The $1.5 million Canadian International (Can-I) will have a distinctly European feel as at least five European shippers are expected to arrive at Woodbine within a week for the Oct. 15 event. The invaders should fell at home as the 1 1/2-mile race will be run on Woodbine's European-style E.P. Taylor turf course.
The European-based horses expected for the race, the sixth leg of the Emirates World Series Racing Championship, include Daliapour, Mutafaweq, Caitano, Fruits of Love, and Murghem. Yavana's Pace, once considered likely, is now expected to skip the race.
The Aga Khan's Daliapour will be ridden by Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) winning jockey Johnny Murtagh. The Michael Stoute-trained son of Sadler's Wells is expected to arrive in Canada Friday.
"We're coming nice and early so that we can work over the turf course," said Stoute. "We're trying to bring him fit. We've done our work already and we just want to see how he ships."
Daliapour is currently sixth in the Emirates series standings with seven points, but a win would launch him into the lead.
Fruits of Love finished second in last year's renewal of the race and has four series points. The Mark Johnson-trained son of Hansel suffered a slight training setback recently which cast doubt on his status for the race, but Johnson said Fruits of Love will ship to Canada on Wednesday.
Frankie Dettori will ride Godolphin Racing's Mutafawaq in the Canadian International. In September, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mutafawaq finished a troubled eighth in the Mercedes Benz-Grosser Preis von Baden (Ger-I) before placing third in the 1 3/4-mile Jefferson Smurfit Memorial Irish St. Leger (Ire-I).
Darryll Holland is expected to ride Murghem, a 5-year-old son of Common Grounds. In 10 races on the year, Murghem has five wins and placed second on four occasions. In his most recent race, he won thehorsesmouth.co.uk Geoffrey Freer Stakes (Eng-II) by 1 1/4-lengths at Newbury in August.
Caitano, a 6-year-old son of Niniski who finished eighth in the 1998 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. I), won a stakes race in Turkey in his most recent start.
Also possible for the race are Bad River, Free Vacation, I and I, River Boat, and Williams News. The latter will arrive from Kentucky Tuesday and will be guided by Patrick Husbands.