Six races worth a total of $16 million will be contested in the lead-up to the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I) on March 26 at Meydan Racecourse. The races have drawn entrants from around the world, with 84 runners set to compete.
J J The Jet Plane Headlines Al Quoz Sprint
A field of 16 are headed to the post in the first Thoroughbred race on the card, the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored by Emirates NBD (UAE-IIT). The five-furlong turf dash, run on a straightaway, is headlined by South African champion J J The Jet Plane (by Jet Master), who will attempt to win the race for the second time. The 7-year-old gelding previously captured the race in 2009 when it was contested over six furlongs at Nad al Sheba. The six-time group I winner won his most recent start, a six-furlong turf handicap on March 10.
Challengers include the American raiders Stradivinsky (Stravinsky), Quick Enough (High Brite), and Mr Gruff (Mr. Greeley). Both Stradivinsky and Quick Enough enter the Al Quoz off of victories in their last starts, while Mr. Gruff was last seen in May 2010 when he was third to Victor's Cry in the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. IT).
Not to be overlooked are the Singapore-based Better Be The One (More Than Ready ), the hard-knocking War Artist (Orpen), who won his most recent start over the Meydan turf course in February, and local hope Happy Dubai (Indian Ridge), who is a course and distance specialist trained by Ahmed Al Raihe.
I Want Revenge Looks for Redemption in Godolphin Mile
I Want Revenge will try to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since capturing the 2009 Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) when he takes on 13 challengers in the $1 million Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-II). The contest will be run over Meydan’s all-weather Tapeta surface.
The son of Stephen Got Even has made three starts since returning from an ankle injury that caused him to be scratched on the morning of the 2009 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), finishing third in both the 2010 Suburban Handicap (gr. II) and Philip H. Iselin Stakes (gr. III); he was most recently fourth in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 5.
Conveyance (Indian Charlie) will be making his second start for trainer Satish Seemar. Previously trained by Bob Baffert, Conveyance finished second in the six-furlong Mahab Al Shimaal Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-III) in his Dubai debut on March 3. The colt should relish the stretch-out to a mile, as he captured both the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and San Rafael Stakes (gr. III) at the distance last year.
Godolphin sends out a pair in Skysurfers and Rileyskeepingfaith. Skysurfers (E Dubai) has been freshened since his impressive win in the listed Firebreak Stakes on Feb. 10, and retains the services of Frankie Dettori. Rileyskeepingfaith (Hunting Lion) captured the Zabeel Mile Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IIT) earlier this month in his first attempt past seven furlongs.
Other contenders include Mike de Kock’s Imbongi (Russian Revival), Zafeen Speed (Zafeen), and Red Jazz (Johannesburg), who makes his first start since taking the Victor Chandler Challenge Stakes (Eng-II) in October.
Fillies in Spotlight in UAE Derby
A field of 14 runners, led by a trio of stakes-winning fillies, will go to the post in the $2 million UAE Derby Sponsored by the Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II). The contest, restricted to 3-year-olds (NH-bred) and 4-year-olds (SH-bred), will be run at 1 3/16-miles over the main Tapeta surface.
Two of the fillies, Reem and Mahbooba, are Australian-bred daughters of Galileo and are trained by Mike de Kock. Reem destroyed colts in the listed Al Bastakiya Sponsored by Emirates Airline on March 3. Prior to that, she was second twice in stakes races to her stablemates, Mahbooba and River Jetez.
Mahbooba has been freshened since finishing a strong second in the UAE 1000 Guineas Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (UAE-III). In that race she was conquered by the rapidly-improving Khawlah, a daughter of Cape Cross who is owned by Godolphin. The Godolphin team is once again loaded in this race, as they also send out Splash Point (Street Cry), Introvert (Iffraaj), and Xin Xu Lin (Wondertross) in addition to Khawlah. Xin Xu Lin will be making his debut for his new owners. The 4-year-old Brazilian-bred colt is a four-time group I winner who most recently captured the Clasico Carlos Pelligrini (Arg-I) in December.
Also debuting for new ownership is Sweet Ducky (Pulpit), who was recently purchased by Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov. Trainer Aidan O’Brien will be sending out his first runners in Dubai in six years with Master of Hounds (Kingmambo) and Alexander Pope (Danehill Dancer).
