Dubai World Cup | Big price Mille worth checking

Chester May Festival

The abandonment of Musselburgh at the 11th hour is a shame, but action from Haydock, Fairyhouse, Cork, and the Dubai World Cup is enough to excite any racing fan.

It’s set to be soft conditions at most racecourses over in the UK and Ireland while some of the sport’s finest equine athletes will have standard good ground over in Meydan.

Here are a few fancies from around the grounds.

 

2:05 Haydock – Playful Saint @ 4/1 with William Hill – 2pt Win

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Dan Skelton is chasing a first trainers’ title, so it’s worth taking his runners over the next few weeks with strong consideration, especially with a horse like Playful Saint.

The nine-year-old had a slow start to life as a racehorse, but he picked up nicely for connections in 2022 when second to Love Envoi, a subsequent Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle runner-up, in a Sandown handicap.

He then bolted up at Leicester on heavy ground before a good run when behind Iceo in the Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle off 135.

That race has worked out well as Iceo, the winner, improved markedly over fences before his fatal injury, Knickerblockerglory, the second, landed a valuable Ascot handicap hurdle, and the likes of Monviel, Hardy Du Seuil, and Djelo were behind Playful Saint.

His last run behind Milldam was promising on his first outing for 366 days, and with Milldam a non-runner from this race, Playful Saint looks like a dangerous prospect in conditions that should suit.

 

2:40 Haydock – Picanha @ 5/1 with BetVictor – 1pt EW

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As long as the bounce factor doesn’t affect Picanha, he looks to have a proper chance in the three-mile handicap hurdle at Haydock.

The 10-year-old had 660 days off between his win at Warwick in April 2022 and his fourth at Newbury in February 2024, but he ran with credit in a race that has worked out well.

Emitom, the winner, and Kyntara, the second, have followed up with some good performances in the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham Festival, so the form of his last run is strong.

Furthermore, he actually beat Kytara by nearly a length at Warwick in December 2021 and his last win came at Warwick over 3m1f, so he should stay.

Connections have given him 49 days rest which should negate any potential bounce, so Picanha looks to have a solid chance for Richard Phillips with Finn Lambert claiming three pounds in the saddle.

 

3:10 Meydan – Luxembourg @ 8/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW

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The race fitness of Luxembourg will give him an edge over a few rivals in the Group 1 Dubai Turf as he is a very classy horse.

The five-year-old battled in the top Group 1 races all season, landing success in the Tattersalls Gold Cup before a valiant second to the subsequent Juddmonte International winner Mostahdaf at Royal Ascot in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.

After a disappointing effort over 1m4f in the King George VI Stakes, he came so close to beating stablemate Auguste Rodin in the Irish Champion Stakes before he put in a joint-career best effort on RPRs in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin in December.

Today’s test of 1m1f is slightly different from what he was asked to do last season, but we know he handled eight furlongs well as a two-year-old and the gallop will be strong, so hopefully he can be the one staying on at the finish under Ryan Moore.

 

3:15 Haydock – Pink Legend @ 16/1 with William Hill – 1pt EW

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Pink Legend is a quirky mare for Venetia Williams and connections, but she is riddled with talent and her record in handicap chases makes for positive reading.

The last handicap she raced in was at Cheltenham over two miles at the April meeting where she bolted up off a six-pound higher mark, beating Royale Margaux who ran La Malmason close in a handicap chase at Cheltenham earlier this season.

Before that, she won a handicap off 129 at Ascot and also won a novice handicap off 127 at Cheltenham, so her mark of 136 is lenient if she can put her best foot forward.

She disappointed at Cheltenham in the Grade 2 Mares’ Chase and pulled up at Exeter prior to that, but she beat Galia Des Liteaux (a subsequent Warwick Classic Chase runner-up) at Newbury on soft ground in November and her form with Impervious from last season’s Grade 2 Mares’ Chase is strong.

She may have a target in mind for later in the season, but this winning pot would be one of the biggest pick-ups of her career if she is on a going day, so I’m willing to take a chance that she could bounce back for a yard that is finding form.

 

4:00 Meydan – Simca Mille @ 40/1 with William Hill – 0.5pt EW

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The Sheema Classic, like most years, looks like a fascinating contest with the likes of Auguste Rodin, Emily Upjohn, and Liberty Island.

However, I still think there is more to come from Simca Mille, and at 40/1, he is worth chancing each-way.

Now with Alban De Mieulle in Qatar, the five-year-old picked up three wins last season but failed to properly find his feet at the top level.

However, as a three-year-old, his performance when second to Onesto and ahead of Eldar Eldarov in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris is solid form.

Today, he will happily sit off the pace and try to fly home to pick up the pieces and he should have no problem with the trip. At a big price, it’s hard to dismiss him.

 

4:30 Fairyhouse – Will Do @ 13/2 with BoyleSports – 1pt EW

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As much as I hold plenty of respect for Built By Ballymore in a race like this, Will Do is hard to ignore for Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud.

The seven-year-old has some solid form in the book from his maiden hurdle and bumper days as he finished second to Tullyhill in a bumper before winning a bumper at Cork in a race that had the now 138-rated Answer To Kayf back in third.

He then bolted up in two maiden hurdles, the most recent of which came at Thurles where he beat Moon D’Orange, a horse who has since finished third to Shanagh Bob in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham before winning a novice hurdle at Market Rasen last month.

The one query is his last two runs as he was unsighted in handicap company, but the seven-pound claim of Carl Millar should give Will Do a cracking chance at the weights today.

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