There is a top-class card at Meydan on Saturday with five Group 1s, including the Dubai World Cup, taking centre stage.

 Here are Nick Luck’s fancies on the eight-race card.


RED VERDON isn’t getting any younger, but can draw himself a hefty old pension by winning the Dubai Gold Cup (12.50pm) on what could be another huge payday for David Egan. The international exploits of horses trained by Ed Dunlop is a well-told story – his team just know what they’re up to when looking after horses abroad, and this fellow is a prime example, having run two screamers in the Caulfield Cup and finishing a fine fourth in Saudi Arabia. Although behind two of today’s rivals that day, he came from a little further back in an unevenly run race. This test will suit better, and he looks to have had the perfect preparation at 11/1.

KHAADEM (11/2) is an itch that I keep scratching, only to find myself bleeding. This time, though, in the Al Quoz Sprint (1.30pm). In all seriousness, his record says that off a break may be the time to catch him and these are just about his ideal conditions (track, trip, ground). While I admire Space Blues hugely, he wasn’t that impressive in Riyadh and this trip will be plenty sharp enough for him.

FRANCE GO DE INA is a confident selection to better his compatriot Pink Kamehameha in the UAE Derby (2.05pm) en route to a probable tilt at the Kentucky equivalent. Boasting some progressive juvenile form in Japan, the connections have gone for top jock Joel Rosario on a colt whose pedigree suggests he will be much better this year. He’s a 5/1 chance.

YAUPON might destroy them for pace in the Golden Shaheen (2.40pm). Seasoned race readers will point to a possible pace meltdown here with the selection and Matera Sky both well drawn. Normally, that would draw me to a closer, but this track will not be as amenable as Riyadh to the late challenge of a Copano Kicking or a Justin, and my feeling is that Yaupon – who underperformed in the Breeders’ Cup – might just get loose here at 4/1.

VIN DE GARDE should be backed at 10/1 in what looks a tempting betting race for the Dubai Turf (3.30pm). By rights, Lord North should win this well, but I wasn’t convinced by some of his performances at the back end of last year and he might need a bit of Franki Dettori magic (I wonder whether he might make a bit more use of him?).

The selection is nicely drawn, has had an attractive prep for this, and nine furlongs should be spot on.

I’ll also back GLEN FORCE at a monster 40/1 on his form for Sir Mark Prescott last year he has no chance, but he’s improved wildly for Fawzi Nass in Bahrain lately, taking one of their most prestigious races with his head in his chest two weeks ago, and he could easily shock a few of these from the front under the excellent Adrie De Vries.

CHRONO GENESIS gets a narrow vote at 5/2 in the race of the night – the Dubai Sheema Classic (4.10pm). Her Japanese form against the brilliant Almond Eye makes her the most credentialed horse on Turf at this distance. While I have huge regard for Mishriff, he has been inconvenienced by the draw, and there must be a suspicion that he could bounce off his massive effort in Saudi Arabia, while Mogul took a few runs to hit peak form last year and lacks the tactical speed of a few of these.

SALUTE THE SOLDIER can make it a red letter day for Bahrain by taking the Dubai World Cup (4.50pm). He has made huge strides at this track this season, improving with every run and seeing off the local cheap speed merchants quite takingly. His US opponents this year are worthy, but not right out of the top drawer, and his home court advantage should see him through at 13/2.

Check out all the latest horse racing betting odds at William Hill