Dubawi looks almost certain to get good ground for Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Newmarket.
The Godolphin three-year-old is the ante-post favourite with most bookmakers for the Barclays plc-sponsored Group One event but connections are hoping for a drop of rain to help his chances.
Dubawi has shown his best form on ground with a little bit of ease and he ran his only really disappointing race to date on good to firm in the 2000 Guineas back in May.
The son of Dubai Millennium bounced back with wins in the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Prix Jacques le Marois on a softer surface and he looks set to get the needed precipitation ahead of the race.
“It’s forecast to be dry today and tomorrow morning, but rain is due to arrive tomorrow afternoon with the current prediction that we might get five millimetres,” said Newmarket clerk of the course Michael Prosser.
“I’ve walked the course this morning and, while it has obviously dried out a bit over the last 48 hours since we raced on Tuesday, the going remains good.”
Dubawi is the 15-8 clear market leader with both Coral and Ladbrokes after his French success, but William Hill make him the 2-1 joint favourite with Luca Cumani’s Starcraft while Rakti is snapping at their heels at 9-4.
Jennie Prest, spokesman for Hills, explained: “Dubawi has been relatively friendless all week with us, with the money coming for Rakti and Starcraft, but it’s a mouth-watering clash for the punters with opinions split all ways between the big three.”
Coral believe the Michael Jarvis-trained Rakti may well end up going off favourite on Saturday, despite not having raced since his second place in the Queen Anne Stakes at the Royal meeting in June.
The six-year-old won the Lockinge Stakes in record time back in May and he lifted the QEII last season in impressive style.
“As we expected this is a field high on quality if not quantity, and although Dubawi currently heads the market, he’s very easy to back, and there’s every chance Rakti will be sent off as favourite,” predicted David Stevens.
Victor Chandler is taking no chances with the Godolphin runner and his VC Bet go 7-4.
Frankie Dettori is due to ride Dubawi and this card, which has been transferred while Ascot is redeveloped, proved something of a pinnacle in the rider’s career.
He notched up his ‘magnificent seven’ in 1996, when he went through the card and Chandler are guarding against a similar occurrence.
“It was nine years ago when that ‘Demon’ Dettori rode all seven winners going through a fiercely competitive card to land a 25,095-1 seven-timer,” said Chandler.
“I have always been an admirer of Frankie but on that particular day he was bookie enemy number one!”
“I am not expecting a repeat of history this Saturday – there are only six races – but obviously Frankie has a great chance of landing the QEII Stakes on the hot favourite Dubawi.
“This one went into winter quarters as favourite for the colts’ Classics but was an early season disappointment.
“However, he bounced back and is the one they all have to beat”.
Just six horses contest the £200,000 (€294,700) with the Aidan O’Brien-trained Mullins Bay, Godolphin’s pacemaker Blatant and John Gosden’s Sleeping Indian the final three declarations.
However, Gosden has warned the latter will not run unless there is sufficient rain.
Queen Elizabeth II Stakes betting:
Coral: 15-8 Dubawi, 2-1 Rakti, 9-4 Starcraft, 11-1 Sleeping Indian, Mullins Bay, 100-1 Blatant.
Ladbrokes: 15-8 Dubawi, 2-1 Starcraft, 9-4 Rakti, 10-1 Mullins Bay, 16-1 Sleeping Indian, 200-1 Blatant.
William Hill: 2-1 Dubawi, Starcraft, 9-4 Rakti, 11-1 Mullins Bay, 16-1 Sleeping Indian, 200-1 Blatant.
VC Bet: 7-4 Dubawi, 2-1 Starcraft, 5-2 Rakti, 10-1 Mullins Bay, 12-1 Sleeping Indian, 100-1 Blatant.