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Five weeks out – projecting the Dubai World Cup field

Some adjustments have been made to our projection for the 2011 Dubai World Cup field, which will be updated one more time after Super Thursday.  DubaiRaceNight.com does not have full knowledge of which of these horses have received official invitations to the big race.  The projected field is based on our understanding of the process of invitations, the official Emirates Racing Association ratings, past performances of horses under consideration, and the comments of their connections regarding future plans.  And so – once again, the field based on preference:

#1. BOLD SILVANO (Rated 120)
A solid favorite from our perspective.  Handled the Maktoum Challenge – R2 (G3) field with ease and won that race faster than Golden Sword covered the distance a week later, the first of consecutive wins from that horse, a bit lower on our list.  Some think it is impossible to compare race times over a surface on different days, but Tapeta has played so consistently and fair, that we think otherwise.  That being the case, this guy belongs up top.

#2. GIO PONTI (Rated 125)
Fourth in last year’s race, he is being pointed to return following a second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), over the same trip at Gulfstream Park on 26 February.  Last year, he prepped in a similar event at Tampa Bay Downs and was the best of the shippers in the $10 million race.

#3.  BUENA VISTA (Rated 118)
Japan’s wondermare is good enough that the connections don’t care about a prep race in Dubai and want to just go in the big one.  It is worth noting that Christophe Soumillon, her regular partner, is contracted with Mike De Kock and the likely pilot on Bold Silvano.  Quite the open mount.

#4.  SNOW FAIRY (Rated 119)
Hong Kong Cup (G1) winner moves up the ladder after comments made from trainer Ed Dunlop indicated his bold encouragement following the filly’s work back home.   The chances of her going to Dubai are better than ever before, but she could easily be placed in the Dubai Duty Free (G1) or the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), freeing up a valuable spot for someone not in the top 14.

#5.  MENDIP (Rated 117)
Still just one start this season, the Maktoum Challenge – R1 (G3), and we are likely to see him back in the third round on Super Thursday.  We think the first round of the race was generally weaker than the second, but he could land in the big race third off the layoff.

#6.  GITANO HERNANDO (Rated 118)
The more we watch his race last time, the more we think that Weichong Marwing gave an awful ride.  Giving him another chance with the third round of the Maktoum Challenge, and he could get a better relationship with the horse and move forward.

#7.  TWICE OVER (Rated 123)
Dual Champion Stakes (G1) winner is expected to get a prep race over the track this time after being asked to do it last year first up.  He has gotten over synthetics before and could come on in a big way for the big one.

#8.  GOLDEN SWORD (Rated 117)
Established the course record for 2,000 metres last Friday after winning a week before in impressive fashion.  With so much back class, he could keep running at the Carnival or rest up for the big race.  This guy has been a fabulous revelation over the Tapeta and is really quite exciting for the remainder of the campaign. 

#9.  MUSIR (Rated 117)
Ran on incredibly well behind Skysurfers in the Firebreak Stakes over a trip much too short for him.  That race was the much the fastest of anything over 1,600 metres this season and his closing kick shows the 2010 UAE Derby winner still has it going on.  Expect him to keep coming on for the season, giving Mike De Kock a ridiculous trio of challengers.

#10.  VICTOIRE PISA (No rating)
One of three potential Japanese runners to go, he has that great win over Buena Vista in the Arima Kinen (G1) and seems very likely to make the race.  He is also unexpected to have a prep race.

#11.  CAPE BLANCO (Rated 119)
Do they come straight for the big race or get a prep in to see if they really want to go on the Tapeta?  Tough call for now, but a CV that is too strong to deny a spot in the gate.

#12.  DEEM (Rated 115)
Another newcomer to the list, she was fourth in the 2010 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) and made her first start since then when a solid second to Golden Sword last week.  The big question remains whether or not she is pointed to the big race or back on the turf.  She was coming on strong and nearest to the front at the finish of the record setting 2,000 metres event, but will trainer Jerry Barton use that as a prep to go longer on the green?  With her rating, and representation of Saudi Arabia, we think she could get a spot if it is desired.

