Nayef On Track For World Cup

Dubai Champion Stakes (Eng-I) winner Nayef cantered under lights and before the crowd Thursday night at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse in Dubai as the colt's connections wanted to familiarize him with the conditions on March 23, 2002, when the Dubai World Cup will be renewed at the track.

Owned by Sheikh Hamdan, Nayef is entered for both the $6-million Dubai World Cup at 1 1/4 miles on dirt and the $2-million Dubai Sheema Classic at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

"The Dubai World Cup is the race we all want to win and while he will be aimed at that race Sheikh Hamdan has the final say and we do have a choice between that and the Dubai Sheema Classic," said jockey Richard Hills.

"He had a good look at the lights tonight as well as the crowd and experienced the atmosphere and it will do him well," Hills said of Nayef's exercise regimen in the company of a workmate. "He is rather playful but tonight's experience will be very useful."

Hills said Nayef indicated he would have no problem with dirt racing as he completed the one lap canter around the main track.

"That is about as fast as he has gone so far since he has been here and from what he has shown me there is no reason why he won't handle the dirt as well as he has handled the turf," Hills said.