Dubai: When Jamie Osborne won this race with Toast Of New York he said it was the easiest way to win a million dollars. Well that is not the case now and we notice he does not have a runner this year in possibly the classiest ever renewal of the race.
Aiden O’Brien, the master of Ballydoyle, is back and he is launching the highest-rated horse in to the race in Mendelssohn. He won the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at the back end of last year and recently showed his well-being when winning a listed contest in Dundalk. He looks a class horse and bred by Scat Daddy should be well suited to the track and he has entries in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish equivalent. Partnered by Ryan Moore — aiming for his second UAE Derby tonight — and representing this top yard, he is sure to be a massive threat.
O’Brien has two other runners as he aims to saddle his third winner of this race. Seamie Heffernan takes his chance on Threeandfourpence, who was close to Mendelssohn in their prep race at Dundalk and he should not be underestimated.
It’s a different test for him but we know he likes the dirt at Meydan and I think the longer trip will suit him. We have got him this far in good condition.”
- Charlie Appleby | Trainer
The trainers son Donnacha is an excellent jockey too and he gets the legup on Seahenge, who himself is no slouch having placed in a Group 1 last season and finished third in the aforementioned Dundalk race.
Gold Town is a really big chance for a Godolphin winner on their home track and this Street Cry gelding looks to be red-hot favourite for this heat following two outstanding performances so far this term on the dirt at Meydan. Unusually he was gelded as a two-year-old in the UK and this has been the making of him.
He has run with great improvement ever since and his run in the UAE 2,000 Guineas was simply astounding where he spread-eagled the field winning by easily a full ten lengths even more. Charlie Appleby’s charge is sure to be ridden by William Buick and will be the one to beat and providing he stays the international challenge may well find him too strong.
Reride represents the USA in this race and although he has not got any pattern race form he arrives here on the back of two smooth conditions race wins and he has only been beaten once in his first five starts. From the Steve Asmussen and ridden by Javier Castellano you ignore this one at your peril.
He wears blinkers on raceday but not in the mornings. All three for the Derby are in great form and their preparation has gone very well.”
- Aidan O’Brien | Trainer
The Japanese always send over a top challenge in this race and they won it in 2016 with Lani. Lani was trained by Misunori Makiura, who is back for another crack at this race with Taiki Ferveur, who is to be partnered by the “Magic Man” Joao Moreira and he should be a big player. Also trained in Japan is Ruggero, who has be conditioned by Yuichi Shikato and he will need to improve a bit to reverse form with Taiki Ferveur whom he finished behind last time.
The impressive UAE Oaks winner Rayya will attempt to become only the second filly to win this race (after Khawlah 2011). Trained by champion trainer Doug Watson and ridden by his stable jockey Pat Dobbs she is bound to put in a strong challenge.
The home team is completed by Yulong Warrior, who arrives here in great form having won the Al Bastakiya by a massive 11 and half lengths. If he progresses again Richard Mullen looks to be in for another great night.
We have to look at Mendelssohn to be the most likely winner with Gold Town looking to be the biggest threat. The progressive Yulong Warrior could really serve it up to them.
(Harry Tregoning is a horse racing expert and Managing Partner, Tregoning Property)
2 Gold Town
3 Yulong Warrior