Dubai World Cup Preview 2023: Algiers battles Country Grammer, Japanese

March 22nd, 2023

The Dubai World Cup for 2023 looks like a great betting contest. There are no obvious superstars, but it is a very even field with a lot of potential winners, and prices may be very appealing in the 15-horse field.

Dubai World Cup Selections

  • #1 Algiers
  • #4 Country Grammer
  • #14 Ushba Tesoro
  • #9 Panthalassa

Dubai World Cup Wagers

  • $10 win/$30 show: #1 Algiers
  • $1 trifecta: 1, 4 with 1, 4, 14 with 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, 14

#4 Country Grammer returns to Meydan to seek a second success in this race. As he did last year, he arrives after finishing second in the Saudi Cup (G1). Although, unlike last year — when he was run down late by Emblem Road in Riyadh — this time he couldn’t muster early pace and only closed into second in the last sixteenth.

Country Grammer generally wants a full 1 1/4 miles to excel. Returning to that trip here, he will surely be tough again.

Saudi Cup winner #9 Panthalassa must be considered strongly again. However, it’s arguable that 1 1/8 miles is his best trip; he scored at that distance in last year’s Dubai Turf (G1), but he has yet to last the full 1 1/4 miles for victory at Group/Grade 1 level. I wouldn’t leave him out of exotics, but he might find the extra furlong a bit much on what is frequently a testing dirt track.

Of the Japanese horses behind Panthalassa in Riyadh, third placegetter #3 Café Pharoah is also doubtful at 1 1/4 miles, while fourth-place finisher #7 Geoglyph hasn’t placed at this journey since winning the Satsuki Sho (G1) on turf last April. #5 Crown Pride won the 1 3/16-mile UAE Derby (G2) here last year, but needs to improve from his Riyadh fifth.

The best Japanese prospect may be #14 Ushba Tesoro. Since switching to dirt in April last year he’s won five of his six starts, including a nice victory over #13 T O Keynes in the Kawasaki Kinen Feb. 1. All his dirt victories have been over at least 1 1/4 miles.

However, they all may have to play second fiddle to one of the most improved horses in training. #1 Algiers was a disappointing eighth in the Godolphin Mile (G2) on this day last year. He was subsequently gelded, and the results since then have been stunning.

After three nice runs in Britain, he returned to Meydan seemingly a different horse, taking the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge by at least six lengths. The opposition wasn’t in the same class as what he’ll face here, but he could probably have won both races by more, and he easily stayed 1 3/16 miles in Round 2, suggesting he should manage 1 1/4 miles here.

I’m going to back Algiers, and focus on him and Country Grammer at the top of trifectas.