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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

Godolphin's Talismanic to take on American heavyweights in $10m Dubai World Cup

The Dubai Racing Club has received 1,412 nominations for 739 horses from 20 countries with $30 million in prize money for its nine races, making it the single richest night in horse racing

Jockey Mike Smith, third from left, along with connections of Arrogate, celebrate on the podium after winning the 2017 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. Pawan Singh / The National
Jockey Mike Smith, third from left, along with connections of Arrogate, celebrate on the podium after winning the 2017 Dubai World Cup at Meydan. Pawan Singh / The National

American heavyweights West Coast and Forever Unbridled along with Godolphin’s winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Talismanic, are among the leading nominations for the US$10 million (Dh37m) Dubai World Cup.

Gold Dream, Japan’s Champions Cup winner, and the two previous winners of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Diversify and Hoppertunity, are the other prominent entries for the feature race at the Dubai World Cup at Meydan on March 31.

The Dubai Racing Club has received 1,412 nominations for 739 horses from 20 countries with $30 million in prize money for its nine races, making it the single richest night in horse racing.

West Coast carries the hopes of American Half of Fame trainer Bob Baffert in his bid for a fourth Dubai World Cup title after Arrogate last year, Captain Steve in 2001 and Silver Charm in 1998.

West Coast was runner-up behind Gun Runner in the $16 million Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup, the world’s richest race for thoroughbreds, in his most recent start at Gulfstream Park on January 27. The bay colt by Flatter also finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in Del Mar on November 5.

Forever Unbridled comes into the reckoning after three successive victories, of which the last two were Grade 1 prizes for fillies and mares.

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The Andre Farbe-trained Talismanic would appear to carry Godolphin’s hopes at this point. The five year old by Medaglia d’Oro won the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar on November 4 ahead of Aidan O’Brien’s Highland Reel before finishing behind the Coolmoore mount in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin on December 10.

Nominations for the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic over 2,410 metres on turf is topped by Cracksman, the world’s top-rated three year old of 2017, as well as Japan Cup winner Cheval Grand and Prix Ganay winner Cloth Of Stars.

The $6 million Dubai Turf, over 1,800m, has drawn the world’s top-rated horse in training, Winx from Australia, a daughter of Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, as well as World Approval and last year’s winner Vivlos.

Mind Your Biscuits returns to defend his title in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen. The Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Roy H and Centenary Sprint Cup winner D B Pin are the main challengers in the 1,200m sprint on dirt.

The $1 million Al Quoz Sprint over 1,200m on turf features defending champion The Right Man, British Champions Sprint winner Librisa Breeze and UAE’s top-rated sprinter Ertijaal.

The Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (turf, 3,200m) has attracted three-time Group 1 winner and two-time defending champion Vazirabad and includes Big Orange and Torcedor.

Cigar Mile winner Sharp Azteca, Kafuji Take and Accelerate are early nominations for The Godolphin Mile on the dirt.

The $2 million UAE Derby brings together the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn, Japanese stakes winner Don Fortis and a Group 2 winner, Untamed Domain, a son of Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom.

The UAE Derby offers its winner 100 points towards the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which can lead to a start in that American classic.

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The lowdown:

Total Nominations: 1,412

Total Horses: 739

(Winner's cheque and race; Group level; distance; surface, number of nominations)

$10m Dubai World Cup; Group 1; 2,000m (dirt); 136

$6m Dubai Sheema Classic; Group 1; 2,410m (turf); 153

$6m Dubai Turf; Group 1; 1,800m (turf); 253

$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen; Group 1; 1,200m (dirt); 155

$1m Al Quoz Sprint; Group 1; 1,200m (turf); 175

$2m UAE Derby; Group 2; 1,900m (dirt); 140

$1m Dubai Gold Cup; Group 2; 3,200m (turf); 93

$1m Godolphin Mile; Group 2; 1,600m (dirt); 250

$1m Dubai Kahayla Classic; Group 1 (PA); 2,000m (dirt); 57