Ron the Greek at the 2013 Breeders' Cup.

Ron the Greek at the 2013 Breeders' Cup.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Ron the Greek Takes Spin at Meydan

Dubai World Cup hopeful arrived from Saudi Arabia March 23.

After shipping in from Saudi Arabia, Emirates Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) hopeful and American grade I winner Ron the Greek was out at Meydan for a light canter March 25. 

"It was uneventful," said Nicholas Bachalard, who trains for King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and sons. "He's done everything right. He's a pro and is used to shipping."

The 7-year-old son of Full Mandate arrived from his Saudi base March 23 without incident and will have his first jaunt on the all-weather surface for the first time March 26  at 4 a.m. local time.

He likely will be a sentimental favorite in North American pools for the $10 million World Cup, which is set for March 29. Sixteen horses were declared for the race and post positions will be drawn March 26.

"We're just going to stretch his legs the next few days," said Nicholas Bachalard, who trains for King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and sons. "He won't do too much."

Florida-bred Ron the Greek was a three-time grade I winner and an earner of more than $2.7 million before his sale last fall. His record includes the 2013 Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes and 2012 Stephen Foster and Santa Anita Handicaps (all, gr. I).

Among other Dubai World Cup contenders:

Akeed Mofeed—Trainer Richard Gibson said: "I've just arrived in Dubai and I'm very happy to see him in such good order. He looks great. He was a bit fresh going cantering around the all-weather track as it was his first time, but I'd say that's a good sign. His weight loss on the trip was standard and he's where I'd want him to be. Douglas Whyte will ride him on the main track on Thursday, just a gentle blow doing something like 28 and 26 seconds for his final 800 meters." 

Belshazzar—Trainer Kunihide Matsuda said, "I was concerned about how much the grip on the all-weather had affected him, but the surface should suit him. After the travel to Dubai, he was likely to lose some weight but he regained his weight and is in a good form. He will gallop on the all-weather tomorrow (March 26)."

Hillstar—The Royal Ascot winner, who will bid to give Sir Michael Stoute his second win in the race after Singspiel in 1997, appeared on the all-weather track for the first time after clearing quarantine. Ridden by regular work rider Katie Reed, he completed a steady 1,000 meters in a solo canter. Travelling head lad James Savage said: "Like our other runner Dank (for the Dubai Duty Free, UAE-I), he traveled well from England and both horses have settled in nicely. The work they did on March 25 was simply to loosen them up."

Hokko Tarumae—Cantered cantered 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on the all-weather and was schooled in the starting gate. Jockey Hideaki Miyuki said, "I had a good feeling from him.  He keeps his good condition and it is all down to the stable staff who has been doing very well with him.  The starting gate is likely to be smaller than that of Japan, so it was a good preparation for Saturday."

Military Attack—"We kept him to the quarantine area again this morning and he was out in the ring there with my other two runners. The travel from Hong Kong went OK but I'd prefer to give them another day to rehydrate them after the trip before going out onto the main track," said trainer John Moore. "Military Attack is a very fit horse. You'll see him in great shape on the track on Wednesday (March 26)."

Mukhadram—Released from quarantine after traveling to Dubai from England. He toured the Meydan track complex for the first time on (March 25). Although he will make his career debut on an all-weather track when he competes in the Dubai World Cup, the 5-year-old was sent to the turf course by trainer William Haggas to stretch his legs. "He put in an easy canter and he was happy," assistant trainer Elizabeth Budden said.

Red Cadeaux—The 2013 Dubai World Cup runner-up cantered on the all-weather track March 25 and will have a more serious workout March 26. Trainer Ed Dunlop's traveling head man Robin Trevor-Jones said: "All is going to plan and I'm happy with him. It needs to be discussed with the trainer, but the plan is for him to have a blow on Wednesday morning, probably over 2,000 meters."

Ruler of The World—Only the second Epsom Derby (gr. I) winner to run in the Dubai World Cup, after High-Rise in 1999, he left the Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O'Brien the evening of March 24 with five stablemates and was due to arrive at Meydan late afternoon March 25. The team will clear quarantine on March 28.

Sanshaawes—Jockey Christophe Soumillon said: "He needed his first run of the year and has done nothing but improve since. That was a big effort on Super Saturday (March 8, when second in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, UAE-I) because we were drawn wide and never really able to get in. Hopefully we will be drawn nearer the rail this time."

Side Glance—Andrew Balding's 2013 Dubai World Cup fourth-place finisher and was seventh in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (UAE-I) Super Saturday, March 8, on his return to Dubai. The Australian group I winner exercised on the training track the morning of March 25 under Balding's traveling head girl, Leanne Masterton. "He has just been doing easy work on the training track and will be out on the main track tomorrow," said Masterton. "He is in great shape and we are really pleased with him and his preparation. He ran well in the World Cup last year and fingers crossed that he can get placed again."

Surfer—Jockey Richard Mullen said: "We were delighted when we heard he was to take his chance in this race and not the Godolphin Mile (UAE-II). He ran really well on Super Saturday (March 8) from a bad draw and again proved he can be competitive in this company. Fingers crossed we get a good draw this time."