A full field of 14 will go to the post in the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I) at Meydan Racecourse March 31.
The horses and their human connections represent diverse countries around the world, including the United Arab Emirates, United States, Germany, Japan, England, Ireland, and France.
Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta will attempt to become the first filly or mare to win the World Cup since the race’s inception in 1996. The 2011 champion 3-year-old filly is trained by Bill Mott and is owned by Benjamin Leon Jr.’s Besilu Stables. The daughter of Empire Maker will be making her second start of the year, having finished second to Awesome Maria in the Sabin Stakes (gr. III) Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park. Jose Lezcano will be in the saddle and they will break from post 7.
“It’s the middle of the field. She’ll get a good look at the field from there and number seven has been our lucky number," Mott said. "We’d love for her to win. The reason we’re really here is to see if we can win. I can’t predict the outcome but she is doing really well; well enough to win a race like this.”
Multiple grade I winner Game On Dude will be piloted by Chantal Sutherland, who will become the first female jockey to ride in the World Cup. The 5-year-old gelded son of Awesome Again is trained by Bob Baffert, who is recovering after suffering a heart attack March 26. Game On Dude has developed into one of the top older horses in North America, winning both the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and Goodwood Stakes (gr. I) prior to finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) in 2011. So far this season the gelding has run once, winning the San Antonio Stakes (gr. II) Feb. 5.
Game On Dude drew the far outside post but the connections do not see that as being a major problem.
“Perfect position," owner Bernie Schiappa said. "Lanni (part owner of Game on Dude who passed away last year) was born on March 14, so 14 is a special number for us. It’s perfect. The outside is fine with me."
Aidan O’Brien will send out the globe-trotting So You Think. The 6-year-old horse by High Chaparral has won 12 of 20 lifetime starts, and has eight group I victories to his credit. Since being transferred to O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard, So You Think has won the Tattersalls Gold Cup (Ire-I), Coral-Eclipse Stakes (Eng-I), and Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I). This will be the first start of the season for So You Think, who was last seen finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Joseph O’Brien will ride.
Japan will once again be represented by a formidable trio when they send out Transcend, Eishin Flash, and Smart Falcon. Transcend will try to improve off his second-place finish in last year’s World Cup when he came up just a half-length short of Victoire Pisa. The 6-year-old horse by Wild Rush successfully defended his title in the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) last year, in addition to winning the February Stakes (Jpn-I). Shinji Fujita will be aboard.
Christophe Lemaire will ride Eishin Flash, a 5-year-old horse by King's Best trained by Hideaki Fujiwara. The winner of the 2010 Tokyo Yushun (Jpn-IT) was last seen finishing second to Orfevre in the Arima Kinen (Jpn-IT) Dec. 25.
Smart Falcon enters the World Cup on a nine-race winning streak that dates back to November 2010. The 7-year-old horse by Gold Allure won the Tokyo Daishoten (Jpn-I) in December, and most recently captured a listed event in January. Yutaka Take will ride.
Godolphin will send out the four-horse entry of Capponi, Prince Bishop, Monterosso, and Mendip. Capponi and Monterosso are trained by Mahmood al Zarooni, and will be ridden by Ahmed Ajtebi and Mickael Barzalona, respectively. Capponi quickly developed into a top-quality competitor for Al Zarooni, and has won six of 13 lifetime starts. The son of Medicean most recently won the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 3 Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-I) March 10.
This will be the second start of the year for Monterosso, who finished fourth to Capponi in the Al Maktoum Challenge last time out. The son of Dubawi won the Dubai City of Gold Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-IIT) last year, prior to finishing third in the World Cup.
Saeed bin Suroor will send out Mendip and Prince Bishop. Mendip has won one of three starts this season in Dubai, registering a decisive victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 Sponsored by Dubal (UAE-II). Silvestre de Sousa will ride.
Frankie Dettori will ride Prince Bishop, a 5-year-old gelding by Dubawi. The chestnut won a 10-furlong handicap over the main track at the beginning of the Carnival prior to finishing fifth to Mendip in the Al Maktoum Challenge.
Germany will be represented by Zazou. The Waldemar Hickst-trained 5-year-old has won seven of 18 races, which includes a win in the Premio Roma GBI Racing (Ity-I). The son of Shamardal defeated Cirrus des Aigles in the Prix Meydan Hotel, a 10-furlong conditions race at Chantilly earlier this month. Olivier Peslier will ride.
Master of Hounds will be seeking to add a second group I victory to his resume. The 4-year-old colt finally broke through for his first group I win in his last start, when he charged home to win the Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates (UAE-IT) March 10. Mike de Kock trains the son of Kingmambo, who prior to the Jebel Hatta had two thirds and a second in three stakes at the Carnival. Christophe Soumillon will ride.
Planteur will be making his first start for new trainer Marco Botti. The 5-year-old son of Danehill Dancer won the Prix Ganay (Fr-I) and Prix d’Harcourt (Fr-II) last year. Ryan Moore will ride.
The field is rounded out by the Doug Watson-trained Silver Pond. The grey son of Act One is a multiple stakes winner in his native France, having captured the Grand Prix de Chantilly (Fr-II) and Prix Hocquart (Fr-II). Johnny Murtagh will ride.
$10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I, Race 9, 1:40 p.m. EDT), 3 & up, 10 furlongs (Tapeta). Males carry 126 pounds, females 121 pounds.
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Master of Hounds (KY), C. Soumillon, M. de Kock
2. Eishin Flash (Jpn), C. Lemaire, H. Fujiwara
3. Zazou (Ger), O. Peslier, W. Hickst
4. So You Think (NZ), J.P. O’Brien, A. O’Brien
5. Smart Falcon (Jpn), Y. Take, K. Kozaki
6. Planteur (Fr), R. Moore, M. Botti
7. Royal Delta (KY), J. Lezcano, W. Mott
8. Monterosso (GB), M. Barzalona, M. al Zarooni
9. Silver Pond (Fr), J. Murtagh, D. Watson
10. Transcend (Jpn), S. Fujita, T. Yasuda
11. Capponi (Ire), A. Ajtebi, M. al Zarooni
12. Prince Bishop (Ire), L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
13. Mendip (KY), S. de Sousa, S. bin Suroor
14. Game On Dude (KY), C. Sutherland, B. Baffert