Dubai World Cup Day: 2024 turf undercard for Race 3, 4, 7, and 8

March 29th, 2024

The Dubai World Cup may be the headline race, but few racedays in the world have a higher-quality collection of turf races than this day. Three Group 1 races and a Group 2, ranging from six furlongs to two miles and worth a combined $13.5 million, make up a great turf card.

Let’s have a look at them each.


Race 3, 7:40 a.m. ET: Dubai Gold Cup (G2), turf, 3,200 meters (about two miles), Southern Hemisphere 3yos up and Northern Hemisphere 4yos up

#16 Tower Of London will likely be favorite after his super effort to win despite bad luck in running in the Red Sea Turf H. (G3) at Riyadh over #5 Enemy and #6 Giavellotto. He’s no worse off at the weights here, and if he gets clearer air he should maintain his superiority over those two horses.

This trio are not the only chances, however. The field includes dual St Leger winner #4 Eldar Eldarov, last year’s runner-up #11 Siskany, Ascot Long Distance Cup (G2) winner #13 Trawlerman, and Ascot Gold Cup (G1) runner-up #2 Coltrane. Eldar Eldarov may be best at 1 3/4 miles and Trawlerman failed badly here last year, but Coltrane should enjoy the good track, and Siskany has won his last two.

Tower Of London could show himself to be very good, but I’m going to support Siskany given his great record at Meydan.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #11 Siskany
  • $1 trifecta11, 16 with 4, 11, 16 with 2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 16 

Race 4, 8:15 a.m. ET: Al Quoz Sprint (G1), turf, 1,200 meters (about six furlongs), 3yos up

This is a top-drawer field. Top U.S. turf sprinter #3 Casa Creed should go well, but he’s up against some very interesting horses. They include two exciting three-year-old fillies, #11 Frost At Dawn and #12 Star Of Mystery, first and second in the Nad al Sheba Turf Sprint (G3) March 2. That was over five furlongs, and that may well be reversed over this trip.

The best horse in the race, however, is #2 California Spangle. He’s been one of the best horses in Hong Kong; unfortunate to be racing the same time as Golden Sixty, Romantic Warrior, and Lucky Sweynesse. The only question about him is whether six furlongs at the top level is too short for him. It’s a distance he hasn’t run at for more than two years, but he won four of his five races at that trip.

Last year’s winner #4 Danyah and fourth-place finisher #10 Sight Success are also worth looking at.

  • $10 win/$30 show: #2 California Spangle
  • $1 trifecta: 2, 12 with 2, 11, 12 with 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12 

Race 7, 10:10 a.m. ET: Dubai Turf (G1), turf, 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles), Southern Hemisphere 3yos up and Northern Hemisphere 4yos up

Can the remarkable #7 Lord North make it four wins in this race? As an eight-year-old he faces a tough task, not to mention high-class gallopers from Japan, Ireland, and Hong Kong. But he doesn’t seem to age at all, was a great second in the Winter Derby (G3) over a less-favorable 1 3/8 miles Feb. 24, and again has the services of Frankie Dettori.

If they were at their best, #8 Luxembourg and #16 Nashwa would be strong chances. But they have some strong form doubts; Luxembourg disappointed when fourth at Riyadh last month, while Nashwa didn’t find her best form last term. They need to be taken on trust.

The Japanese contingent is headed by #5 Do Deuce. The question over him is whether this is too short for him; his best victories have been at 1 1/2 miles. Last year’s Japanese runner-up #4 Danon Beluga may be a better chance, but the best Asian runner may well be #14 Voyage Bubble. The 2023 Hong Kong Derby winner has won once and come second twice in his last three starts; those seconds were to star gallopers Golden Sixty and Romantic Warrior.

#10 Measured Time has done little wrong to date, while France’s #6 Facteur Cheval and Japan’s #15 Namur can’t be overlooked for exotics.

  • $10 win/$20 show: #7 Lord North
  • $1 trifecta: 7, 14 with 7, 8, 14 with 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16

Race 8, 11:00 a.m. ET: Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), turf, 2,410 meters (about 1 1/2 miles), Southern Hemisphere 3yos up and Northern Hemisphere 4yos up

In the last two years, the European-trained Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner (Yibir, Rebel’s Romance) has resumed in this race and been beaten by a Japanese four-year-old (Shahryar, Equinox). 

This year the same test is being held, with BC Turf winner #9 Auguste Rodin facing an outstanding Japanese four-year-old in the form of the filly #12 Liberty Island. Last year, she won the Japanese three-year-old filly Triple Crown before suffering her only defeat in the Japan Cup (G1).

That defeat was by four lengths, but it was behind the pounding hooves of Equinox, clearly rated the best horse in the world last year. A similar effort will make her extremely difficult to beat.

Auguste Rodin got a charmed inside run to win the BC Turf, but he’s arguably a better horse than either Yibir or Rebel’s Romance, and Liberty Island is not Equinox. However, no BC Turf winner has returned to win the following Sheema Classic; though St Nicholas Abbey won the Sheema at six after taking the Turf at four.

The chances don’t end there. #4 Rebel’s Romance and #5 Shahryar are back for another go, and the race has also attracted outstanding English mare #10 Emily Upjohn, Hong Kong Vase (G1) winner #1 Junko, recent Neom Turf Cup (G2) victor #8 Spirit Dancer, and two more top-line Japanese runners in the form of #2 Justin Palace and #11 Stars On Earth.

All could win without surprising too much. But to me, the top three are Auguste Rodin, Emily Upjohn, and Liberty Island, especially as all should enjoy what is set to be good footing or firmer. I don’t see a lot between these three, which is enough for me to support the likely better odds of Emily Upjohn. Her Coronation Cup win on good-to-firm ground over subsequent Arc runner-up Westover was up with anything Auguste Rodin or Liberty Island showed last year.

  • $10 win/$20 show: #10 Emily Upjohn
  • $1 trifecta: 9, 10, 12 with 9, 10, 12 with 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12