Dubai Duty Free Cup preview: Tabarrak looks tasty at Newbury

Published on: September 19, 2019
Author: David Metcalf
Our 2019 Dubai Duty Free Cup preview says 2017 winner Tabarrak (left) can score again at Newbury

On the back of two cracking efforts, Tabarrak looks a worthy even-money favourite with BetVictor to land the Listed 7f Dubai Duty Free Cup for second time at Newbury on Friday (15:55).

This Richard Hannon trained six-year-old has a fine strike rate of 31 per cent having won seven of his 22 career starts.

He is unbeaten in two starts over this course and distance, with the last of those success coming in this contest in 2017 where he beat subsequent Group 1 winner Accidental Agent by a neck.

Tabarrak went on to score three times last season, twice in Listed company, and comes into his at the top of his game having finished runner-up in his last two outings.

After going down by just a neck to Salute The Soldier in a competitive 15-runner handicap at Goodwood, the son of Acclamation finished off strongly when again being beaten just a neck by that rival in the valuable Cunard Handicap at Ascot 13 days ago.

He was attempting to give the winner 10lb and 9lb respectively, but now meets Clive Cox’s charge on level weights. It makes Tabarrak firmly the one to be on on this occasion.

An official rating of 112 gives him 8lb and upwards in hand on his eight rivals.

Jim Crowley also gets a great tune out of Tabarrak, so there is simply nothing not to like about his chances in this and it looks a golden opportunity for him to get back on the scoresheet.

Makzeem the main danger in Dubai Duty Free Cup

The aforementioned Salute The Soldier looks sure to make a bold bid to land the hat-trick, but faces a mammoth task now meeting Tabarrak on much worse terms.

A bigger danger to the selection, therefore, may well prove to be the Roger Charlton trained Makzeem, who can be backed at 11/2 with William Hill.

This six-year-old is the joint second highest rated in the Dubai Duty Free Cup this year and got back to winnings ways over course and distance two starts back when beating George William by four lengths.

After being held-up early doors by Jason Watson, Makzeem made good headway two from home and, once he had taken up the running at the furlong marker, forged clear to win impressively.

It was a most taking display, but he has since been beaten out of sight at Ascot when a 42 lengths 22nd of 23 to Raising Sand in the International Stakes.

Something was clearly amiss that day and connections have wisely given the son of Makfi a break to freshen up.

If that works the oracle, then Makzeem looks a key player in this on the pick of his form. However, on official ratings he will need Tabarrak to underperform if he is to land the spoils.

Red Starlight appeals each-way

Of those at bigger odds, Red Starlight makes most appeal from an each-way punting perspective in this renewal of the Dubai Duty Free Cup.

This four-year-old, who like Tabarrak hails from the yard of Richard Hannon, is a course winner who was last successful in a handicap at Lingfield 12 months ago when bolting up by seven lengths.

Red Starlight went on to round off the campaign with a solid second of 15 to Di Fede in a Listed contest at Ascot, and looked as good as ever on seasonal reappearance at Doncaster when finding on Sharja Bridge two lengths too good in the same grade.

The daughter of Pivotal has held her form well since, finishing a close up third to Indian Blessing in another Listed contest at Musselburgh and chasing home Miss O’Connor in the Listed 1m Dick Hern Stakes at Haydock on her penultimate outing.

Although disappointing last time out at Sandown when last of eight to Lavender Blue, that came in a warm Group 3 contest and this represents a return to calmer waters.

Red Starlight has also won once and been placed twice in five starts over the 7f journey of this and now gets the services of the in-form Pat Doobs in the saddle.

So, at 9/1 with Paddy Power, she gets our each-way vote and thus completes this Dubai Duty Free Cup preview.