The National's guide to the other races at Meydan tonight.
Selections: Dubai World Cup races
The odds are heavily stacked in favour of No Risk Al Maury. He has done absolutely nothing wrong in the lead-up to the Arabian showpiece and the traditional opener of the Dubai World Cup night. Arriving from a successful European campaign, the eight-year-old son of Kesberoy underlined his reputation with two victories in the Round One and Round Three of the Maktoum Challenge series at Meydan.
No Risk Al Maury is sure to be a popular choice, but watch out for the 2008 winner, Mizzna. She missed her title defence last year after undergoing surgery to remove a chipped bone from her front leg. She was back early in the season to win two races, but hasn't been seen since her National Day Cup win on December 6, raising doubts of race fitness. Yet this daughter of the most lovable Arabian mare Alanudd remains top of the list to win this race from No Risk Al Maury and the stable companion Shadiyda.
The American raider California Flag heads the newly introduced six-furling race on the Meydan turf. A winner of eight of his 17 career starts, he comes into this race beaten less than two lengths into fifth behind Sacred Kingdom in the Group One Hong Kong Sprint. Sirocco Breeze spearheads the trio of Godolphin entries. The five-year-old by Green Desert seems to be in fine fettle after his back-to-back victories over a trip a furlong more than tonight's distance. Of the others, Our Giant, Joy And Fun and All Silent, all first-time runners at Meydan, come with impressive CVs to pose the challenges.
Desert Party can get the boys in blue off the mark after a triumphant return to racing following a lay-off of more than 10 months. The Street Cry colt seemed to have recovered and progressed well from an injury he suffered in the Kentucky Derby when coasting to a convincing win in the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal over six furlongs on Super Thursday on March 4. Cat Junior and Lucky Find have strong claims on the back of their victories in their last starts. Godolphin's other entry, Skysurfers, who finished more than four lengths behind Cat Junior in fifth, comes into the reckoning.
The battle lines are drawn between the Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor, and the South African Mike de Kock in the UAE Derby.
These two have shared every prize of this race and look to dominate again with four runners each in the 14-runner field. It should be a toss-up between Godolphin's Mendip and de Kock's Musir, the impressive winner of the UAE 2000 Guineas. Mendip is unbeaten in three starts and comes prominently into the picture after an effortless victory over the 1000 Guineas winner Raihana. He showed a remarkable turn of foot. Godolphin has a strong presence with Siyaadah and Frozen Power, who finished twice behind Musir. It could be third-time lucky.
This is a race the Americans have dominated but the Singaporean entry, Rocket Man, stands out with excellent figures next to his name - eight times a winner and second to the speedy Sacred Kingdom. The five-year-old gelding by Viscount comes with solid claims after winning his prep race by more than four lengths from Switchblade last month to bounce back from his first defeat, in the Hong Kong Sprint. The Americans have a solitary flag-bearer, Kinsale King. The Yankee Victor gelding comes to the race on the back of a hat-trick but is an unknown quantity. Godolphin's Gayego may come well following his second to War Artist. The Australian raider, One World, and Regal Party can't be ruled out.
This is one of the trickiest races in the eight-card meeting. Presvis has a sound chance after beating Alexandros, Godolphin's hope in the race. Luca Cumani's gelded son of Sakhee has been a model of consistency. He finished behind Allybar in a three-runner race but bounced back with a blistering late run to come from last to first in the Group Two Jebel Hatta, the prep race for the Godolphin Mile. Bankable and Imbongi both come into contention on the back of victories. Good Ba Ba and Confront are first timers at Meydan, but come with solid reputations. The Americans have a strong presence, with Courageous Cat heading a trio that also includes The Usual Q T and Take The Points, in the first of the two US$5 million (Dh18.3m) prizes on the night.
This is another absorbing contest over 12 furlongs in which the little-known Pan River seeks to create history by giving Turkey a first Group One prize at the DWC meeting. The five-year-old by Red Bishop has run two strong races at Meydan.
Godolphin are double-handed with Cavalryman, who is coming from his run behind Japan's Dubai World Cup hopeful, Red Desire, and Eastern Anthem, returning for his title defence having gone without a win in five starts. The challengers are many in the likes of Mourilyan, Spanish Moon, Deem, Golden Sword and Youmzain, but watch out for Pan River to spring a surprise.
4.45pm: Mizzna - No Risk Al Maury 5.20pm: California Flag - Our Giant 5.55pm: Desert Party - Lucky Find 6.35pm: Mendip - Musir 7.15pm: Rocket Man - Gayego 7.55pm: Courageous Cat - Presvis 9.45pm: Gio Ponti - Richard's Kid 10.35pm: Pan River - Mourilyan