Ryan Moore: The views on my six rides on Dubai World Cup day

Ryan has six rides at Meydan on Saturday afternoon

The flat season is upon us which means the return of Ryan Moore's exclusive Betfair column. The three-time Champion Jockey will be giving his frank and honest views throughout the summer months, starting with the lowdown on his six rides in Meydan on Dubai World Cup day...

Ryan Moore on Planteur

"Marco knows full well what he is doing, and I am sure you will see a much sharper, fitter and better horse today. But, being honest, a place is probably the limit of my expectations. Hunter's Light, well drawn in four, is the horse to beat."

13:10 Meydan - Red Jazz

In a normal Godolphin Mile, I probably wouldn't be giving a 6yo with plenty of miles on the clock too much of a chance. But it looks a very open and winnable race this year, as it appears to lack a stand-out performer along the lines of an African Story. Red Jazz finished third to that horse in this last year and while he may not be the horse he was two or three years ago, when he was Group 1-placed, Red Jazz showed a pretty high level of form - in the context of this race anyway - when second to Fulbright in the Challenge Stakes last October.

I got on him for the first time on his comeback run here earlier in the month, when 10th of 14 in a Group 3. He clearly needs to improve massively on that run to take a hand in the finish here, but there was more promise in that run than it may have looked on TV, and I am sure that he will be sharper here. He has finished third in the last two Godolphin Miles and another similar placing wouldn't totally surprise me. Moonwalk In Paris would possibly have been my idea of the likeliest winner in a very tight race to call but is badly drawn, and another horse with similarly strong form claims but better drawn is Surfer.


13:45 Meydan - Imperial Monarch

Imperial Monarch may have a bit to prove against the likes of a peak-form Saddler's Rock or Cavalryman, but I think this lightly-raced colt has the potential to go close in this and probably has a favourite's chance. I'll be honest and say that he was slightly disappointing when I rode him in the International at Woodbine in October - we expected a bit more there - but I wouldn't be in a rush to judge him on that run. He had previously shown tons of talent, meeting all the trouble going in a carnage of a French Derby before winning another messy race in the Grand Prix De Paris.

I don't think the step up to 2m will be a problem, and he seems to have a lot more scope for improvement than a few in here. If he handles the quick surface, then he has a lot going for him. Of the others, there could be more to come from Tenenbaum, but Imperial Monarch is probably my best chance of the night.


14:25 Meydan - Lines Of Battle

This is a horse I have always liked, and I would like to think that he will give a good account of himself here from a good draw in four. I rode in the Curragh maiden that he won on his debut and that day he struck me as a lovely-looking horse going places. And I was on board when he was a promising sixth in the Coventry on his next start. He went on to progress further in his next two outings, before Aidan sent him over to contest the Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita in November. I was lucky enough to win that race on George Vancouver for the stable but I am sure that Aidan was happy enough with Lines Of Battle, who did well to finish in midfield after being drawn 14 of 14.

Richard's Law Enforcement went from strength to strength last season; the well-related Secret Number was very impressive here earlier in the month and could be the pick of the usual strong Godolphin hand in this race. But I just wonder whether he will be a bit too raw for this and not battle-hardened enough so early on in his career; I'm told the De Kock camp think that they haven't seen the best of Emotif and Zahee in Dubai yet but they clearly need to improve; and I actually rode Keiai Leone to win his maiden in Japan last year and I liked him. He is a nice, big, grey who is tough too, a good quality to have in these races.

Although this is something of a guessing game with so many unexposed horses, I am positive on the chances of Lines Of Battle.


15:45 Meydan - Taisei Legend

If Krypton Factor returns to the form of his defeat of Rocket Man in this race last year, then he is probably the one to beat. But he is badly drawn and hasn't been running to that level of form this season, and this looks another wide-open race.

Gordon Lord Byron won the Foret and developed into a genuine Group 1 performer last season, had an exercise canter in winning his prep at Dundalk - which is a similar surface to here so a positive in that respect - last time, and is obviously a leading contender here from a good draw. The problem is, so are loads of these. Australian Group 1 winner Mental won well on his Meydan debut last month and is a big danger; Trinniberg won the Breeders' Cup Sprint on dirt and has a big chance on form, but the surface is a question mark; Frederick Engels has been running well in Grade 1 company in Hong Kong; and Reply, who I rode to finish third in a Middle Park, could be an interesting outsider stepped back to 6f.

I ride Taisei Legend, and he is another horse stepping back in trip. Everyone knows how much I rate the strength of Japanese racing and this horse hasn't been getting home on his last two starts. He had earlier won what the Japanese call a local Grade 1 contest over 7f, but I think 6f may be his most effective trip in this class. Whether or not he has the Group 1 ability of some of these is obviously open to doubt and he is probably going to be one of the outsiders. But underestimate Japanese horses on the international stage at your peril.


