Curlin leads what is expected to be a large field for the 2008 Dubai World Cup  (UAE-I) March 29 at Nad al Sheba.

Curlin leads what is expected to be a large field for the 2008 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) March 29 at Nad al Sheba.

Andrew Watkins

Large Field Expected for Dubai World Cup

Up to 13 horses are expected for the March 29 Dubai World Cup.

from the Dubai Racing Club

A record-equaling field of 13, led by 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin, could go to post for the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) sponsored by Emirates Airline March 29.

The Dubai Racing Club said March 17 fields are shaping up for the seven races worth a total of $21.25 million on the World Cup program. Horses from as many as 16 countries are expected.

The final fields will be declared March 24 and released at the post-position draw ceremony March 26.

The top-rated horse in the world, Curlin, is set to face tough competition from Godolphin’s duo of Happy Boy and Jalil, winners of the Maktoum Challenge Rounds 1 and 3. The 2007 Dubai World Cup runner-up and fourth-place finisher, Premium Tap and Vermilion, respectively, are expected for the 2,000-meter race, as is last year’s UAE Derby (UAE-II) winner, Asiatic Boy.

There are three other group 1 races on the card, headlined by the Dubai Sheema Classic sponsored by Nakheel. The $5-million contest is sure to have a maximum field of 16 runners.

 Hong Kong champion Viva Pataca will bid to emulate Vengeance of Rain, who won the race last year. Connections of Youmzain and the globetrotting Doctor Dino are expected.

The $5-million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, also looks likely to have 16 runners, headed by the top-class fillies Darjina, Finsceal Beo, Vodka, Seachange, West Wind, and Majestic Roi.

The other group 1 race on the card is the $2-million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News, which sees the usual strong American challenge led by Idiot Proof and Benny the Bull, as well as Godolphin’s Diabolical.

The $2-million UAE Derby, sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, features the South African-trained duo of Royal Vintage and Honour Devil, who have dominated the UAE 3-year-old division this season.

The other Thoroughbred race on the card is the $1-million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II) sponsored by Etisalat.