How to pick a winning horse
The Dubai World Cup is upon us! Not only is the famed horse race the biggest sporting event in the UAE, but with an estimated Dhs36 million being offered as prize money, it is also the richest race in the world. To try help us shorten our odds, Esquire Middle East spoke to racing insider Mike Kaye, about how to pick a world cup winner
What to look out for
There are many factors when it comes to picking a winner. For me, the most important is recent form. Seeing how a horse has run over the last 40 days is a good indication of its health.
Don’t just pick the best name
If you had the finalists for the men’s Olympic 100m sprint lined up in front of you and were asked to pick the winner, would you start by asking their names? No, you would most likely pick the strongest, most athletic-looking guy, or at least ask what races they had won before. It’s the same with horses.
More horse than jockey
A seasoned, winning jockey is important to get the best out of a horse, but I believe that 90 percent of the race comes down to the horse itself. A jockey with big-race experience is more likely to win a race through a lack of errors, rather than racing brilliance.
The parade ring
On World Cup night, 95 percent of the horses will be fit, healthy and raring to go. But the main thing that will set them apart is their behaviour, and you can see this when they are paraded around before the race. Some horses will never have run in front of such a big crowd and the occasion can get to them, or they lose energy through nerves. Signs of nerves are bounciness, throwing their head around and particularly heavy sweating.
Grass or dirt
Most horses run well on turf but dirt is a lot more specialist. Check the horse has run well on the surface before. Also bear in mind that the dirt track is inside the turf track and is therefore tighter. In general this means that a lower draw is preferred. On turf the draw is far less of a factor.
Root for the home team
In half of the 20 occasions the Dubai World Cup has been run, the winning horse has been owned by the Maktoum family, with Dubai’s Godolphin stable having won it six times. Back them for both the Godolphin Mile race and the show-piece Dubai World Cup race, while the other races tend to be much more open.
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Mike Kaye is the Managing Director of Touch Gold Racing. For more visit touchgoldracing.com