Yeah, yeah – I know it’s The Dubai World Cup and that the shoulder races to the big one are all very high quality. Yes, I also know that they all carry enough prize money to pay for a 1″ advertising spot on the rear wing of a really ordinary F1 car, driven by a banned Russian. But there are only so many hours in the day and I was busy trying to work out how Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement had blown up an oil refinery down’t road from Charles Le Clerc whizzing around Jeddah Corniche track in his Ferrari. But a glance through my back copies of The Jeddah Sun, suggests that this attack was not alone and that it has been a busy old week for the Houthi rebels/freedom-fighters/guerrillas/criminals (strikeout as per your political views). They had a rare old time in Saudi last week, launching missile and drone attacks, targeting various energy facilities in Jizan, Yanbu, Dhahran Al-Janub and Khamis Mushait. There were no casualties and they were apparently a response to the US reported supply of new US Patriot systems.
In fact, my man in the dark alley at the side of the docks, says they weren’t new but simply moved from somewhere else – possibly Qatar. The Saudis were unimpressed by this generosity and called on the “International Community” aka “USA” to do more to help stop the Houthi. This of course was coupled by mentioning en passant that Saudi Arabia couldn’t be held responsible for oil price fluctuations caused by the attacks.
Saudi is, as ever, a tricky old game. My thinking is that the Saudis are concerned that [a] the USA are disinterested in getting involved in any way with the Yemeni problem, especially as it is entirely possible that they need all spare bodies to be in or near NATO countries and [b] that the USA is close to doing an Iranian nuclear deal along 2015 lines that see some tighter control and less development, fewer anti-Iran sanctions, but doesn’t mention Saudi anywhere. This will, in all likelihood, lead to Saudi telling Biden to take a running jump re the USA’s request to Saudi to increase oil production during the Ukraine war. They will also start to look for new arms suppliers, probably from Turkey and France (Gawd Bless you Monsieur Georges-Picot). But in the long-term, the whole of Europe should beware the ever-kindly and supportive hand of China descending on The Crown Prince’s shoulders. I’m not for a moment saying that the Houthi didn’t do it, but one might just wonder at the proximity to the F1. Meanwhile, a few days by Camel and nowhere near the footsteps of El-Orance, it’s Carnival time.
I liked Dubai, pre-Russification when it became as you might imagine, vulgar. There was a wonderful beach Club with hot and cold running staff who were all brilliant, kind, amusing and made the charges look less like a wounded Rhino’s and more the gnat’s bite. They built some monstrosity on it since, so I no longer go. The Pharoah of Galway has an interest in Sir Busker in The Turf and Sam Hoskins who manages the hugely successful beast is honest enough to say that this is essentially a bank-raid with fun bells on.
Tick Tock it’s off in an hour!
12:20 Godolphin Mile (G2) (Dirt) (3yo+) 1m 16 run
STORM DAMAGE 2 pts e/w
12:55 Dubai Gold Cup (G2) (Turf) (3yo+) 2m 13 run
MANOBO 3pts Win
1:35 Al Quoz Sprint (G1) (Turf) (3yo+) 6f 16 run
CASA CREED 1pt e/w
2:10 UAE Derby (G2) (Dirt) (3yo) 1m1½f 16 run
IRWIN 1 pt e/w – PINEHURST 1 pt e/w
2:45 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) (Dirt) (3yo+) 6f 13 run
Don’t look past the top four in the betting. Really tricky.
DR SCHIVEL 4 pts WIn
3:20 Dubai Turf (G1) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m1f 14 run
LORD NORTH 2 pts Win – Forecast to beat SCHNELL MEISTER and COLONEL LIAM. – SIR BUSKER 1 pt e/w 6 places @ 20/1 with Bet365
3:55 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) (Turf) (3yo+) 1m4f 15 run
DUBAI HONOUR 1pt e/w – HUKUM 1½ pt e/w
4:30 Dubai World Cup (G1) (Dirt) (3yo+) 1m2f 10 run
Really hard to see past the favourite, LIFE IS GOOD who together with HOT ROD CHARLIE must be among the best horse currently in training – anywhere.
LIFE IS GOOD 5 pts Win
This is going to be interesting. Allegedly some of the Sky Germany TV crew have left Jeddah; the Drivers said unanimously last night they weren’t racing and today following a meeting which went on, according to Twitter, past 1:00am [local] and which was attended by most of the bosses, they agreed to race. There are also reports of some very real tensions between the FIA and the more socially-aware team principals that perhaps Sportswashing venues are doing more to tarnish the sport than anything else. If you cancel the Russian GP on the grounds of war, but race in the smoke from an oil fire caused by a missile attack and you still race following the mass execution of 81 prisoners including some under-16s, it’s just possible that the wheels aren’t balanced properly. I’m not at all Woke, but I do sense when it’s time to rethink the brand strategy.
Patently Ferrari is in top form and a week isn’t enough time for Mercedes to have started the fightback. I wouldn’t bet against LeClerc.