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Earth calling for Rafa

Earth calling for Rafa


Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello is fancied to mount a big push in the season-ending European Tour finale in Dubai this week.

Cabrera-Bello heads to the Earth Course hoping to replicate his 2012 win at the Dubai Desert Classic and having previous form in the desert bodes well, with the European Ryder Cup star priced at 26/1 in the outright market for the DP World Tour Championship.

The likes of Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and another Spaniard, Alvaro Quiros, have won both events and there is also the positive that Cabrera-Bello is a professed lover of playing golf in Dubai.

In the lead-up to this year’s event at the Earth Course, he spoke of the good vibes that he can generate having won ‘across the road’ at the Emirates previously and also finished runner-up there in 2016.

Cabrera-Bello has finished inside the top-ten at the Earth Course before (2014) and he possesses the power off the tee to excel at this track again. Having picked up the third European Tour win of his career this summer at the Scottish Open, allied to his strong debut showing in the Ryder Cup last year, the 33-year-old is in a good place as this season comes to an end.

In the past he has signed for a 63 on the Earth Course and Cabrera-Bello remains the sort of player capable of catching fire and recording sustained bursts of scoring. If he can do that a few times this week, and minimise the errors elsewhere, he’ll surely be in contention come Sunday.

With four of the last seven winners of the Desert Class being Spanish, and Quiros doubling up in this event, there is also sure to be plenty of support for Masters champion Sergio Garcia (12/1 outright) and Jon Rahm (11/1 outright). It wouldn’t be a surprise to find either in contention with their length off the tee.

Garcia is one of three men still in contention for the Race To Dubai crown, with Tommy Fleetwood 2/7 to hold on having led all season. Justin Rose, winner of his last two starts in China and Turkey is 5/2 to topple his fellow Englishmen and also tournament favourite at 23/4 for the DP World Tour Championship. Rose has been in brilliant form, but three in a row is a stiff ask.

Instead it might be a better idea to chance another former US Open champion, Germany’s Martin Kaymer at 31/1.

Kaymer, three-time champion in Abu Dhabi in the past, showed positive signs last week in Sun City as he finished fifth despite a slow Sunday and he could be capable of throwing his hat in the ring here.

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Enda McElhinney Our racing expert, Enda studies cards in both England and Ireland on a daily basis and knows all the details you need to know when trying to select a winner. He is also a regular football writer and has strong knowledge of the Scottish game, with golf another specialised sport on his CV.