• May 23, 2018
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dubai world cup

Al Quoz Sprint: Stepper Point could step out of the crowd

At least half of 16-strong field have a good chance of winning wide open contest

By Geir Stabell, Special To Gulf News
16:10 March 27, 2015

Newmarket, England: The most open race on the Dubai World Cup card is undoubtedly the Al Quoz Sprint — a contest where the racing novice has as good a chance of predicting the winner as the experts.

At least half of the 16 runners could win without anyone calling it a big surprise. Last year’s winner Amber Sky, the tough and experienced top class sprinter Sole Power, Hong Kong’s rising sprint star Peniaphobia, recent Meydan winner Sir Maximilian and Ahtoug, who was runner-up in this event 12 months ago, will all have their supporters — and all for good reasons.

I am going to take a chance on one of the long-shots though and his name is Stepper Point.

Making him my selection is not a case of following one of my racing rules ‘when it looks too difficult, try the impossible’ because to say it seems impossible to get Stepper Point on the top of the podium would be completely wrong.

This William Muir-trained gelding is underestimated, again and again, despite repeatedly running well in top sprints. Last year he was second to Sole Power in both the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and Nunthorpe Stakes at York, before beating Sir Maximilian quite easily to win the Flying Five Stakes at The Curragh.

Why some UK bookmakers have Stepper Point as big as 20-1 for the Al Quoz is beyond me. All of his seen wins to date have come over this distance, at seven different venues. He won first time out last year and he could easily surprise them all as he is making his seasonal bow here.

— The author is the editor of Newmarket-based independent racing and handicapping publication globeform.co.uk