x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

International World Cup contingent touch down and settle in at Meydan

Japan's World Cup contenders, including Smart Falcon and Eishin Flash, arrived with their sites set on a share of the Dh100m spoils at Meydan.

Are we there yet? A horse groom leans out of the mobile shipping stall containing a contingent of Japanese horses at Sharjah airport, bound for Meydan and the Dubai Carnival.
Are we there yet? A horse groom leans out of the mobile shipping stall containing a contingent of Japanese horses at Sharjah airport, bound for Meydan and the Dubai Carnival.

DUBAI// International raiders with their sights set on a share of the USD$27.2 (Dh100m) World Cup day spoils have been arriving in the desert thick and fast this week.

Thursday saw a shipment of Japanese horses touch down, including World Cup contenders Smart Falcon and Eishin Flash. Al Quoz Sprint runner A Shin Virgo, Derby hope, Genten and Gold Cup contender, Makani Bisty are also now settled at Meydan Racecourse.

They join last year's Dubai World Cup runner-up, Transcend, who has been based at Meydan Racecourse for some time and who is set for another tilt at the $5m race on March 31.

A shipment of US horses also arrived earlier in the week, including the World Cup-bound filly, Royal Delta, winner of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

"Royal Delta was very impressive," said Dubai Racing Club's International Stables Coordinator, Jim Cornes of the William Mott-trained charge. "She walked in like she owned the place and looked magnificent. Bob Baffert's horses are also here and settled."

Bob Baffert is set to saddle Game On Dude in the World Cup and The Factor in the all-weather sprint, the $2m Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Game On Dude is to be ridden by Canadian jockey, Chantal Sutherland, making her the first woman to ride in a Thoroughbred race on World Cup night.

In 1997 Katy Sweeney became the first woman to ride on the World Cup race card in the Arabian race, then the Dubai Arabian Classic - now called the Dubai Kahayla Classic.

Also now in town is US Derby runner, Lucky Chappy, and the Golden Shaheen horse, Giant Ryan, trained by Graham Motion and Bisnath Parboo, respectively.

A shipment of Hong Kong runners, including Ambitious Dragon, Eagle Regiment and 2010 Al Quoz Sprint winner Joy and Fuwas also due to arrive Thursday.

The final shipment of European horses, including Aidan O'Brien's string and his eight-time Group 1-winning World Cup favourite So You Think, are not due until closer to the big day.

"Everything has gone smoothly and the horses settled in well," said Cornes, who, along with the Dubai Racing Club team, meets the horses off the plane.

"Now we are just waiting for the final shipments and everybody will be in."

 

sports@thenational.ae