Godolphin and trainer Saeed bin Suroor appears to have all options covered for the way Saturday's Group I Dubai World Cup will be run. Now it is a question of whether Moon Ballad and Grandera have what it takes to secure the stable their fourth win in the race.
What stands out most about this eighth running of the $6 million Group I Dubai World Cup is the apparent lack of pace in the race, with only Moon Ballad and Harlan's Holiday usually forwardly placed.
Blue Burner is likely to go with them. However the majority of others will settle back, namely Crimson Quest, Sei Mi, State Shinto and Grundlefoot while Aquarelliste, Nayef and Grandera will sit just off the pace.
Harlan's Holiday and Moon Ballad, drawn to the outside two posts, will likely come across and lead with Blue Burner, Grandera and Nayef just off them.
If this pace is muddling then Moon Ballad, the choice of stable jockey Frankie Dettori, may be just too brilliant. If there is pace, then the race may fall to Grandera.
Moon Ballad was extremely impressive when winning the Group III second round of the Maktoum Challenge, his second win from three starts at Nad Al Sheba, and while no horse has won the Dubai World Cup after winning the second round, Moon Ballad may change all of that.
History is on the side of Grandera, having won the Group II third round of the Maktoum Challenge. He will now attempt to emulate both Dubai Millennium and Street Cry who won that event prior to their Dubai World Cup success.
Harlan's Holiday is a class act and the American horses have to be respected to the utmost, the country providing three winners in Cigar, Silver Charm and Captain Steve. He arrives with impressive credentials.
He was a runaway winner of the Donn Handicap (gr. I) last start, his second win from as many starts this season, and he has done particularly well since arriving in Dubai.
Nayef, winner of last year's $2 million Group I Dubai Sheema Classic is an outstanding racehorse trying dirt for the first time. However he has been in the Emirates since November and has been tried on the surface daily.
In all his work he appears to be handling the surface and while race conditions are different, he will be able to get a nice run from his barrier seven without having to work to get there.
By Gulch he has a dirt pedigree on his upper line however on his bottom line it is all turf, being a half-brother to the champion Nashwan and Unfuwain.
The French filly Aquarelliste is unbeaten over 2,000 meters. However, the inside post may be a disadvantage more of a benefit. She will likely be settled in midpack.