Dubai Super Saturday: Bendoog, Real World poised for top honors

March 3rd, 2023

Dubai’s Super Saturday provides a fittingly strong preview to World Cup night in three weeks. The fields are minus some of the horses aimed for the big night, but the competition is still strong.

We will focus on the two Group 1 events for Super Saturday, the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 on dirt and the Jebel Hatta on turf.

Race 6, 9:25 a.m.: Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 3 (G1), dirt, 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), 3yo plus

Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 3 Selections

  • #3 Bendoog
  • #13 Salute The Soldier
  • #8 Kafoo
  • #15 Sifting Sands

Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 3 Wagers

  • $20 win: #3 Bendoog
  • $1 trifecta: 3 with 8, 13 with 2, 8, 13, 15

With the Dubai season’s middle-distance dirt star Algiers bypassing this race, it’s a wide-open contest. Several of the horses that were behind him in the Al Maktoum Challenge Rd 2 are back, however, among them #3 Bendoog (second), #13 Salute The Soldier (fifth), #2 Atletico El Culano (sixth), #11 Military Law (seventh), and #4 First Constitution (ninth). Bendoog clearly has the best form, though Salute The Soldier has won this race before.

There is an American representative in the form of Doug O’Neill’s #15 Sifting Sands. At his best he’d be a chance but his Dubai form hasn’t been inspiring.

Instead, the most likely to trouble the top two might be #8 Kafoo; he was fourth in this last year and put in the run of an improver when fourth in the Jebel Ali Mile (G3) Feb. 11. He should appreciate the extra trip.

Nonetheless, if things go to form, Bendoog will be hard to beat, and my wagers will focus on him.

Race 8, 10:45 a.m. ET: Jebel Hatta (G1), turf, 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles), 3yo plus

Jebel Hatta Selections

  • #12 Real World
  • #10 Master Of The Seas
  • #13 Russian Emperor
  • #3 Alfareeq

Jebel Hatta Wagers

  • $20 win: #12 Real World
  • $1 trifecta: 10, 12 with 10, 12, 13 with 3, 10, 12, 13, 15

Godolphin holds a very strong hand here with three leading market contenders. The 2021 Newmarket 2,000 Guineas runner-up #10 Master Of The Seas raced just once last year but returned in style when winning the Zabeel Mile (G2) Jan. 20. Here, however, he faces #12 Real World, whose only two defeats on turf have been to superstar Baaeed, and #15 Valiant Prince, a dual Group 2 winner at this carnival.

The Godolphin trio’s toughest opponents are last year’s winner of this race, #3 Alfareeq, who is in solid form, and the Hong Kong invader #13 Russian Emperor. The latter didn’t start his local season as well as he might have, finding it too tough to keep up with Romantic Warrior, but found the going much easier in Qatar Feb. 18 when beating an international field. He can’t be taken lightly.

However, given his turf record, I find it very hard to oppose Real World here, and I’m going to make him the focus of wagers.