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2011 Dubai World Cup Shaping Up for Twice Over


Twice Over (Observatory) made a major statement about his Dubai World Cup intentions as he romped home in the third round of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan racecourse this evening – installing himself as the betting favourite for the world’s richest race.

The Henry Cecil-trained contender is now a full horse and will be a major threat in most top-level races in 2011 if he continues to build on the form he flashed today. He entered today’s contest after a nearly five-month layoff since scoring at Newmarket in the Group 1 Emirates Airlines Champion Stakes with preferred jock Tom Queally in the irons.

Meydan isn’t the easiest place to make a seasonal debut and the manner in which he routed an impressive group of rivals must be bringing a smile to the entire Juddmonte, who deserve massive respect for the work they’ve done with this flashy bay.

The betting exchanges have been blown wide open by today’s events and the ante post wagering for the March 26 showpiece has Twice Over nearly a full point ahead of nearest rival Bold Silvano (Silvano). The Mike De Kock-trained South African-bred took the second round of the prestigious Maktoum Challenge, winning easily with Christophe Soumillon up.

Long-range punters will find Twice Over trading briskly just south of 5.0 while Bold Silvano is still attracting interest at 5.7 or so, with seemingly plenty of market depth up into the 6’s and 7’s.

The preference is generally for contenders that boast a Group-level score at Meydan that season and Gloria De Campeao (Impression) illustrated this nicely last year.

UK-based filly Snow Fairy (Intikhab) is favoured for a debut at Meydan and will likely debut in the World Cup. She’ll be coming in with plenty of momentum, after a relatively brief three-month freshening after a very successful pair of outings in Asia when she conquered the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto and then the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Gold Cup at Sha Tin less than a month later. She’s priced around 8.6 and will likely be bet down on the day.

American globetrotter Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat) is trading at an impressive 12.5 price tag and he is still without a seasonal debut at this point. Originally, the Christophe Clement-trained bay was pointed towards the Grade 3 Canadian Turf but connections opted out. It appears as though Gio Ponti will enter the race off a spell at Palm Meadows in lieu of a proper prep race – which will likely see his price rise. A number of contenders are still being bandied about for this one and the sheer variety of selections available in the 25.0-35.0 range is genuinely impressive.

Twice Over showed today that they’ll all have to up the ante if they want to match his impressive ability to find more on the run-in.