16:40 Meydan - Wigmore Hall

Wigmore Hall has a pretty good record here; in fact, his two best career efforts arguably have come in this race, finishing third to Presvis in 2011 and fourth to Cityscape last year. If he runs to that level of form again, he may not be far away at all but the draw is a big negative. He rounded off last season with two good efforts over 1m4f at Woodbine, winning a Grade 1 race for the second successive year in September, so he is certainly not out of his depth in this company. And this is arguably a weaker Duty Free than in recent seasons. He felt fine when I rode him in a racecourse gallop at Lingfield last week and I would say he has outside place chances again.

Little Mike has to be respected on his Breeders Cup Turf win - that is probably the single best piece of form on offer here - and has shown Grade 1-winning form on turf over this trip in the States, and you would have to expect he would have needed his prep run here after a bad journey over from the States. But it remains to be seen whether he is fully recovered from that and comes here in top form. I think they are running him in the right race though.

Of the others, Giofra had Group 1-winning form against some of the better fillies in Europe last season and ran well at Sha Tin in December; Ocean Park has some very strong Group 1 winning form in Australia and New Zealand; Sajjhaa is on a roll and won the Jebel Hatta against a few of these last time; and Trade Storm could not have been more impressive in beating Musir and Fulbright over a mile last time. It is easy to get carried away with visually stunning performances like that but there was substance to the form, too. He could be the one to beat but being drawn 14 of 14 does him no favours at all and any one of about half a dozen will probably be fancying their chances in this.


18:05 Meydan - Planteur

A lot of people will think the Americans hold the winning hand here, but I wouldn't be so sure. I have obviously been out in Dubai a fair bit this winter and the horse that has probably impressed me most has been Hunter's Light. He has come a long way since finishing behind me on Carlton House in the Brigardier Gerard and Sea Moon in the Hardwicke last season and looks to have developed into a genuine Group 1 horse, his only defeat in his last six runs coming against Cirrus Des Aigles in the Prix Dollar.

He gained his first Group 1 win in Italy in November and has really looked the part in his two victories over this course and distance. I rode the third, Prince Bishop, when he won a Group 1 here by nearly three lengths last time - the horse he beat, Kassiano, didn't get the best of runs there but looked really progressive himself beforehand and, though badly drawn, is not without a chance himself here - and he looks a high class and improving horse who you know is suited by conditions. And, perhaps equally as important, he looks very straightforward. He may not even have to improve again to take this, and looks sure to run a big race.

And another one of his stablemates, the improving African Story, isn't totally out of it if staying on his first attempt at 1m2f; his pedigree does give a bit of encouragement that he may but most Pivotals excel at a mile or shorter.

But the Americans clearly hold far stronger claims on the book than him. Royal Delta is a four-time Grade 1 winner and those four wins have come on different tracks, so she is adaptable too, which may stand her in good stead in handling Dubai's Tapeta surface. She clearly didn't get the chance to show her best when hampered when well beaten in this race last year but her overall form in the US makes her a major player at these weights. She is a grinder who will probably try and go from the front, but I just wonder whether this track will suit her.

Dullahan is a horse I have always rated but he will have to have improved enormously from his run behind African Story here earlier in the month, albeit that race came over just a mile. But I do know that both he and Little Mike had a very bad journey over from the States before their prep runs. And there are two ways of looking at that. One is that they will come on a lot for them, but the other is that the bad trip will have taken a lot out of them. So who knows?

Animal Kingdom looks to have a lot more going for him, and is probably the most talented horse in the race. The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up ran a tremendous race when second in a very strong Breeders Cup Mile at Santa Anita in November and I imagine connections were not too downbeat with his second to Point Of Entry, again on turf, at Gulfstream last month. We know he handles dirt, and if he takes to this surface then he could prove to be the best of the Americans.

But anything drawn high has a lot to overcome, whatever their run-style. I hear there is some confidence in Treasure Beach improving a good deal on his prep race behind Hunter's Light, and I know the horse well, having ridden him to beat Nathaniel in a Chester Vase. Mike de Kock has been having a good Carnival and it wouldn't surprise me were he to be thereabouts in what is clearly a very open race.

And I obviously know Red Cadeaux well, too. He is turning into another remarkable globetrotter for Ed; don't underestimate what it takes to win a Hong Kong Vase, but you have to think he may struggle for pace over 1m2f against some of these.

Then there is my mount, Planteur. He ran a great race when third in this race last year and I suppose odds of around 15.014/1 look pretty accurate in what looks to a better race depth-wise. A lot of people were underwhelmed by his narrow win in the Lingfield Winter Derby Trial last time. And if he ran to that level of form here, he would probably finish last. But I remember being similarly unimpressed by him when I rode him in a piece of work at Wolverhampton before he travelled to Dubai for last year's race, and then he went and finished third. Marco knows full well what he is doing, and I am sure you will see a much sharper, fitter and better horse today. But, being honest, a place is probably the limit of my expectations. Hunter's Light, well drawn in four, is the horse to beat.


Get a Free £/€20 Exchange Bet

  • Join Now - Open your account today using promo code VAL225
  • Bet - Place a £/€20 Bet on the Exchange
  • Earn - £/€20 Back in cash if your bet loses
Bet Now

T&Cs apply.

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles