MYSTIC GUIDE (USA)
The 25th edition of the race, a ninth Dubai World Cup for Godolphin and a 12th winner trained in the US but a first in combination as Mystic Guide justified favouritism in style. The classy 4yo homebred Ghostzapper colt was a first runner in the race for trainer Michael Stidham, who had resisted campaigning his stable star in the 2020 US Triple Crown races, and jockey Luis Saez was making his UAE debut with five mounts on the card.
Always travelling well just behind the leaders, Saez took his mount to the front entering the final 400m and the race was soon over as a contest.
DWC 2020 - Cancelled
There was no race with the meeting cancelled due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.
THUNDER SNOW (IRE)
Already a history maker as first UAE Derby winner to land the Dubai World Cup, Thunder Snow adds a further unique chapter to his UAE story by becoming the first dual winner of the Blue Riband of local racing.
Drawn wide, as he was 12 months earlier, the 5yo Helmet entire stalked the early speed this time and had to work much harder, eventually prevailing in a thrilling battle throughout the final 300m with runner-up Gronkowski.
THUNDER SNOW (IRE)
Another Dubai World Cup winner for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor as 4yo Thunder Snow becomes the first UAE Derby winner to follow up in the main event.
Masterfully partnered by Christophe Soumillon, the Helmet colt was able to overcome a wide draw to make every yard of the running, registering a first dirt Group One victory to add to a pair on turf in France.
One of the most staggering performances ever in the UAE’s flagship race; Arrogate appeared to have thrown away his claims when missing the break, trailing his 13 rivals passing the winning post first time, his hope appeared forlorn.
However, he and Mike Smith started passing the opposition down the back straight, were in contention on the home turn and stormed to the front about 250m out. An astonishing effort acclaimed by a stunned audience.
CALIFORNIA CHROME (USA)
US trainer Art Sherman caused a bit of a stir announcing his 2015 runner-up, California Chrome, as had Curlin in 2008, would this time have a prep race in Dubai ahead of his World Cup challenge, similarly shunning Super Saturday for a handicap opportunity a week earlier.
Over the same 2000m dirt course and distance, he won his prep and, a month later, toyed with his 11 rivals to justify the ploy to record a facile success.
PRINCE BISHOP (IRE)
With the Tapeta now in the dustbin, this was the first Meydan World Cup on traditional dirt and a quite remarkable performance from 2014 runner-up Prince Bishop, a first winner in the race for Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, another for Saeed bin Suroor.
Runner-up in both the 1900m Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and 2000m third round, he looked disinterested early on, William Buick hard at work. Suddenly he was pressing the leaders before hitting the front 300m, winning easily from subsequent 2016 victor California Chrome.
AFRICAN STORY (GB)
It was to be the final Tapeta World Cup and African Story added to the Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor haul, adding Silvestre de Sousa’s name to the jockeys’ roll of honour in the process.
Behind stable companion and subsequent 2015 World Cup winner Prince Bishop in both the 1900m Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and 2000m third round, he was much the best in the main event, running out a comfortable winner, going four places better than he managed 12 months earlier.
ANIMAL KINGDOM (USA)
If Tapeta was ever likely to suit one horse, Graham Motion’s Animal Kingdom was always likely to be the one, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner also being a Grade One winner on turf. And so it proved.
Joel Rosario stalked the early speed, took aim at the leaders leaving the back straight and pressed go exiting the home turn. The race was over in a matter of strides, 12 rivals left trailing in his wake.
The Godolphin silks were carried to victory again but, this time, Mickael Barzalona was sporting them for Mahmood Al Zarooni aboard Monterosso, a close third to Victoire Pisa 12 months earlier.
After that near thing, he was not seen again until Super Saturday, finishing fourth to stablemate Capponi in the traditional course and distance prep, Al Maktoum Challenge R3. He was three lengths too good for the same stablemate here.
VICTOIRE PISA (JPN)
Another historic renewal; this time a first Dubai World Cup success for Japan with Mirco Demuro and Victoire Pisa denying compatriot Transcend in a memorable and poignant 1-2.
Tears flowed afterwards with connections not only jubilant but still reeling after a series of earthquakes and a tsunami had ravaged their homeland, affecting the local racing industry as well as the country as a whole.
GLORIA DE CAMPEAO (BRZ)
The dawn of a new era for UAE racing with the opening of Meydan and a first Tapeta World Cup and one of the most memorable in the history of the race. In third, Allybar crossed the line involved in a photo finish with Lizard’s Desire, whose jockey Kevin Shea punched the air in delight, and Gloria De Campeao.
Allybar’s jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi, congratulated O’Shea but the judge revealed Tiago Josue Pereira victorious aboard Gloria De Campeao for France, trainer Pascal Bary, and Sweden/Brazil, owner Estrelia Energia Stables.
WELL ARMED (USA)
The rain drizzled over the final Nad Al Sheba World Cup, the end of an era and a place in the history books for Well Armed, ridden by Aaron Gryder for WinStar Farm and former Godolphin employee Eoin Harty.
