Guide to the 2019 Dubai Carnival

Thunder Snow takes the 2018 Dubai World Cup

The brainchild of Sheikh Mohammed, ruler of Dubai and the founder of Godolphin, the largest investors in the sport of horse racing the World has ever seen. Ever since the Dubai World Cup was first run in 1996 (and won by American superstar Cigar), it has been one of the richest races on the planet, but the $1.25 billion development of Meydan racecourse from the quainter if smaller Nad Al Sheba provided more facilities and allowed for the development of a Carnival and not just the one race day. Read on to find out more or if you can’t wait, why not have a look at our other horse racing tips for other meetings here.

The Dubai Carnival 

From a single day at the beginning, the Dubai Carival has now grown to three months of action building up to World Cup night as horses from around the World compete for over $10,000,000 in win and place prize money BEFORE the main event, as well as the chance to qualify for the main events which this year will be held on Saturday the 30th March in front of a crowd of 60,000, some inside the biggest Grandstand on the planet and others spilling out on to the racecourse picnic areas.

With all the usual bookmakers offering odds all the way (no odds in Dubai, of course), Meydan is well worth a lot more than just a cursory glance. Before we start the detailed race by race analysis next week, it’s well worth a look back at past years to see which trainers, jockeys and owners who are worth following to whet your appetite ahead of full coverage of every Meydan meeting from now to World Cup night.


No great shock to anyone reading this to see that Godolphin are high on the list via Saeed Bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby. 63 wins for Saeed in the last 5 years make his horses worthy of more than a second look and those who follow him blindly have seen close to 29 points of profit. Charlie’s strike rate isn’t far behind, but the profit drops down to £10 or so to £1 level stakes. Both inspire me as a punter, but not as much as DOUG WATSON, whose 107 winners make him top of the pile despite a lower 14% strike rate. 68 points of profit are not to be sniffed at and it may be worth concentrating on those three trainers if you plan to play the statistics.


Hands up who expected for me to reel off a list of Godolphin jockeys here such as William Buick and James Doyle? Truth is both ride the course well, and in my opinion, both are improving in the saddle year on year, but this is a statistics article and PAT DOBBS is your stand out Dubai option. A 16% strike rate coupled with over 68 points of profit make him the man to have on your side with Mickael Barzalona his nearest rival with 31 points of money to add to the bank.


Obviously, this table changes year on year but ONE MAN BAND remains in training at the age of eight and has already won seven races from eleven starts here for a 20.87 point level stakes profit. He was off for a year and a half but returned last month for a neck second and if he is none the worse for that, he could prove worth following again in 2019. As for the bigger races (they get better as the Carnival goes on), the runners are an unknown quantity at present, but the mists will clear over time though Thunder Snow sits at the top of the antepost list for the World Cup itself on 30th March. He should go well for Godolphin if turning out to try and repeat last season’s victory, though we are no mug punters and will await a better idea of the final field before determining any bets we may have on the big race, though if you are looking for advice for elsewhere, why not have a look at our racecards page here.

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