One of the strongest international racing teams ever assembled is poised to leave Coolmore’s Ballydoyle training center in Ireland this month for a raid on the rich prizes offered by the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) program on March 31 at Meydan.
Dubai Racing Club officials confirmed March 1 that Ballydoyle has accepted invitations for seven horses—including eight-time group I winner So You Think and Breeders’ Cup winners St Nicholas Abbey and Wrote —to compete in five different races on the $28 million Dubai World Cup card.
The team also includes Irish Derby (Ire-I) winners Fame and Glory and Treasure Beach. The latter made his mark in the United States last year by prevailing in the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park.
Between them, the seven Ballydoyle stars have earned $16,721,756 for an average of $2,388,822 per horse and have captured 19 grade/group I events in five countries.
Their pending campaign in Dubai is all the more remarkable because Coolmore went for six years from 2005 through 2010 without sending any horses to the Dubai World Cup program. Last year, trainer Aidan O’Brien returned with three competitors, including World Cup fourth-place finisher Cape Blanco, who went on to win three grade I races in the United States and earn champion male turf honors there in 2011.
With almost a month remaining before this year’s World Cup program, there is no guarantee that all seven Ballydoyle runners will start, cautioned Martin Talty, manager of the Dubai Racing Club’s international department.
However, if there are no mishaps and current plans are followed, the team will be dispatched by O’Brien as follows:
--So You Think, twice champion in Australia and winner of three group I races in Europe last year, is set to compete in the $10 million Dubai World Cup over about 1 1/4 miles on Meydan’s all-weather track. In his most recent start and his first on dirt, the 6-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner High Chaparral finished sixth, 3 1/4 lengths behind winner Drosselmeyer, in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). So You Think has amassed $7,587,459 and has won 12 of 20 starts in a career spanning three continents to date.
--St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the 2011 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf in his latest start and a champion juvenile in Europe in 2009, is pointed to the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) at about 1 ½ miles on grass. The 5-year-old by Montjeu has banked $2,608,330 and has won six of 11 starts.
--Treasure Beach also is aimed at the Dubai Sheema Classic. The 4-year-old Galileo colt, who in addition to his Irish Derby and Secretariat wins, was second by a head in the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) last year, finished third in the Pattison Canadian International Stakes (Can-IT) at Woodbine in his most recent start; he has won five of 12 starts while earning $2,018,210.
--Five-time group I winner Fame and Glory, last seen winning the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Jockey Club Cup (Eng-III) at Ascot Oct. 15, is a candidate for the $1 million Dubai Gold Cup (UAE-III) at about two miles on turf. The 6-year-old son of Montjeu has won 12 stakes (five at the group I level); victorious in 13 of 21 starts, he has banked $3,446,853. The Dubai Gold Cup is a new addition to the Dubai World Cup program this year.
--A pair of 3-year-olds, Wrote and Daddy Long Legs, are pointing to the $2 million UAE Derby (UAE-II) at about 1 3/16 miles on the all-weather track. Wrote, by High Chaparral, handily won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) last November. Daddy Long Legs, a son of Scat Daddy, finished 12th in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) in his first start on dirt after winning the Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) at Newmarket.
--Multiple group stakes winner Await the Dawn, who finished seventh after helping set the pace in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, is set for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at about 1 1/8 miles on turf. Highly praised by O’Brien as a very talented runner who at times has been hampered by ailments, the 5-year-old son of Giant's Causeway has won five of eight starts with his biggest victory coming in last year’s Hardwicke Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot.