x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Dubai World Cup: Champion Monterosso learns contenders for Dh36m crown

Nine Group 1 horses are among the 12 set to challenge the reigning champion for the Dubai World Cup title on March 30.

Mickael Barzalona celebrates after riding Monterosso to Dubai World Cup victory in 2012.
Mickael Barzalona celebrates after riding Monterosso to Dubai World Cup victory in 2012.

Godolphin will have five of the 13 runners in the Emirates Dubai World Cup as the Dubai-based organisation seek their seventh victory in the US$10 million (Dh 36.7m) event at Meydan Racecourse next Saturday.

The final fields for all nine races on Dubai World Cup night were released yesterday, and across the $US27.25m card, the stables set up by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, are to have 26 runners.

Monterosso led home Capponi in last year’s World Cup and Mahmoud Al Zarooni’s pair are set to feature once again with Monterosso bidding to become the first horse since Silver Charm in 1999 to defend his crown.

Fellow Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has not won the World Cup since Electrocutionist scored at Nad Al Sheba in 2006 and relies on Dubai World Cup Carnival improver Hunter’s Light as the Al Quoz standard-bearer.

African Story, who won last year’s Godolphin Mile, and Kassiano complete the Bin Suroor trio, and alongside Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Side Glance, they are the only three horses in the 2,000m event that have not previously scored at the highest level.

As expected, the American challenge will include Royal Delta, the dual Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner, former Kentucky Derby victor Animal Kingdom and Dullahan, the synthetic specialist who was tailed off behind African Story in the Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday.

Royal Delta and Animal Kingdom touched down in Dubai on Wednesday night alongside six others that flew out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Royal Delta, considered the favourite for the World Cup internationally, was the first off the plane and has settled in to her surroundings well, according to Jim Cornes.

“You could tell she had been here before,” the international stabling coordinator said. “She had a good look around and took to it all like she did last year. Animal Kingdom looked well also.”

All eight American runners walked yesterday morning and will be free from quarantine to work at Meydan on Saturday.

The European raiders are headed by Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux, who arrived in Dubai on Monday, while Andre Fabre’s Meandre, Marco Botti’s Planteur and Mike De Kock’s Treasure Beach complete the World Cup field.

With African Story set to skip a defence of his title, Krypton Factor, who won the Dubai Golden Shaheen 12 months ago, is the only returning thoroughbred champion.

TM Fred Texas is slated to take on 15 others in the defence of his Dubai Kahayla Classic crown in the Purebred Arabian Group 1.

The Qatari challenger will face TM Junior Johnson and Seraphin Du Paon, both of whom will represent Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, the President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi.

In all there are 41 individual Group 1 winners entered and Martin Talty was delighted with the quality of the likely fields.

“There wouldn’t be many race meetings this year that contain 41 individual Group 1 winners on the same programme, which merely emphasises the quality of horse that the Dubai World Cup meeting attracts from around the world,” the Dubai Racing Club’s international manager said.

There are 13 countries represented, including champions from the USA, Japan and New Zealand.

International challengers will continue to arrive over the next few days. Gentildonna, the Japan Cup and Japanese Oaks winner, leads the contingent from the Land of the Rising Sun that is set to arrive today.

Gentildonna completed her preparation for the Dubai Sheema Classic on Wednesday with a gallop over four furlongs at the Ritto Training Centre and will be accompanied by Taisei Legend, who runs in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, and Keiai Leone, who will line up in the UAE Derby..

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