#13.  MORNING LINE (No rating)
Donn Handicap winner Giant Oak is relatively assured to not go based on trainer comments, so this guy stands the second-best US chance after being second in the same race.  Bought by Zabeel Racing International with intentions well known to go to the Dubai World Cup, if he is healthy, he’ll be there. 

#14.  AL SHEMALI (Rated 119)
Longshot winner of the Dubai Duty Free has not shown a ton of life on the Tapeta this season, but the connections are persistent and might keep at it.  A return to turf is always a possibility, but the high rating makes him a guarantee.


#15.  TRANSCEND (No rating)
Recent winner of the February Stakes (G1) in Japan was relatively confirmed for the Godolphin Mile, but the big win has connections thinking $10 million is more exciting than $1 million.  Understandable, and improving.  Could grab a spot.

#16.  RICHARD’S KID (Rated 119)
Still no word from the Satish Seemar came, or Bob Baffert, or anyone associated with this horse and his chances.  He was sent to Dubai for the big race, but has yet to even appear in entries.  They might want a quick second up effort, but the days are dwindling to get him on track.  If we heard a peep about him, he’d be in the top 14 for sure.

#17.  INTERACTION (Rated 112)
Former South American champion had a great run in the second round of the Maktoum Challenge, but needs another, or maybe a win, to propel him based on our current understanding of the situation.

#18.  SPRING OF FAME (Rated 112)
This guy showed good movement behind Bold Silvano but needs a big performance to have a chance in the big dance.

#19.  CROWDED HOUSE (Rated 115)
Ran in that second tiered bunch in last year’s Dubai World Cup, he has one start this season and was seventh in the Maktoum Challenge – R2.  Certainly could get in again, this time, for American trainer Ben Cecil.

#20.  FLY DOWN (No rating)
Saudi-owned runner was up the track in the Donn Handicap (G1) and has never won outside of restricted company.  Winless in the biggest spots, he will need some help to get a spot.

#21.  I WANT REVENGE (No rating)
Trained by the oft-suspended Rick Dutrow, I Want Revenge was used in the pace duel of the Donn Handicap and is winless since April 2009 when taking the Wood Memorial against 3-year-olds. 

Others below this cut:

DROSSELMEYER – Belmont Stakes winner was sick for a comebacker last week, and would likely be doubtful to make the big field even if healthy.
WIN FOR SURE – turf winner and third behind Mendip, he needs a big race on Tapeta to move into the top 14.
REDDING COLLIERY – reportedly in Dubai, although not confirmed, nor is he rated, but needs much to go in his favor, and you know, show up at the races.
TWIRLING CANDY – on our list before as in the field, there has been no talk from his camp about a potential run, so we think it’s unlikely he shows.


  1. If Mendip can get the 1-1/4 of the Al Maktoum Challenge Rd. 3, and win or run really well in the race? I think he’ll be an extremely dangerous horse in this year’s DWC. I know most people are raving about Bold Silvano and Musir’s chances in the DWC also. But I urge people to not forget De Kock’s other fantastic colt, Golden Sword. He’s really come back to life on the tapeta at Meydan this year, and as far as having raced G1 level competition, there will be few horses in the DWC field that have faced as many big G1 performers as Golden Sword already has in his career. He beat at the time stablemate, Masterofthehorse in the Chester Vase. Then he finished a very game 5th behind Sea The Stars in the Epsom Derby. Masterofthehorse finished 3rd in the same race. On to Ireland where Golden Sword ran a blinder to finish 2nd behind Fame and Glory in the Irish Derby. Then on to Ascot, where Golden Sword ran another great race to finish 5th behind Conduit in the King George. There’s no question that Golden Sword has already faced horses as good or better than most that will be entered in the DWC.

  2. Pat,
    Couldn’t agree with you more about Buena Vista being “quite the open mount.” LOL. Since Soumillon is not going to be available to ride her in the DWC, if I’m her connections, I go back to Olivier Peslier. Peslier certainly did right by Buena Vista in the Sheema Classic last year. IMO.

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