pit 4 1/2Ll back in second. Whilst it is impossible to imagine that he will have things so easy here, it might be unwise to underestimate this locally-trained five-year-old who may still be improving.


Candy Boy

Hasn't been seen since this time last year when having his first start since enjoying quite a successful career in the USA, he was an outsider for this huge prize for his new trainer Doug Watson. Although he never threatened to win, he ran above his odds moving past tiring rivals from the back and beaten 9 1/4L into fourth by Prince Bishop. A win here would come as a huge shock, though this race has had more than its share of surprise results.



This French-trained five-year-old began in humble company but has gradually improved especially since joining the stable of Andre Fabre, Europe's predominant stable. He did badly disappoint at Ascot last October but his second to Solow on the all-weather track at Chantilly earlier this month was encouraging. Fabre has always talked of Vadamos in the highest terms and if he handles the Meydan dirt he could be an interesting outsider.


Hokko Tarumae

A real moneyspinner in Japan where his ability to run his rivals into the ground has gained him a host of victories on their various dirt racing circuits. But while he is known for his consistency in Japan, he finished last in this race two years ago - when it was run on the Tapeta surface - and last year he faded into fifth after pushing the pace and simply having nothing left in the closing stages. A different strategy may be needed this time.



Although this US raider was beaten on seven of his nine starts last season, it was in the year of American Pharoah with the standard of dirt racing in the US being incredibly strong. He certainly made an impressive start to his Meydan campaign - demolishing his rivals by 5L and upwards in a G2 here last month. One can see why he is well fancied for a race that his trainer Kiaran McLaughlin won in 2007.



In seventh early before launching a strong challenge four wide as they hit the stretch, he gained a nose victory in a thrilling finish to a G2 over 1800m at Santa Anita last month. Before then he had gone about a year of good runs but near misses, never worse than fourth. A really good and super consistent dirt performer who will surely put up a good show if he can translate his US credentials to Dubai.


California Chrome

Has star quality and came within 2L of winning the American Triple Crown back in 2014. He has had his problems since and, though a warm favourite for this race last year, appeared to be below his best when outgunned by Prince Bishop late on, though probably also doing too much too soon. He has won both starts this year and the fact that he has had a Meydan prep this year - unlike last - when easily beating a field of handicappers over this distance here last month may help him win the big one this time.



Has mostly competed over further than this including when trained in France, getting placed on various occasions at Group level without managing to win one. Most recently he has been competing in Saudi Arabia and was a runaway winner of a local G1 on the dirt there last month. Perhaps he is much improved now he has encountered a dirt surface, he will certainly need to be to have hopes here.


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