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Equine stars to descend on Meydan

11/01/2018
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The list of horses accepted for the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, which gets underway at Meydan on Thursday, was released last Wednesday evening and features 132 horses with the intention to ship from 15 countries, including 14 Group One winners from many points of the globe. Several international stars are set to travel to Dubai this winter to compete for a share of the $10,870,000 prize money across ten race cards, 61 Thoroughbred races and four Purebred Arabian Group races held prior to the Dubai World Cup card on 3 March.

One of the world’s top stayers, the Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Vazirabad returns for the Carnival and will attempt to pull off an unprecedented hat-trick in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup after a likely return again in the 2810m Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy on 1 March. The 6yo, a winner 13 times from 19 starts, won four of his 2017 starts, including the Dubai Gold Cup and Group 1 Prix du Cadran. He headlines a quartet set to carry the green and red silks of HH the Aga Khan that includes filly stablemate and fellow stayer Canndera, as well as the lightly raced Michael Halfordtrained Stakes winning duo of Rehana and Riyazan.

Brett Crawford-trained champion Whisky Baron spikes the class level with his presence, having won South Africa’s most prestigious event, the Group 1 The Sun Met, to culminate a five race winning streak last January. Additional influence from South Africa on the Carnival will, as always, come from the powerful yard of Mike de Kock. His top charges include 2017 Group 1 South African Derby winner Al Sahem, Group One winner and Carnival regular, Sanshaawes and 2017 Group 2 Zabeel Mile runner-up Noah From Goa, a Group One winner in his homeland. Godolphin’s Talismanic, winner of the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf in November and second to global superstar Highland Reel in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup in December is a standout among the list.

Also trained by Andre Fabre for Godolphin, Cloth Of Stars joins him on the roster after a season in which he won the Group 1 Prix Ganay and finished a game second in Europe’s premier race, the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Fabre also has highly regarded Group Three winning turf miler Trais Fluors in the assemblage. Four times a winner, from six starts, he was second to 2017 Group 2 UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat. From Newmarket, David Simcock holds a strong hand, including Grade One winning ageless wonder Sheikhzayedroad, Group 1 Coral Eclipse third Desert Encounter, dual Group 2 Celebration Mile winner Lightning Spear, multiple Group One placed Arod and the impeccably bred Listed winner Mr Owen.

Australia will likely make its presence known, spearheaded by trainer David Hayes early in the Carnival with the likes of multiple Group Two winning sprinter Faatinah and Bjorn Baker’s highly rated Group One winning speedster Music Magnate targeting the latter half, including a possible Super Saturday run. They further highlight a global amalgam of talented newcomers and familiar faces, including classy Roger Varian trainees Connecticut and Barsanti, Singapore Gold Cup winner Gilt Complex, Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 winner Furia Cruzada and 2017 Group 2 Godolphin Mile runner-up Ross.

Exciting returning trainers include Norway’s Niels Petersen, with 11 accepted horses under his tutelage, including Group 3 Polar Cup winner Tinnitus and Group 3 Marit Sveaas Minnelop winner Trouble Of Course. England’s Clive Cox also returns with the likes of classy 4yo Khalidi and Group Two winning sprinter Tis Marvellous. Many other top international yards will be on display this Carnival, both familiar and new, including Richard Hannon, Andreas Woehler, Paul Midgley, Jamie Osborne, David O’Meara, Marco Botti, Karl Burke, Charlie Fellowes and Richard Fahey.

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