Star-Studded Fields Announced For Dubai World Cup Meeting

Ushba Tesoro | Dubai Racing Club

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Five returning champions and one previous champion highlight the prospective fields for the Dubai World Cup meeting to be held at sprawling Meydan Racecourse in Dubai Saturday, Mar. 30. The connections of 106 horses from no fewer than 12 racing jurisdictions have accepted invitations to the eight Thoroughbred races on a $30.5-million program that begins with the $1-million Dubai Kahayla Classic for the Purebred Arabians and concludes with the $12-million G1 Dubai World Cup.

The main event has attracted a field of 15 that is led by its defending champion Ushba Tesoro (Jpn) (Orfevre {Jpn}), one of 24 runners set to ship in from Japan for the meeting. Looking to become the first 7-year-old World Cup winner since Gloria de Campeao (Brz) back in 2010 and just the third overall, the recent G1 Saudi Cup runner-up is joined by three compatriots, including last year's G2 UAE Derby hero Derma Sotogake (Jpn) (Mind Your Biscuits). The American challenge numbers five and is topped by Saudi Cup upsetter Senor Buscador (Mineshaft) and GI Santa Anita H. hero Newgate (Into Mischief) for four-time World Cup winner Bob Baffert, while the exciting Kabirkhan (California Chrome) has been the talking horse of the Dubai International Racing Carnival and the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge victor will have his supporters to become a first World Cup winner for perennial leading trainer Doug Watson. Laurel River (Into Mischief) won the G3 Burj Nahaar over a mile on Super Saturday Mar. 2, but opts for the World Cup over the Godolphin Mile for trainer Bhupat Seemar.

The $6-million G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, won in imperious fashion by Equinox (Jpn) (Kitasan Black {Jpn}) last March, was the second highest-rated race in the world in 2023, and if the field assembled for this renewal is any indication, it could go one better. A likely field of 12 has been revealed, fully 10 of which have succeeded at Group 1 level, and features a mouth-watering clash between G1 Betfred Derby, G1 Irish Derby and GI Breeders' Cup Turf hero Auguste Rodin (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Japanese Triple Tiara winner Liberty Island (Jpn) (Duramente {Jpn}). Japan is also represented by 2022 Sheema Classic victor Shahryar (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), while Emily Upjohn (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) is set to make her first appearance beyond the borders of the UK and is one of four on the evening for John and Thady Gosden. Godolphin sends out Rebel's Romance (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), impressive in taking out the Listed HH The Amir Trophy in Qatar last month.

Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) also represents the Clarehaven operation as he goes in search of an unprecedented fourth victory in a row in the G1 Dubai Turf, where he squares off with G1 Arima Kinen hero Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), the would-be 2023 favourite who was scratched leading up to the race. Also in the field is Lord North's hard-knocking stable companion Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}); Godolphin's progressive G1 Jebel Hatta winner Measured Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}); treble elite-level scorer Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) for Aidan O'Brien; and Hong Kong's Voyage Bubble (Aus) (Deep Field {Aus}), victorious in this year's G1 Stewards Cup at Sha Tin.

Godolphin's Siskany (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) will look to avenge a tough defeat in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup, where he'll surely face a stiff challenge from recent G3 Longines Red Sea Turf H. winner Tower of London (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and runner-up Enemy (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}); G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup conqueror Trawlerman (Ire) (Golden Horn {GB}); and G2 Yorkshire Cup winner Giavellotto (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {GB}).

Danyah (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) proved a somewhat unlikely winner of the 2023 G1 Al Quoz Sprint for local trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri and will have to dig deep if he is to defend against the Jamie Osborne-trained veteran Emaraaty Ana (GB) (Shamardal), a recent winner in Qatar; the nails-tough US raider Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed); Annaf (Ire) (Muhaarar {GB}), so game up the rail to scoop the G2 1351 Turf Sprint Feb. 24; Hong Kong's G1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup winner California Spangle (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}); and the 3-year-old fillies Star of Mystery (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) and Frost At Dawn (Frosted).

America's Sibelius (Not This Time) will have Ryan Moore back in the saddle as he defends his title in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen against the likes of G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint winner Remake (Jpn) (Lani) and the locally trained Tuz (Oxbow), while Isolate (Mark Valeski) is certain to face a strong challenge from Saudi Cup close third-placegetter Saudi Crown (Always Dreaming), who drops back in trip for the G2 Godolphin Mile.

The G2 UAE Derby features a budding star in the form of the Yoshito Yahagi-conditioned Forever Young (Jpn), a son of 2016 Dubai Turf hero Real Steel (Jpn), whose undefeated run includes a razor-thin victory in the 1600-metre G3 Saudi Derby Feb. 24. G3 UAE 2000 Guineas winner Mendelssohn Bay (Mendelssohn) and Listed Al Bastakiya S. scorer Killer Collect (Collected) front the local challenge, while Ballydoyle is set to be represented by G3 Tyros S. winner Henry Adams (Ire) (No Nay Never). The Derby offers 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

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