Kinsale King and Euroears Square Off in Golden Shaheen
North American-based speedsters Kinsale King and Euroears will take on the world’s best sprinters in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-I) at six furlongs. Kinsale King (Yankee Victor) will attempt to join Caller One as the only two-time winners of the race. The 6-year-old gelding got back to the winner’s circle with an impressive victory in a six-furlong allowance race at Golden Gate Fields last month.
Fellow California sprinter Euroears (Langfuhr ) will be making just his second start for trainer Bob Baffert. The 7-year-old horse was transferred to Baffert last year after having started his career in the Midwest with Bret Calhoun. In his first start in California, Euroears zipped to a 2 1/4-length victory in the Palos Verdes Stakes (gr. II) on Jan. 22.
Hong Kong and Singapore will be well represented with the swift trio of Dynamic Blitz, Dim Sum, and Rocket Man. Dynamic Blitz (Elusive Quality ) enters off of an upset victory in the Al Shindagha Sprint Sponsored by Etisalat (UAE-III), while Dim Sum (Kyllachy) recently won the Chairman’s Sprint Prize (HK-I) for the second time. Rocket Man (Viscount), recently named Horse of the Year in Singapore, looks to go one better this time around, after having settled for second in the 2010 running of the Golden Shaheen.
International Cast Set for Dubai Duty Free
A full field of 16 will line up for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Sponsored by Dubai Duty Free (UAE-IT), which will be contested over nine furlongs on the turf course. Once again Mike de Kock will be represented by a formidable pair of distaffers when he sends out River Jetez (Jet Master) and Raihana (Elusive Quality). River Jetez was a convincing winner of the Balanchine Stakes Sponsored by Emirates NBD (UAE-IIT) on Feb. 18, while Raihana finished a close second to fellow contender Derbaas (Seeking the Gold) in the Al Fahidi Fort Sponsored by Commercial Bank of Dubai (UAE-IIT) the day before.
Trainer Luca Cumani hopes that the third time will be the charm when he sends out Presvis (Sakhee) in the Dubai Duty Free. The 7-year-old gelding was second in 2009 and finished a disappointing 11th last year. Presvis sailed to an easy 4 3/4-length victory in the Al Rashidiya Sponsored by Gulf News (UAE-IIT) in his first start this season, then just missed when finishing third to Wigmore Hall (High Chaparral) in the Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-IIT) last time out.
Godolphin will be represented by the duo of Mendip and Debussy. Mendip (Harlan's Holiday) will be making his turf debut after rattling off two straight stakes wins at a mile over the Tapeta course. Debussy (Diesis) reverts back to the turf after a disappointing run in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (UAE-II).
Other contenders include Beauty Flash (Golan), who enters the race with three straight victories in group I contests in Hong Kong; Better Than Ever (French Deputy), a multiple stakes winner in Singapore; Bankable (Medicean), who was second in this race last year, and Victor’s Cry (Street Cry), winner of the 2010 Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. IT).
Rematch of Breeders’ Cup Turf on Tap in Sheema Classic
Champ Pegasus and Dangerous Midge will meet up once again in the 12-furlong $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic Sponsored by China Guangsha (UAE-IT). When last seen on a race course, Dangerous Midge (Lion Heart) stormed home to a 1 1/4-length victory over Champ Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus ) in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs last November. Champ Pegasus has been battling fellow Sheema contestant Bourbon Bay (Sligo Bay ) over the winter in graded stakes in California, with both runners earning a victory.
Juddmonte Farm will send out the globetrotting Redwood (High Chaparral), who captured the 2010 Northern Dancer Turf Stakes (Can-IT) at Woodbine before suffering a narrow loss in the Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) a month later. He ended his stellar campaign with a good second in the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Vase (HK-I).
Godolphin sends out the pair of Calvados Blues and Rewilding. Calvados Blues (Lando) was recently second in the Dubai City of Gold (UAE-IIT). Rewilding (Tiger Hill) is making his seasonal debut; he won the Sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur Stakes (Eng-II) at York last August.