x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Strong field expected for Dubai World Cup

Organisers receive 341 nominations from 15 countries

Mucho Macho Man, pictured winning the Classic during the 2013 Breeders' Cup, has been entered in the Dubai World Cup, but its place has not been confirmed. Jeff Gross / AFP
Mucho Macho Man, pictured winning the Classic during the 2013 Breeders' Cup, has been entered in the Dubai World Cup, but its place has not been confirmed. Jeff Gross / AFP

A decision has not been made as to whether Mucho Macho Man will come to Dubai, after the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner was among 341 nominations for the Dubai World Cup.

Entries for all nine races on Dubai World Cup night were published by the Dubai Racing Club on Tuesday, and the World Cup itself attracted entries from 15 countries.

Mucho Macho Man last worked on Saturday at Gulfstream Park under the gaze of trainer Kathy Ritvo in preparation for a tilt at the Santa Anita Handicap on March 8, or the world’s most valuable thoroughbred contest three weeks later.

“Kathy and I have always done what we believe is right for him at the time,” Finn Green, racing manager for owners Dean and Patti Reeves, told the New York Daily News.

“We wouldn’t be considering going to Dubai if the horse was not on an upswing, putting weight on and doing really well. Plus, he’s a great shipper. We know he ships west really well. We might just find out he ships east.”

Mucho Macho Man added to his November victory in America’s richest race when he demolished his rivals by 14 lengths under Gary Stevens last month in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic.

The six-year-old gelding was among 30 horses trained in America that entered, seeking to follow Animal Kingdom’s victory last season. Animal Kingdom became the first American horse to win the US$10 million (Dh 36.6) event since Meydan Racecourse opened in 2010.

Saeed bin Suroor is the most successful trainer in the history of the Dubai World Cup with five wins, and the Godolphin handler has entered 13 horses, including Hunter’s Light and Kassiano, who were down the field last season, and African Story, who won the 2012 Godolphin Mile.

Marmoom Stables trainer Charlie Appleby has 16 horses entered in the 2,000-metre Group 1, with recently impressive Cape Verdi winner Certify, 2012 Royal Ascot victor Energizer and English Derby runner-up Libertarian all with chances of lining up on World Cup night.

Japan provided an emotional victory with Victoire Pisa in 2011 just weeks after the tragic March 11 tsunami and have entered 16 horses, with the already-confirmed Belshazzar, the Japan Cup Dirt winner, and Hokko Tarumae, who warmed up with a fluid win in the Kawasaki Kinen last month, primed to travel.

The Japanese will also be represented by Gentildonna, the two-time Japan Cup winner, who will try to go one better than last season, when she was beaten in the Dubai Sheema Classic by St Nicholas Abbey, who lost his drawn-out battle with serious illness last month.

His trainer, Aidan O’Brien, could have as many as 13 runners across the eight thoroughbred races, including Ruler Of The World, the English Derby winner, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician.

Reynaldothewizard and Shea Shea, respective winners last season of the Dubai Golden Shaheen and Al Quoz Sprint, have also been entered to defend their titles. The American sprinter Caller One successfully defended his crown in the 2002 Shaheen, while JJ The Jet Plane is the only dual winner of the Al Quoz Sprint, having won the 1,000m race in 2009 and 2011.

Five horses to watch

Ruler Of The World

The English Derby winner is trained by Aidan O’Brien and is among a list of 13 horses handled by the Irish maestro that were entered yesterday. Ruler Of The World has been nominated to the Dubai World Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic.

Gentildonna

The Japanese superstar filly made history by winning a second Japan Cup last year after failing to reel in St Nicholas Abbey in the Dubai Sheema Classic. Her second victory in Japan’s big race did not have the brilliance of the first, and she may no longer be the force of old.

The Fugue

Ever since The Fugue won the Yorkshire Oaks in August, Lady Lloyd-Webber, wife of the theatre impresario Lord Lloyd-Webber, has been talking about returning to Dubai, where her Dar Re Mi won 2010 Dubai Sheema Classic. The Fugue’s rematch with Magician, her Breeders’ Cup Turf conqueror, and Gentildonna could be worth the entrance fee alone.

Shea Shea

No horse has ever defended its title in the Al Quoz Sprint, but Shea Shea broke his own track record when winning last season’s turf sprint. Trainer Mike De Kock has given Shea Shea time to get over his European exertions and he looks extremely hard to beat should all go well on Super Saturday next month.

Akeed Mofeed

Akeed Mofeed cut little ice when in Europe, but he has been transformed since joining Richard Gibson in Hong Kong. The five-year-old son of Dubawi won the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup from the Japanese horse Tokei Halo and 2012 Sheema Classic winner Cirrus Des Aigles and could run in the Dubai Duty Free.

sports@thenational.ae