Highland Reel after his 2016 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf win

Highland Reel after his 2016 Longines Breeders' Cup Turf win

Skip Dickstein

Highland Reel Among World Cup Day Turf Runners

The Dubai World Cup card will offer four group stakes on turf.

A pair of $6 million group 1 turf races play counterpoint to the main refrain of the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) March 25 at Meydan Racecourse.

At about 1 1/8 miles, the Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World (G1) comprises a field of 13 international runners, following the scratch of Japan's Real Steel

Ireland's Ballydoyle contingent, from the always dangerous stable of Aidan O' Brien and the Coolmore partners, holds a three-strong hand, led by Deauville, a 4-year-old son of Galileo who is owned in partnership with Mrs. Fitri Hay. In a brief campaign last year Deauville invaded the U.S. to take the 10-furlong Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes (G1T) and finish third in the Arlington Million XXXIV Stakes (G1T). He will make his 2017 debut under Ryan Moore.

The venerable Cougar Mountain is also scheduled to represent Coolmore interests. The group 2-winning 6-year-old son of Fastnet Rock comes off a runner-up finish in the one-mile Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cup (G2) at Doha in Qatar in February. 

Also making his 2017 debut is Kentucky-bred Long Island Sound , a 4-year-old O'Brien-trained son of War Front  owned with Joseph Allen. 

Godolphin throws its 4-year-old group 1-winning mile specialist Ribchester into the fray in his opener for his 2017 campaign. Last year the consistent son of Iffraaj won the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard-Jacques Le Marois (G1) at Deauville and placed in the Qatar Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (both G1).

At age 7, Geoff and Sandra Turnbull's Mondialiste, trained by David O'Meara, is a well-traveled threat, having raced in Europe, Hong Kong, and North America, where he won the 2015 Ricoh Woodbine Mile Stakes (G1T) and the 2016 Arlington Million XXXIV. Jockey Daniel Tudhope will be aboard the son of Galileo—Occupandiste, by Kaldoun, in his first time out for the year. 

A horse for the course, Roger Charlton-trained Decorated Knight—who races for Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar—is a perfect two-for-two on the year, having notched the Jebel Hatta Sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1) at Meydan March 3 and the Betway Winter Derby Trial over Lingfield's all-weather surface earlier. 

Other grade/group 1 winners in the field include Barree Stud's New Zealand-bred Debt Collector, who scored in three group 1 events in Singapore last year, including the Panasonic Kranji Mile and the Raffles Cup; and the Japanese filly Vivlos, a daughter of Deep Impact who added the grade 1 Shuka Sho at Kyoto to her resume last year.

Four of the seven horses entered for the about 12-furlong Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) are grade/group 1 winners, led by last year's winner Postponed back to defend his title. Trained by Roger Varian, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's 6-year-old son of Dubawi was narrowly beaten in the Dubai City of Gold on Super Saturday and should have improved for the run as it was his first start since his fifth-place finish in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) last October. 

Always a threat is Ballydoyle's Highland Reel, who is making his first racetrack appearance in the Sheema as he did last year when he finished fourth behind Postponed. However, the globe-trotting son of Galileo did not idle his 2016 campaign, winning the QIPCO King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) and the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T), along with runner-up finishes in the Arc, behind Postponed in the Juddmonte International Stakes (G1), and in the Longines Hong Kong Vase (G1). 

Highland Reel will be joined in the Sheema Classic by Coolmore's 4-year-old Galileo filly Seventh Heaven, winner of the Darley Irish Oaks (G1) and the Darley Yorkshire Oaks (G1).

Godolphin and partners' entry Jack Hobbs, a 5-year-old son of Halling, won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (G1) at 3 and was runner-up in the Investec Epsom Derby (G1). An injury suffered in his April debut truncated Jack Hobbs' 2016 campaign, but he indicated he was back on track for trainer John Gosden with a third in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (G1) at Ascot in October.

