Sunday, March 3, 2024

Likely fields are set for Dubai World Cup card

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Defending champion Country Grammer and Equinox, 2022’s highest rated 3-year-old in the world, are the headline acts for the $30.5 million Dubai World Cup card. Likely fields for the March 25 graded stakes at Meydan Racecourse were released Tuesday.

Country Grammer heads a projected field of 14 for the Grade 1, $12 million Dubai World Cup. Bob Baffert’s charge aims to become only the second dual winner of the race but faces tough opposition from an eight-strong Japanese challenge, which includes Japan Cup winner Vela Azul and Saudi Cup winner Panthalassa.

The sole European raider is the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained Algiers, impressive winner of Maktoum Challenge Round 1 and 2 (G2), and Fawzi Nass’ Salute The Soldier heads the local challenge.

The $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) also attracted a strong international lineup, with Arima Kinen winner Equinox facing seven other Group 1 winners, including defending champion Shahryar and two from Hong Kong, Senor Toba and Russian Emperor. A three-pronged UK attack is made up of the John and Thady Gosden-trained Emily Upjohn and Neom Turf Cup winner Mostahdaf, and Irish Derby winner Westover represents trainer Ralph Beckett.

The $5 million Dubai Turf (G1) could see history if Lord North, who won the race outright in 2021 and dead heated with Panthalassa last year, can win it for a third time. His formidable bunch of rivals include four from Japan, including Vin De Garde, twice placed in this race, and Japanese Derby winner Do Deuce.

The $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) also features a defending champion in the Bhupat Seemar-trained Switzerland, who will attempt to become the third dual winner of the dirt contest at about 6 1/2 furlongs. He is up against a strong team from the U.S., including Peter Miller’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint second C Z Rocket and Amsterdam Stakes (G2) winner Gunite for Steve Asmussen.

An international field heads to the turf for the $1.5 million Al Quoz Sprint (G1) including Australian G3 winner The Astrologist for Troy and Leon Corstens and the Hong Kong-trained pair of Sight Success and Duke Wai.

There are 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points up for grabs in the UAE Derby (G2), which Aidan O’Brien will seek to win for a fourth time with Cairo. Up against him are five for Japan, including Yoshito Yahagi’s Continuar, while Baffert sends Worcester to represent the U.S., along with Doug O’Neill’s Tall Boy and Ah Jeez.

The Godolphin (G2) sees Yahagi’s Bathrat Leon try to follow up his devastating 2022 win against two compatriots, Lauda Sion, trained by Takashi Saito, and Yuichi Shikato’s Win Carnelian. A strong local challenge is led by last year’s runner-up, Desert Wisdom, and Discovery Island, winner of the Burj Nahaar (G3) last time out.

The longest race of the day is the Dubai Gold Cup (G2), at two miles on turf. It welcomes back 2021 winner Subjectivist as part of a strong UK team that also includes Ebor Handicap winner Trawlerman, while O’Brien sends G1 winner Broome from Ireland and Sisfahan travels over for German trainer Henk Grewe.

The day’s traditional curtain raiser is the Purebred Arabians’ Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1) which will see a clash of the last two winners in First Classs and Deryan.

“We are very excited about the strength of the fields for the 2023 Dubai World Cup meeting,” commented Major General Dr. Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, general manager of Dubai Racing Club. “We have horses arriving from 12 different countries and it is especially fantastic to welcome back runners from Hong Kong and Australia after a break of a few years.

“It is also superb to see so many defending champions here to try and make history, with Country Grammer aiming to become just the second dual Dubai World Cup winner. As ever, we thank trainers and owners for their support of the meeting and wish everyone the best of luck on March 25th.”

Silks Horse / Sire Rating Trainer / Jockey Last Start / Next Start HRN
Country Grammer

Tonalist

8.04

Bob Baffert

2nd, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

2nd, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk Cafe Pharoah Cafe Pharoah

American Pharoah

7.23

Noriyuki Hori

3rd, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

3rd, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk Algiers Algiers

Shamardal

7.09

Simon and Ed Crisford

1st, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 G2

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 2 G2

Horse Silk Emblem Road Emblem Road

Quality Road

7.02

Moutaib Almulawah

6th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

6th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk Crown Pride Crown Pride

Reach the Crown

6.70

Koichi Shintani

5th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

5th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk Geoglyph Geoglyph

Drefong

6.48

Tetsuya Kimura

4th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

4th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk Panthalassa Panthalassa

Lord Kanaloa

6.44

Yoshito Yahagi

1st, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk Bendoog Bendoog

Gun Runner

6.12

Bhupat Seemar

2nd, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 3 G1

Probable

Last Race

2nd, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 3 G1

Horse Silk Salute The Soldier Salute The Soldier

Sepoy

5.91

Fawzi Abdulla Nass

1st, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 3 G1

Probable

Last Race

1st, 2023 Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 3 G1

Horse Silk Ushba Tesoro Ushba Tesoro

Orfevre

5.84

Noboru Takagi

Probable
Horse Silk Vela Azul Vela Azul

Eishin Flash

5.73

Kunihiko Watanabe

10th, 2022 Arima Kinen G1

Probable

Last Race

10th, 2022 Arima Kinen G1

Horse Silk Jun Light Bolt Jun Light Bolt

King Kamehameha

5.34

Yasuo Tomomichi

7th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

7th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Horse Silk T O Keynes T O Keynes

Sinister Minister

5.05

Daisuke Takayanagi

4th, 2022 Champions Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

4th, 2022 Champions Cup G1

Horse Silk Remorse Remorse

Dubawi

0.00

Bhupat Seemar

9th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

Probable

Last Race

9th, 2023 Saudi Cup G1

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