Brandon A. Quick | Fri 30/03/2018 - 22:29 EDT

2018 Dubai World Cup Predictions

2018 Dubai World Cup Predictions

Americans Hold Strong Hand

Unlike the turf events on the Dubai World Cup undercard which are largely dominated by European and Japanese runners, the main event usually belongs to the United States. Once again, the red, white and blue appear to have the upperhand in the 1 1/4-mile event with West Coast tabbed as the heavy favorite. At 4/5 on the morning line, West Coast is deserving of his billing, as the 4 year-old Bob Baffert trainee has proven himself against the premier dirt horses in the world.

In ten career starts, West Coast has won six times, including a pair of Grade 1 races, and has never finished worse than third. More to the point, West Coast is primed to step out of the shadow of the retired Gun Runner, whom he was beaten by in his last two starts - the Breeders' Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup. On Speed Figures, West Coast is a standout, recording Beyer Figures of 112 and 115 in those two efforts. 

Gunnevera (10/1), Mubtaahij (15/1), Forever Unbridled (8/1) and Pavel (15/1) round out the American contingent. Of this group, the filly Forever Unbridled, is likely to capture the most interest from bettors as she will make what is likely her final career start and first against male runners. A standout against her own gender, Forever Unbridled won the Breeders' Cup Distaff in her last start, but faces a tall test in this spot. 

The Field 

  1. Awardee 50/1
  2. North America 8/1
  3. Gunnevera 10/1
  4. Furia Cruzada (60/1)
  5. Mubtaahij (15/1)
  6. Forever Unbridled (8/1)
  7. Talismanic (7/1)
  8. Pavel (15/1)
  9. West Coast 4/5
  10. Thunder Snow 10/1

The Euros

Of the non-American runners, Talismanic (7/1) and North America (8/1) will take the bulk of the wagering action. The former won the Breeders' Cup Turf in November and is a top-class horse on the grass, but is untested on dirt. The latter is thoroughly tested on dirt and has proven his affinity for the Meydan surface. North America has raced 8 times over the local dirt, winning 5 times, including his last-out score in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Round 3 Challenge. 

The Picks

While West Coast is certain to be a short price, it's nearly impossible to pick against him. Baffert has won this race three times since its inception in 1996 and will look for his second straight Dubai World Cup after winning last year with Arrogate. For now, it seems the only horses capable of matching strides with West Coast have already been retired to the breeding shed. This race is his to lose. 

Looking for value underneath in this race, I would normally be bullish about Forever Unbridled, but she hasn't raced since November 3 and could have used at least one prep before tackling the best field she's ever faced. Pavel hasn't run well in any of his last three starts and Gunnevera has been nursing a bruised foot leading up to this event. I'm passing on all three of those runners, leaving West Coast's stablemate Mubtaahij a logical contender in the exacta, trifecta and superfecta betting. Mubttaahij is no stranger to Dubai, having spent a significant part of his early career there with 10 starts at Meydan. 

I'll also use North America in the gimmicks as the true horse-for-course in this spot. Talismanic has everything to prove on dirt, but I'll respect his class enough to use him in the bottom rungs. 

  • 1st: West Coast
  • 2nd: North America
  • 3rd: Mubtaahij
  • 4th: Talismanic

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