Ruler of The World, last year's Epsom Derby (Eng-I) victor, is the early favorite for the Emirates Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 at Meydan Racecourse following the post position draw for the $10 million race March 26.
The son of Galileo, who will have his first race of the year, drew post 12 in the 16-horse field, the same berth from which Animal Kingdom started en route to winning last year. He is tabbed as the 9-2 favorite on the morning line in the United States.
Ruler of The World will race in the colors of Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani's Al Shaqab Racing, which bought a significant share in the colt, in partnership with the Coolmore partners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. He is to remain in training with Aidan O'Brien at Ballydoyle and continue to be ridden by Joseph O'Brien. He will retire to stand for Coolmore at the end of his racing career.
"Ideally we would have liked to have been two or three stalls lower, but Joseph O'Brien (jockey) is a master at getting a good position," said Harry Herbert, racing adviser to Al Shaqab Racing. "He will work it with his father Aidan."
Ruler of The World had a 3-1-1 record from seven starts last season including his Derby win, and his campaign was capped by a third-place finish in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot. He arrived in Dubai March 26 and will clear quarantine March 28.
The 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4-mile) World Cup over Meydan's Tapeta racing surface attracted a competitive field. It includes last year's runner-up, Red Cadeaux, Hong Kong Horse of the Year Military Attack, former American-based multiple grade I winner Ron the Greek, and a quartet of Godolphin runners in Prince Bishop, African Story, Vancouverite, and Cat O'Mountain.
Ron the Greek, who now races in Saudi Arabia, drew terribly in the far outside post. He is 5-1 second choice on the U.S. morning line.
"The horse has been training very well," trainer Nicholas Bachalard said. "Not much we can do about it (the draw). The others don't have to worry now—we've drawn it (16). There's not much to say. (Jose) Lezcano has his work cut out for him. It's a long way around (from the outside). We'll look at it, talk about it and figure out a strategy."
The Dubai World Cup card of eight Thoroughbred stakes will broadcast live by HRTV, beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Post time for the first Thoroughbred stakes, the $1 million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) is 9:10 a.m. Post time for the Dubai World Cup is approximately 2:05 p.m. Kentucky-based AmWest Entertainment will deliver the card for wagering in North and South America.
After his sale last fall to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and sons, Ron the Greek won his first race in Saudi Arabia Feb. 15. He got acquainted with Meydan all-weather track for the first time during a canter March 26.
"He just had an easy gallop to get his feet underneath him," trainer Nicholas Bachalard said. "He looked good and handled the track well. More of the same tomorrow, maybe a little quicker down the lane."
A career earner of $2.7 million, the 7-year-old Florida-bred son of Full Mandate has only had one previous race on a synthetic surface.
"He ran fourth in an allowance race at Keeneland (April 3, 2011), but the distance (1 1/16 miles) was too short and he's a better horse now that he was back then," Bachalard said. "The only way to find out (if he'll handle it) is to run on it."
British-based globetrotter Red Cadeaux, was a fast-flying second last year, two lengths behind Animal Kingdom. He will break from post 14.
"I don't think the draw matters too much for him," trainer Ed Dunlop said. We were drawn on the inside here last year and we'll probably do the same thing again and take our time. There's a lot more runners this time. We'll take second-place again for sure, I'll tell you that."
Military Attack, an international group I winner and most recently a three-length winner of the Hong Kong Gold Cup (HK-I), drew post 8 and is pegged at 8-1.
"Exactly where I wanted to be," trainer John Moore said. "He's tactically versatile, so being drawn in the middle gives us options and we can watch the race form around us. There's a lot of Hong Kong interest in the race with two horses in the Dubai World Cup (also including Akeed Mofeed)—the world's greatest race. We're looking forward to the challenge."
Of Godolphin's foursome, Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-I) winner Prince Bishop drew the inside post.
"He has a good turn of foot and the plan will be to take a good early position," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. "Physically the horse is very much better than last year and we are hoping for a good run.
"The Dubai World Cup is an open race. Our horses should do well, but you always need some luck."
Also entered are Japanese group I winners Belshazzar and Hokko Tarumae, respective Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 runner-up and third-place finisher Sanshaawes and Surfer, 2013 King Edward VII (Eng-II) winner Hillstar, Australian group I winner Side Glance, and English multiple group winner Mukhadram.