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Projecting the 2014 Dubai World Cup field

This year will be our eighth year covering the world’s richest night of racing, the 19th Dubai World Cup. For a variety of reasons, the field for the race has felt more uncertain than at any other time we can recall. Below, we provide a glimpse into the potential field for the $10,000,000 race.

The Dubai Racing Club offer connections an invitation to the race provided the horse is nominated. We don’t have the list of those already invited, those who have or have not accepted, or those under consideration on the list from the Dubai Racing Club, bar the nominations that were released several weeks ago. The list below is not confirmed, by anyone. Rather, it is an educated guess to the potential field given a variety of factors (press reports, connection quotes, past performance, and our own perspective). The field is limited to sixteen starters. Here are sixteen, in alphabetical order, who could comprise the field.

#1 – African Story
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

Fifth in the 2013 Dubai World Cup, African Story made a solid return when second in the Maktoum Challenge – Round 2 (G2), and you would expect he’ll be in the next round, too. Connections claim he has matured with age, away from his younger success as a miler into a 2,000-metre runner, and his performances have matched their belief.

#2 – Belshazzar
Trainer: Kunihide Matsuda

Favoured in the February Stakes, he could only manage third in that effort and actually only has two wins in group-level company, both of those away from the grass. He was closing late in the February and would get extra ground in the World Cup.

#3 – Dank
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute

The mare has been strategically campaigned, starting five times last year, winning four, including a dominant win in the Beverly D at Arlington, and a narrow but still impressive tally at the Breeders’ Cup, both races over the 2,000-metre trip.

#4 – Elleval
Trainer – David Marnane

Second in last year’s UAE Derby, Elleval won a salty Carnival handicap on December 20, and now races off a handicap mark of 112. That would normally be just on the edge of World Cup acceptance, but feels within range this year. He is aimed at the Maktoum Challenge – Round 3 (G1) on Super Saturday.

#5 – Hokko Tarumae
Trainer: Katsuichi Nishiura

Beaten by Belshazzar in the Japan Cup dirt after leading late, this guy was just second in the February Stakes behind the longest price in the field. He’s the more accomplished potential Japanese participant in the projected field.

#6 – Hunter’s Light
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

The ante-post favourite for last year’s Dubai World Cup, he hasn’t been close to his dual Maktoum Challenge wins from 2013. He needs to put forth a solid run to prove he still belongs in the frame.

#7 – Military Attack
Trainer: John Moore

Irish-bred was sublime winning Sunday’s Citibank Hong Kong Gold Cup (G1) and dazzled last year in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) and Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1). Moore made no bones about the fact they want to go for $10 million as opposed to the Dubai Duty Free, where he does already hold an invitation.

#8 – Mujaarib
Trainer: Mike de Kock

This Aussie-bred was brought to Dubai with the intent of running on the Tapeta, but shocked connections when he was a winner first-up in the Al Rashidiya (G2), besting stable companion Mushreq. That companion is also a Dubai Duty Free chance, so you would expect owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum would be pleased to split his chances. Mujaarib exploded into a hot pace on grass first-up and was more grinding behind a slow pace last week. No one has suggested he’s on the Dubai World Cup track, but we think it’s a possibility.

#9 – Prince Bishop
Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

A surprise winner of the Maktoum Challenge – Round 2, he essentially ran the best race of his life at the age of seven. He’s been in two previous Dubai World Cups, running tenth beaten more than five lengths in 2011 and seventh behind Monterosso in 2012. We would expect him back on Super Saturday.

#10 – Ron the Greek
Trainer – Nicholas Bachalard

A three-time Grade 1 winner in America, he was purchased by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to race and stand as a stallion there, but not before a shot at the Dubai World Cup. He won his local debut there and could have one more race or go straight for the big race.

#11 – Surfer
Trainer: Satish Seemar

He loves the Tapeta, but lost all chance with a draw in 15 for the Maktoum Challenge – Round 2. The son of Distorted Humor has just three wins, but was placed behind Hunter’s Light in two Maktoum Challenges last season.

#12 – Real Solution
Trainer: Chad Brown

Winner of the Arlington Million with thanks to the stewards, this guys still feels like a bit of a longshot to make the trip. He suffered a lung infection in Italy and was reportedly brought to America so he could race on Lasix (which he cannot get in Dubai). His trainer barely likes sending horses from New York to California, so Dubai just seems a stretch no matter how much the owner wants to be there.

#13 – Red Cadeaux
Trainer: Ed Dunlop

Have you ever seen connections going wild over a second-place finish? That’s what happened when this guy was second in the 2014 edition, and he could take another chance, or potentially go for the Dubai Sheema Classic, according to the trainer’s website. Ten furlongs still feels too short for him, but the traveling warrior just keeps plugging along.

#14 – The Fugue
Trainer: John Gosden

Like several other possible runners, she would be making her all-weather debut if showing in the big race. While just missing in big races at both Santa Anita and Sha Tin, The Fugue’s two seasonal reappearances have been a tough below her best, recording a fourth in 2012 in the 1,000 Guineas (G1) and then third behind Al Kazeem in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) last year.

#15 – Variety Club
Trainer: Joey Ramsden

South Africa’s two-time champion, Variety Club made a winning local debut in the Firebreak Stakes (G2). The son of Var was beaten two lengths in his only start over 1,600 metres when second behind Jackson in the Investec Cape Derby (G1). He might be aimed for a grass race, but when a horse looks incredibly fluid on the Tapeta like he did, it’s a compelling choice to consider going for the big race.

#16 – Vercingetorix
Trainer: Mike de Kock

Unbeaten in five lifetime starts, he was reported the worst traveler of de Kock’s lot for 2014, but won a handicap on debut anyway, exuding the class and resolve this son of Silvano carries. Do they try the Maktoum Challenge – Round 3 as a Tapeta test?


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