24 March 2015, Dubai ~ The Post Position Draw will be made Wednesday 25 March at 3pm in the Meydan Theatre in front of Dubai World Cup accredited media. All Group 1 races will be drawn live and there will be a draw ceremony for the US$10m Dubai World Cup.
Group 1 US $1m Dubai Kahayla Classic empowered by IPIC – 2000m (Dirt)
Raaziq (FR) – Majed Al Jahouri has booked Kieren Fallon to ride.
“On his best form he has a chance,” said Fallon. “The yard won this last year and is always a good one to ride for.”
Callateral (US), Abu Alabyad (FR) and Richlore (US) all represent Salem Al Ketbi.
Tadhg O’Shea elects to ride the last-named and said: “Obviously it is a tough race but they are three nice horses who should all run well.
“It is never easy to choose in these situations so hopefully I am on the right one.”
Group 1 US$10m Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates – 2000m (dirt)
African Story (GB), Prince Bishop (IRE) – African Story won the world’s richest race, the US$10-million Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates, last year when it was run on the all-weather surface.
Meydan switched to a dirt track in 2014 and African Story, along with Godolphin’s other Dubai World Cup contender, Prince Bishop, has now had experience of the new surface.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “Both African Story and Prince Bishop worked on Saturday and are happy and in good condition.
“It will be very tough racing against California Chrome from America, though our horses have been doing very well.
“They have been getting used to the dirt this year but they don’t like the kickback and need to be prominent in the race.
“Prince Bishop has to start better – he came from last to second in the final round of the Al Maktoum Challenge. African Story was victorious in last year’s Dubai World Cup and is now back in peak form.”
California Chrome (USA) – With exercise rider Dana Barnes in tow, Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates contender California Chrome breezed a half-mile (800m) early Tuesday morning in :50 over a fast Meydan main track.
“He got the last eighth (200m) in 11 seconds,” said Alan Sherman, assistant and son of trainer Art Sherman. “We just wanted to stretch his legs. If he’s not fit by now, it’s too late.”
With all six of his wins as a three-year-old coming against restricted company, California Chrome took full advantage of his sophomore season, but Sherman believes he can be as successful now that he is facing older horses.
“He’s not a real heavy horse but I do think he’s grown into his four-year-old season and that he’s a lot stronger,” Sherman said. “I’m just glad the owners (Steve Coburn and Perry Martin) decided to run him another year.”
Jockey Victor Espinoza, who has partnered with Chrome for his last 11 runs, will be back aboard for Saturday’s Dubai World Cup.
Candy Boy (USA) – Candy Boy remains in good form according to trainer, Doug Watson. “He did his final serious gallop yesterday (Monday) morning and went well,” said Watson. “We are looking forward to Saturday.”
Epiphaneia (JPN) – Representatives of trainer Katsuhiko Sumii said the Japanese contender had an easy canter on the Meydan dirt track and has adapted to the new surroundings.
Assistant trainer Norihiko Kishimoto said, “He has been training well. He will gallop on the dirt course tomorrow morning.”
Hokko Tarumae (JPN) – Jockey Hideaki Miyuki watched his partner Hokko Tarumae, another Dubai World Cup Japanese contender, cantering on the Meydan dirt track.
Miyuki said: “I have not ridden him since he has arrived, but as I touched and walked on the dirt course, it seemed to be more sticky than the Japanese dirt and needs more power. Hokko Tarumae is also a power-type of horse, so he should handle it. He looks fit and I am happy with it.”
Lea (USA) – Lea continued his preparation for Saturday’s race on Tuesday by galloping 2400m over the Meydan main oval.
One year ago, following wins in both the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope and Grade 1 Donn Handicap, the Dubai World Cup was on the radar for Lea, but a virus quickly ended that thought process.
“Last year he won the Donn, which is a great stepping stone race to the World Cup, but then he got sick on us and the goal changed to getting the horse healthy,” explained assistant trainer Riley Mott, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
“We brought him back slowly and let the horse tell us when he was ready to get back at it. He’s running well now and we think he’s still improving.”
Off an 11-month layoff, the lightly raced six-year-old won the Hal’s Hope again but he failed to repeat in the Donn, finishing a close second behind Constitution. Following some initial indecision about making the trip, the connections targeted the Dubai World Cup.
“He really ran a bang up race in the Donn and came out of it in great shape,” Mott said. “The Dubai World Cup is a US$10 million race and it’s back on dirt. We feel like we have great chance.”
Lea will likely be the second choice internationally behind American Horse of the Year California Chrome.
“It’s a credit to the connections of California Chrome for bringing him here,” Mott said. “It’s a big deal in American racing and a fun challenge for us.”
Side Glance (GB) – Andrew Balding’s globetrotting eight-year-old shipped into Dubai on Sunday and cleared quarantine this morning. Last seen when finishing fourth in the Cox Plate in Australia, he will be making his dirt debut over the weekend and covered two circuits of the all-weather training track today.
Photo Credit:Dubai Racing Club // Andrew Watkins