War Threat Will Not Derail Dubai World Cup

War Threat Will Not Derail Dubai World Cup
Photo: Trevor Jones
British-trained Nayef, confirmed for Dubai World Cup.
By Richard Griffiths
Organizers of the Dubai World Cup are confident that the threat of conflict in the Gulf region will not affect the upcoming lucrative race meeting.

"I wouldn't expect the World Cup to be cancelled as a result of any military action in Iraq," a spokesman for the organizing committee said.

Privately, it is understood that Sheikh Mohammed, the driving force behind the event, also has every confidence that the World Cup will be able to go ahead March 29, despite the current uncertainty.

However, other sporting events in the region have already been affected. Although the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament went ahead, some big names such as Tiger Woods withdrew from the event.

And in soccer the FIFA organized World Youth Football Cup for international teams aged Under-20 has been cancelled.

Recent Godolphin recruit Sulamani, winner last season of the Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, Fr-I) and runner-up in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), will have his first run in his new blue colors either in the $6 million World Cup, which would mark his debut on dirt, or the Sheema Classic on turf on the same card.

Godolphin has two other World Cup options in pre-race favorite Moon Ballad and Grandera, who is due to run Saturday in the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum challenge. The 10-furlong race will be Grandera's first run on dirt.

This race has been used successfully by Godolphin in recent years with both Dubai Millennium in 2000 and Street Cy last year winning the event before their success in the Dubai World Cup.

A confirmed World Cup runner is the British-trained, Sheikh Hamdan-owned Nayef. The 5-year-old has not been seen on the track since winning the Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I) at York last August.

Trainer Marcus Tregoning, who has also taken charge of Ekraar again from Godolphin, has sent the progressive Mubtaker with Nayef, and he is on course for a crack at the 12-furlong Sheema Classic, a race he won with Nayef last year.

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