Stidham’s Mystic Guide Dominates $12m Dubai World Cup 2021

Mike StidhamThe US-trained Mystic Guide was the 6/4 favorite in the 2021 $12 million Dubai World Cup and won in the style of an odds-on shot for Godolphin in Meydan on March 27 under Luis Saez.

Godolphin is the international racing operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and founder and sponsor of the race, the victor is trained in the USA but it was a home win.

This four-year-old son of Ghostzapper was bred by Godolphin in Kentucky out of the prolific top level performer Music Note, a mare by A.P. Indy. It was his eighth start for West Coast trainer Mike Stidham and gave him his, and almost anybody’s, most valuable win. Mystic Guide was last seen cruising home to victory in the grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park at the end of February. This was his first race outside of America and top level score. His highest rated result before this one came in the grade 2 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga in September last year.

Eventually run over a mile and a quarter on dirt described as fast, Mystic Guide finished the Dubai World Cup in a time of 2 minutes 1.61 seconds, nearly four lengths ahead of the Japanese trainee Chuwa Wizard who was sent off at 20/1. The Godolphin second string, Magny Cours trained in France by Andre Fabre, was the second favorite at 9/2 and achieved third place, a length further back under the UK based jockey William Buick. It was this six-year-old son of Medaglia D’ Oro’s first start on dirt.

There was no shortage of drama before the race got underway, 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. Frankie Dettori parted company with the Abdullah Mishrif trainee Great Scot, who was third in the Saudi Cup, on the way to the gates. The gelding ran loose for some time before he could be caught and was consequently withdrawn. Great Scot’s antics did nothing to improve the mental state of the other runners.

It may be no coincidence that Military Law slipped and broke out of the gates and was taken out of the race too. Fortunately the Musabbeh al Mheiri trainee and his jockey, Antonio Fresu, appeared to survive the potentially life-threatening incident unscathed. Military Law galloped riderless for a few minutes before he was caught. All the runners in the gates were unloaded and went in again when it was safe to do so.

When the stalls finally opened it was the locally trained 10/1 shot Hypothetical who broke well from stall two and soon grabbed the lead. The 25/1 chance Cappezano contested the top spot under Royston Ffrench. Saez positioned Mystic Guide a length off the pace and wisely waited.

The running order was unchanged until Saez took the lead on the second turn and never looked to be in danger of defeat. Both the early leaders faded out of the placings. The other USA shippers did not fare so well. Jesus’ Team was sixth beaten over eight lengths under Joel Rosario whilst Sleepy Eyes Todd was once again found wanting at the top level in tenth. Title Ready completed the order of stateside runners in 11th of the field of 12 with only Capezzano behind him.

Mystic Guide could be Stidham’s horse of a lifetime if he continues to progress.