Saudi Arabia guns for more glory with two horses on Dubai World Cup night

Author: Geoffrey RiddleFri, 2018-03-30 17:51ID: 1522411770466573100DUBAI: What a difference 12 months makes.
Last year the Saudi Arabian-owned Arrogate thundered to Dubai World Cup glory at Meydan Racecourse.
Here in Dubai on Saturday the world will converge on this most international of race meetings where there is $30 million up for grabs with the Saudi involvement considerably muted.
Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Monarchs Glen bids to keep his owner’s white, pink and green standard flying when Newmarket trainer John Gosden and Frankie Dettori team up with the gelded son of super sire Frankel in the $6 million Dubai Turf.
Earlier on the glittering nine-race card Tallaab Al-Khalediah, owned by Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, will attempt to augment his success at the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Horse Festival in January by taking away the Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians.
In terms of Saudi Arabian involvement, that is it.
Monarchs Glen has a fiendishly difficult task if he is even going to make the frame in the 1800-meter contest.
He won a Group Three race at Newmarket in England in October, and will try to land one of the most competitive Group Ones in the world off the back of a layoff since then.
As is customary at this meeting, he faces a myriad challengers from around the world.
Benbatl, the favorite, is owned by Godolphin and trained in Dubai. He is joined in the race by fellow runners from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s stable in Blair House, Leshlaa and Promising Run.
The last two winners of the race, Vivlos and Real Steel, will form a Japanese raiding party that includes the quietly-fancied Neorealism, Crocosmia and Deirdre. Trais Fluors hails from France. Janobi from South Africa. War Decree and Lancaster Bomber from Ireland.
And Prince Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing Monarchs Glen.
“We’re very excited and obviously he has not run since October, which is interesting,” Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to the Saudi Prince, said. “He was looking quite wintry around two weeks ago in a gallop around Chelmsford (in England) but he certainly has lost his coat and has a real sheen on him now.
“He will need to be on the upgrade because he is taking on stiffer opposition than he has ever met. We gelded him last year and his attitude got much better. Prince Khalid likes to race his horses and obviously we have not had many geldings of this calibre recently and he could be interesting. He is a son of Frankel so we definitely plan to carry on with him.”
Away from the Dubai Turf, the $6 million Dubai World Cup takes center stage.
Arrogate became the 11th US winner of what was formerly the world’s most valuable race, which, now back on a dirt surface, has once again taken on the dimension of Godolphin against the Americans.
West Coast represents Arrogate’s trainer, Bob Baffert, who is seeking a fourth win in the $10 million event by also saddling Mubtaahij.
The American attack is completed by Forever Unbridled, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner who is gunning to become the first mare to prevail, with Gunnevera and Pavel bolstering their raid.
Godolphin field dual Group 1 winner Thunder Snow and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Talismanic, who bids to prove his credentials on dirt. Of the domestic challenge, look out for North America who won the key trial three weeks ago for controversial Chechen owner Ramzan Kadyrov.
Baffert has been a mainstay at morning trackwork all week. The indefatigable 67-year-old has wise-cracked his way through almost three hours per day of watching a selection of the 111 horses set to appear on the nine-race card today go through their paces.
On the eve of the race, West Coast, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano, looked a picture as he warmed up at the racecourse on Friday. Baffert was flanked by Jimmy Barnes, his long-time assistant who had flown in overnight.
With Gary and Mary West, the owners of the World Cup favorite, also expected in for their first taste of the meeting, all the building blocks are now in place. The stage is set.
“West Coast has looked strong the whole week and has even filled out,” Baffert said. “He has the natural speed and the mile and a quarter (2000 meters) is his game but he to still break good and get around there. He’s got to get up there and be close to the pace and then kick home. That’s his style. But, this is a mad scramble. The jockeys like to ride to the first turn like there’s a sack of a million dollars there.”
And there is another nine million at the end for the winner, too.
Main category: SportsTags: Horse RacingDubai World Cuprelated_nodes: Chechen leader’s horse steals a march in race for $10 million Dubai World Cup prizeDubai World Cup can be the making or breaking of a trainerSaudi Arabia to launch $17 million King Abdulaziz Horse Championship

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