Mixed vibes surround America's four runners in Saturday's $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) although none of their connections had any concerns about Wednesday's post position draw.
The big race favorite Roses In May -- quoted at 7-4 odds by the English betting firm Coral -- will break from stall 12, a position owner Ken Ramsey said would offer no excuses, despite some initial reservations when he made the pick. "I don't think the post positions will play a big part in the race," he said. "I guess it would have been worse if we had been drawn low on the rails, but I'm not expecting any problems. He's a handy type of horse anyway."
Trainer Dale Romans was also unperturbed by the draw, adding that Roses In May had acclimatized well in Dubai, having pleased him in a workout on the Nad Al Sheba racetrack Monday night.
But the most positive news concerns Congrats, who has delighted his trainer Richard Mandella with his condition and will break from post seven.
The way he has caught the eye is reminiscent of last year's Dubai World Cup winner Pleasantly Perfect
, also trained by Mandella. Asked if he expected Congrats to be in the same magnificent shape on race night as the 2004 winner, Mandella said: "Yes, I think he will. They are both very similar types -- very healthy, strong types who travel well. This horse has done great since he got here and the draw doesn't really matter."
Neither owner Robert Bone nor trainer Jeff Mullins had any complaints about Choctaw Nation's nine draw. "If there was one race where you wouldn't expect the draw to play a big part this would be it," Bone said. "Especially with that long straight which should suit a late-running horse like ours."
The downside to the build-up to the desert spectacular concerned Lundy's Liability, who arrived in Dubai Tuesday morning, although scheduled to get there at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The unexpectedly arduous journey was attributed to a delay in Amsterdam. Lundy's Liability has been drawn five of 13 runners.
Meanwhile, Godolphin Racing, flag bearers for the host nation, could be without a runner in the World Cup after Grand Hombre suffered a training setback.
The 5-year-old bruised his foot on Sunday and is rated at best a "50-50 chance" by racing manager Simon Crisford. "You never like this to happen three days before a $6 million race," he said.
Although this a setback for Godolphin, which has won four of the nine World Cup runnings so far, Grand Hombre, who finished fourth in last year's race. was rated an outsider by bookmakers.
Field for the $6-million Dubai World Cup:Post position--horse, jockey, country representing
1--Grand Hombre, Lanfranco Dettori, UAE
2--Elmustanser, Richard Hills, UAE
3--Yard-Arm, Weichong Marwing, South Africa
4--Jack Sullivan, Darryll Holland, United Kingdom
5--Lundy's Liability, Patrick Valenzuela, U.S.
6--Ruler's Court, Kerrin McEvoy, UAE
7--Congrats, Tyler Baze, U.S.
8--King's Boy, Aaron Gryder, Saudi Arabia
9--Choctaw Nation, Victor Espinoza, U.S.
10--Adjudi Mitsuo, Hiroyuki Uchida, Japan
11--Chiquitin, Michael Kinane, Saudi Arabia
12--Roses in May, John Velazquez, U.S.
13--Dynever, Jose Santos, Saudi Arabia