Fresh off the bat from Cheltenham, the year’s marquee racing calendar this weekend moves to the UAE and the 2023 Dubai World Cup at Meydan.
As the $30.5million meeting brings together the best spritely 3yo+ sprinters on the flat, Saturday’s eight contests are headlined by the $12m Dubai World Cup itself.
So who have we at BestofBets got our eye on in the desert this weekend?
Neil Leverett has been casting his eye across the desert plains.
*All times GMT
Siskany (12:40, Dubai Gold Cup, 2m)
Quite frankly, in any flat race anywhere on planet racing right now it would be rude not to back the Charlie Appleby-Will Buick team.
Siskany should deliver.
Currently 7/2 favourite with William Hill over 2m on the Turf, the son of Dubawi has won both Al Khail and Nad Al Sheba Trophies on his two trips here.
Simply put, Siskany loves Meydan.
Winner of the Godolphin Stakes last September at Newmarket also, the 5yo looks poised to add to his glittering collection.
Danon Beluga (15:10, Dubai Turf, 1m1f)
The highlight of last year’s meet was the wave of success for Japanese racing and that could continue 12 months on with Danon Beluga.
Trained by Noriyuki Hori, the 4yo colt here makes his first outing outside of Japan.
Though winless since his debut in Tokyo some 13 months, it is interesting to note the same 1m1f winning distance.
So not only should the dirt suit but the trip also.
Frankie Dettori rides the defending Lord North for John and Thady Gosden, but Danon Beluga could be a shrewd punt.
After last year’s dead heat between the aforementioned 7yo and Panthalassa, there has been a Japanese-trained winner of this race in four of the last six years.
Danon Beluga is a decently-priced 13/2 shot with BoyleSports.
Algiers (16:35, Dubai World Cup, 1m2f)
As the action builds to a climax at Meydan, the Dubai World Cup is tentatively billed as Ireland vs the United States.
With the defending champ Country Grammar and Algiers the front-runners, we are however, leaning to the latter taking the desert crown.
A certain L Dettori may be looking to make history on his final race in Dubai, but the Crisford’s 6yo is a dominant figure.
Whereas Country Grammar has taken victory in just one of his last five, Algiers’ last two wins have come at Meydan over a similar trip.
The Irish gelding may have only been eighth in last year’s Godolphin Mile, but will be in no mood for Dettori’s sentimental farewell; nor will James Doyle.
Having leapfrogged Country Grammar in the antepost betting, Algiers is now the marginal favourite at 7/2 with Betfred.