He was never headed before storming clear by no less than 14 lengths, bringing the Nad Al Sheba curtain down from subsequent 2010 winner, albeit on a different surface, Gloria De Campeao.
Trainer Steve Asmussen had the world’s racing media in something of a frenzy when announcing his 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Curlin would travel to Dubai well in advance of the big race.
Deciding Super Saturday was a week to close to the main event, he plundered a course and distance handicap (now called the Curlin Handicap (a week before, then annihilated 11 rivals in the World Cup.
The truly international flavour of the race was perfectly epitomised by Invasor; a Triple Crown winner in his native Uruguay, he was purchased by Sheikh Hamdan and sent to the US to join Kiaran McLaughlin.
Soon partnered with Fernando Jara, the pair won the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic and arrived in Dubai after victory in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Their World Cup victory was fairly straightforward with Jara always looking confident before putting the race to bed with 300m remaining.
Godolphin, Saeed and Frankie Dettori combined to win another World Cup, this time with Electrocutionist who was something of an anomaly among their winners of the race; he was actually purchased privately having originally trained in Italy.
Winner of the 2005 Group 1 Juddmonte International at York for previous connections, he made a winning dirt debut carrying Godolphin blue for the first time in Al Maktoum Challenge R3 over the same 2000m.
He became the first horse to win the World Cup from stall one.
ROSES IN MAY (USA)
Kenneth Ramsey, owner in partnership with his wife Sarah of Roses In May, attended the post race press conference with a bloodied nose, his exuberant winner having struck Ramsey while receiving his victory Pat.
It was probably the only discomfort Ramsey endured because John Velazquez always looks confident on his charge, prepared to perfection by Dale Romans, and always in control once quickening clear almost 500m from home.
PLEASANTLY PERFECT (USA)
Few present this day at Nad Al Sheba will ever forget the titanic battle between old adversaries Medaglia D’Oro and Pleasantly Perfect, the pair locked together throughout the final 400m.
The latter and Alex Solis grabbed the initiative about 250m out but his old rival would not go away, his challenge only wilting close home.
The same horses had fought out the finish of the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Richard Mandella’s charge also coming out on top then.
MOON BALAD (IRE)
Frankie Dettori may have picked the wrong one in 2002 but he made no such mistake this time, providing Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor with further World Cup glory, this time with Moon Ballad.
They had actually used the 1800m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 as their prep race but, more significantly, Moon Ballad is a son of 1997 Dubai World Cup hero Singspiel.
STREET CRY (IRE)
Another World Cup for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor but, having won the course and distance Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R3 aboard Street Cry, Frankie Dettori opted to partner Sakhee who finished third.
Jerry Bailey was the grateful recipient of the winning spare ride, the jockey landing his fourth World Cup in the first seven years.
CAPTAIN STEVE (USA)
Racing on a dirt surface at Nad Al Sheba was always likely to suit the US raiders and Captain Steve became the latest winner for ‘the stars ‘n’ stripes’, a second for Bob Baffert and third for Jerry Bailey.
He arrived having won the Grade 1 Donn handicap and denied both Japan and France a first World Cup with To The Victory and Hightori respectively.
DUBAI MILLENNIUM (GB)
Surely the most iconic of World Cups; renamed by Sheikh Mohammed with the year in mind, his favourite horse, Dubai Millennium, was only ever beaten once, when failing to stay 2400m in the 1999 Epsom Derby.
Soon in front under Frankie Dettori, the pair entered the straight with a healthy lead and the horse just galloped home, pulling clear and setting a track record that was never to be troubled, opening Godolphin’s Dubai World Cup count in an awesome manner.
Denied with Swain 12 months earlier, Saeed bin Suroor opened his World Cup account but not for Godolphin, Almutawakel and Richard Hills carrying the equally famous silks, the blue and white ones, of Sheikh Hamdan.
Hills tracked the early pace before setting sail for home about 250m out, the pair just having enough left to hold the challenge of Malek, a final career success for the horse.
SILVER CHARM (USA)
The first Group 1 Dubai World Cup and a second to go to the US with Silver Charm providing Bob Baffert with his first and Gary Stevens his sole victory in the race.
Having hit the front with about 500m remaining, the horse was forced to dig deep to thwart the late charge of Godolphin’s Swain.
Silver Charm was retired after finishing sixth attempting to defend his crown 12 months later.
The year it rained! Now a Listed race, the race was originally called off after torrential rain. Military helicopters were called to attempt dry a waterlogged track but few will ever forget Sheikh Mohammed gesturing, with a motion across his neck, to give up.
The race was rearranged for the following midweek and it was a memorable one with Sheikh Mohammed’s maroon and white silks carried to victory by Jerry Bailey aboard Singspiel for Michael Stoute, the year before he was knighted.
The historic inaugural running, a conditions race, may have lacked big race status but it did boast a $4million prize fund. Sheikh Mohammed’s vision and generosity was rewarded with a quality field.
Among them was US superstar Cigar who arrived in the desert on the back of six consecutive Grade One victories. He and Jerry Bailey did not disappoint, although made to work hard to deny compatriot Soul Of The Matter.