Fly Down at Meydan Race Course on March 23.

Fly Down at Meydan Race Course on March 23.

Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club

International Field Set for Dubai World Cup

Fourteen challengers will face the starter in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 26.

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 26. The horses and their human connections represent diverse countries from around the globe, including the United Arab Emirates,  United States, Japan, England, Ireland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the Chechen Republic.

Juddmonte Farms’ Twice Over has been made the 4-1 early favorite by and will break from post 12. After finishing a disappointing 10th in the 2010 World Cup, trainer Henry Cecil decided to ship the 6-year-old son of Observatory to Dubai earlier this year, so he could become more acclimated to the racing surface. Twice Over immediately rewarded his connections with an impressive 2 3/4 length score in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-II). Twice Over will be partnered once again by Tom Queally.

Despite not having entered the winner’s circle since winning the Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) last May, the Nick Zito-trained Fly Down was made the tepid 6-1 second choice by U.S. oddsmakers for the World Cup. The 4-year-old son of Mineshaft will break from the rail and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

After losing by just a nose to Afleet Express in the Travers Stakes (gr. I), Fly Down was purchased by the family of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, and remained in training with Zito. Fly Down completed his sophomore season with third-place finishes in both the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). In his first start this season, the chestnut colt finished fifth in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) on Feb. 5.

Champion Gio Ponti  will attempt to improve off of his fourth-place finish in the 2010 World Cup. The son of Tale of the Cat , who will break from post 5, enters the World Cup without the benefit of a prep race. The 6-year-old’s last start came last November, when he was second to Goldikova in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs. Ramon Dominguez will ride for trainer Christophe Clement.

Japan sends out a formidable trio in Buena Vista, Transcend, and Victoire Pisa. Buena Vista was named Horse of the Year and champion older mare in Japan in 2010, and is the only filly or mare entered in the World Cup. The 5-year-old daughter of Special Week captured three group I races last season, and was second in three others. One of those victories came in November’s Japan Cup (Jpn-IT), where she was victorious over Victoire Pisa. Ryan Moore will ride.

Transcend, a 5-year-old horse by Wild Rush, enters the World Cup off of three straight wins, the most recent being group I victories in the February Stakes (Jpn-I) and in the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I). Regular rider Shinji Fujita will be in the irons.

Victoire Pisa also enters the World Cup on a winning streak, having captured the Arima Kinen (Jpn-IT) and Nakayama Kinen (Jpn-IIT). The 4-year-old son of Neo Universe sports a record of seven wins from 12 starts, and has finished in the money 10 times. He will be ridden by Mirco Demuro.

Trainer Mike de Kock will send out a pair of runners in Musir and Golden Sword. Musir, a 5-year-old horse by Redoute's Choice, won four straight races in Dubai last season, capping things off with a victory in the UAE Derby Sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-II). Musir has had two starts at the Carnival meeting this season, finishing second both times. He will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon.

Golden Sword, the second de Kock runner, will break from the far outside from post 14. The South African trainer did not plan on running the son of High Chaparral in the World Cup, since he had Al Maktoum Challenge R2 (UAE-III) victor, Bold Silvano, ready to run. When Bold Silvano suffered a minor injury earlier this week, de Kock called an audible and decided to run Golden Sword instead. Golden Sword boasts a fine record this season, with two wins and a second in three starts at Meydan. Kevin Shea will ride.

Godolphin will be represented by three colts in the World Cup: Monterosso, Poet's Voice, and Prince Bishop. The trio are all 4-year-olds, and all are sons of the Darley stallion, Dubawi. Poet’s Voice, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) last year, will be making his first start on the all-weather Tapeta surface. The bay colt was most recently second, losing by just a neck, in the Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-IIT). Frankie Dettori will be aboard.

Monterosso also made his last start on the turf course, capturing the Dubai City of Gold (UAE-IIT) on March 3. He will be ridden by up and coming French jockey, Mickael Barzalona. Prince Bishop is the third colt in the Godolphin entry. Prior to finishing fifth to Twice Over in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (UAE-II), he rattled off two straight group wins in France last fall. Ahmed Ajtebi will ride.

Cape Blanco was twice successful in group I company last year, notching victories in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) and the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I). The 4-year-old colt by Galileo will be making his 2011 debut in the World Cup, but does fire well off the bench, having captured the Totesport Dante Stakes (Eng-II) in his seasonal debut last year. Jamie Spencer will ride.

Richard's Kid  and Gitano Hernando round out the entrants for the World Cup. Richard’s Kid (Lemon Drop Kid ) looks to improve off of a dull 10th-place finish to Twice Over in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3. Gitano Hernando (Hernando), who was recently sold by Team Valor to Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, finished a good third in that same race.

$10 Million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I, Race 8, 1:35 p.m. EDT), 3 & Up, About 1 1/4 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Fly Down (USA), J Leparoux, N Zito, 6-1
2. Monterosso (GB), M Barzalona, M Al Zarooni, 15-1
3. Prince Bishop (IRE), A Ajtebi, S bin Suroor, 15-1
4. Cape Blanco (IRE), J Spencer, A O'Brien, 10-1
5. Gio Ponti (USA), R Dominguez, C Clement, 8-1
6. Victoire Pisa (JPN), M Demuro, K Sumii, 10-1
7. Musir (AUS), C Soumillon, M de Kock, 5-1
8. Gitano Hernando (GB), J Murtagh, M Botti, 10-1
9. Transcend (JPN), S Fujita, T Yasuda, 20-1
10. Poet's Voice (GB), L Dettori, S bin Suroor, 20-1
11. Richard's Kid (USA), R Mullen, S Seemar, 20-1
12. Twice Over (GB), T Queally, H Cecil, 4-1
13. Buena Vista  (JPN), R Moore, H Matsuda, 8-1
14. Golden Sword (GB), K Shea, M de Kock, 20-1
 Odds by