x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Best of America and Europe on wish list for Meydan course

Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta and Sea the Stars are on the wish list of organisers to take part in what would be a world-class Dubai World Cup, the first to be held at the new Meydan racecourse.

Sea The Stars, left, ridden by Mick Kinane wins the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes during the Irish Champion Stakes Day at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin.
Sea The Stars, left, ridden by Mick Kinane wins the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes during the Irish Champion Stakes Day at Leopardstown Racecourse, Dublin.

DUBAI // Outstanding American fillies Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta and the glorious Irish colt Sea the Stars are on the wish list of organisers to take part in what would be a world-class Dubai World Cup, the first to be held at the new Meydan racecourse. Dubai Racing Club's (DRC) international manager Martin Talty is responsible for wooing big-name horses and trainers to contest the world's richest horse race and is aiming to have all three of them lining up on the evening of March 27, 2010.

"We are looking for the best horses possible for the World Cup," said Talty at the DRC's new offices at the end of the Meydan grandstand. The DRC have been successful in attracting quality runners in the past from Cigar, the first winner of the World Cup in 1996 to Godolphin's aptly-named Dubai Millennium in 2000. The US superhorse Curlin won in 2008 and and Well Armed was last year's record 14-length victor of the race at Nad al Sheba.

The prizes too are at an all-time high in 2010, with a record US$10 million (Dh36.7m) on offer and the staging of the race at the landmark 60,000-seater Meydan stadium. "Everyone is excited about it and trainers are showing they are very interested," added Talty. "It's very early to start talking about definite contenders, but if you look at the American runners you have to think about Rachel Alexandra, who has been pure class and Zenyatta who is unbeaten. In Europe it's hard to look any further than Sea the Stars."

Rachel Alexandra, a colt-beating filly, has won five US Grade One races this season, including the Kentucky Oaks and Preakness Stakes. The five-year-old mare Zenyatta is unbeaten in ten top-tier starts. A race featuring both is unlikely to happen in the States but would be a tremendous coup for Meydan. Throw in John Oxx's five-time Group One winner Sea the Stars and you have one of the most eagerly-anticipated horse races.

"These are horses that we would love to have," said Talty. "There isn't a racecourse anywhere that doesn't want them and they are certainly targets but we don't know what plans their trainers have for them at the moment." The hunt for stars for Meydan started as soon as last season ended and Talty said the Dubai Racing Channel has been useful in identifying candidates. "We see a lot more live racing from Europe and the US now," he said. "As soon as Forgotten Voice won the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, he marked himself as the kind of horse who might go well in the Godolphin Mile."

stregoning@thenational.ae