Accompanying Jack Hobbs in the Godolphin blue is Prize Money, who took the measure of Postponed in the Dubai City of Gold. A gelded son of Authorized, he is trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

Also at Meydan Saturday, Wachtel Stable, George Kerr, and Gary Barber's Long On Value will challenge the world's top turf sprinters in the Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments (G1). Trained by Racing Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Long On Value, a grade 2 winner, enters the six-furlong test off a third-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes.

The card also features a two-mile turf race in the Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2), where Vazirabad will try to defend his 2016 win in the race. The Aga Khan's Vazirabad is a two-time group 1 winner.

Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2), March 25, Meydan Race 3
About 2 miles, Turf, $1,000,000
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer    

1 Sheikhzayedroad, M. Harley, D. Simcock
2 Famous Kid, S. De Sousa, S. bin Suroor
3 Vazirabad, C. Soumillon, A. De Royer-Dupre
4 Wall of Fire, W. Buick, H. Palmer
5 Zamaam, J. Crowley, E. Charpy
6 Quest For More, J. Spencer, R. Charlton
7 Big Orange, L. Dettori, M. Bell
8 Kingfisher, R. Moore, A. O'Brien
9 Rembrandt Van Rijn, M. Barzalona, S. bin Ghadayer
10 Quechua, B. Vorster, R. Le Grange
11 Beautiful Romance, O. Murphy, S. bin Suroor
12 Heartbreak City, J. Moreira, T. Martin
13 Basateen, D. O'Neill, D. Watson
14 Trip To Paris, A. Atzeni, E. Dunlop

Al Quoz Sprint Sponsored By Azizi Developments (G1), March 25, Meydan, Race 5
About 6F, Turf, $1,000,000
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer  
1 Amazing Kids, J. Moreira, J. Size
2 Medicean Man, A. De Vries, J. Gask
3 The Right Man, F. Bertras, D. Guillemin
4 Final Venture, P. Dobbs, P. Midgley
5 Jungle Cat, W. Buick, C. Appleby
6 Ertijaal, J. Crowley, A. Al Rayhi
7 Long On Value, J. Rosario, W. Mott
8 Finsbury Square, C. Soumillon, F. Chappet
9 Richard's Boy, N. Arroyo, P. Miller
10 Washington DC, R. Moore, A. O'Brien
11 Limato, H. Bentley, H. Candy
12 Baccarat, C. O'Donoghue, C. Appleby

Dubai Turf Sponsored By DP World (G1), March 25, Meydan, Race 7
About 1 1/8M, Turf, $6,000,000
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer  
1 Ribchester, W. Buick, R. Fahey
2 Zarak, C. Soumillon, A. De Royer-Dupre
3 Heshem, G. Benoist, C. Ferland
4 Decorated Knight, A. Atzeni, R. Charlton
5 Opal Tiara, O. Murphy, M. Channon
6 Mutakayyef, J. Crowley, W. Haggas
7 Mondialiste, D. Tudhope, D. O'Meara
8 Very Special, S. De Sousa, S. bin Suroor
9 Vivlos, J. Moreira, Y. Tomomichi
10 Debt Collector, M. Rodd, C. Brown
11 Cougar Mountain, D. O'Brien, A. O'Brien
12 Deauville, R. Moore, A. O'Brien
13 Long Island Sound, S. Heffernan, A. O'Brien

Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), March 25, 2017, Race 8
About 1 1/2M, Turf, $6,000,000
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer    

1 Earnshaw, M. Barzalona, S. bin Ghadayer
2 Jack Hobbs, W. Buick, J. Gosden
3 Highland Reel, R. Moore, A. O'Brien
4 Sounds of Earth, C. Lemaire, K. Fujioka
5 Prize Money, A. De Vries, S. bin Suroor
6 Seventh Heaven, S. Heffernan, A. O'Brien
7 Postponed, A. Atzeni, R. Varian