Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thoughts on the Dubai World Cup

-- Bill Oppenheim

My maiden voyage in the blogosphere. Hello.

The Dubai World Cup is this Saturday, and the field for the $10-million G1 Dubai World Cup itself is interesting: three for Godolphin, three for Japan, two for Sheikh Mohammed’s cousin, Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum (trained by South African Mike de Kock), one more (Richard’s Kid) for Sheikh Mohammed’s son, Sheikh Rashid, plus Cape Blanco, Twice Over, Gitano Hernando, and Fly Over and Gio Ponti from the U.S.

Buena Vista - (c) Horsephotos
I think the Japanese horses have a big shot, particularly the four-year-old Victoire Pisa and the five-year-old mare Buena Vista, who were one-two by a nose in a Group 1 in Japan last month. Victoire Pisa is unbeaten at up to 10 furlongs, Buena Vista has never been out of the first three in 14 starts (including a second to Da Re Mi in the G1 Sheema Classic last year) and has earned $12-million (both are by sons of Sunday Silence).
Gio Ponti - (c) Horsephotos
But I actually fancy Gio Ponti to win. He was second to Zenyatta at Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in 2009, and second to Goldikova in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year. He’s the forgotten horse. Last year, ridden by Brazilian jockey T.J.Pereira and trained by Pascal Bary, the Brazilian-bred Gloria de Campeao crawled on the lead and turned the world’s first $10-million race into a paceless farce; Gio Ponti was fourth, beaten by tactics and not beaten far. So that’s my three-horse Exacta and Trifecta box: Gio Ponti, Victoire Pisa, Buena Vista. Maybe throw in ultra-consistent Twice Over too.

Meydan Grandstand - (c) Horsephotos

Here’s my other great bet of the week … April 9, Aintree, on the Grand National undercard: Peddler’s Cross, who lost his unbeaten record when second to Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, steps up to 2 ½ miles for the G1 Aintree Hurdle. It will be a double-tough spot, but no Hurricane Fly, so I think he’ll win.

1 comment:

relgan said...

Thanks for adding blogs. Great addition to the always excellent TDN product. Bill Oppenheim is one of the most insightful observers of the sport.