Richard Mandella will be seeking his second straight Dubai World Cup victory with San Pasqual winner Congrats.

Richard Mandella will be seeking his second straight Dubai World Cup victory with San Pasqual winner Congrats.


U. S. Horses Arrive for World Cup Competition

By Jason Ford
The contingent of U.S.-based horses that will participate in the March 26 Dubai World Cup card at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse arrived in Dubai Monday.

Among those on the flight was Richard Mandella-trained Congrats, who will bid to emulate stable companion Pleasantly Perfect in the featured $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). Mandella, who had previously saddled three runners-up in the world's richest race, as well as having two thirds and a fourth, finally won the race at the seventh attempt last year but looks to face a stiff task to repeat that feat.

Dale Romans-trained Roses In May, runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I), looks likely to start favorite for the 10-furlong race following his second place in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at the beginning of February, while Bobby Frankel's Lundy's Liability, winner of the 2004 UAE Derby (UAE-II) for Mike De Kock, is at least proven on the track and reported by the Dubai World Cup Committee on course for the race.

Jeff Mullins' Choctaw Nation, who beat Pleasantly Perfect last August, completes a strong American challenge in the feature race, where the opposition will include De Kock's Yard-Arm who was behind Jerry Barton's Chiquitin last time out. Winner of the group I J & B Met in his native South Africa, De Kock's charge had looked good when winning the group III Al Fahidi Fort on his UAE bow but need to prove he handles the UAE dirt.

The improving Chiquitin must have a big chance of at least making the frame, while the very useful King's Boy gives Barton an interesting hand in the race. Dynever, trained by Christophe Clement, completes the Saudi Arabian interest.

Godolphin Racing's Grand Hombre was fourth in the World Cup last year, while Japan's Adjudi Mitsuo is at least a group I winner over 10 furlongs on dirt and Gerard Butler's Jack Sullivan loves the Nad Al Sheba dirt.

As always there is a strong American interest in the group I six-furlong Golden Shaheen with Paulo Lobo's multiple grade I winner Pico Central perhaps the most interesting of the four runners. Grade II winners Bear Fan (Wesley Ward), My Cousin Matt (Jeff Mullins) and Saratoga County (George Weaver) are due to join him in the dash.

Ken McPeek's Durban Thunder, the undefeated Brazilian champion juvenile last year who has been here a while, is set to be joined by Bobby Frankel's Marenostrum, also from Brazil, in the UAE Derby, where their opponents will include Kentucky Derby (gr. I) aspirants Becrux (Mike De Kock) and Godolphin's Shamardal, Europe's leading juvenile of 2004.

McPeek's Prince Arch in the Sheema Classic, Doug O'Neill's Whilly (Dubai Duty Free) and Julio Canani's Tsigane in the Godolphin Mile are also set to carry American hopes on the world's richest night of horse racing.