A host of global Thoroughbred racing stars have been nominated for the historic 25th edition of the Dubai World Cup, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 28, 2020 at Meydan Racecourse. International luminaries Almond Eye, Maximum Security, Anthony Van Dyck, Beauty Generation, Nature Strip, Star Catcher and Benbatl headline the nominations for the US$35-million day, the world’s richest day in horseracing. A total of 1,774 nominations were accepted from 902 horses trained in 21 countries. Tickets are available at store.meydan.ae.
The Group 1 $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline nominations are led by a strong USA representation, including Horse of the Year finalist Maximum Security, as well as G1 winners Midnight Bisou, Gift Box, McKinzie, Higher Power, Math Wizard, Seeking the Soul and Roadster. Brilliant 2019 Champions Cup (G1) winner Chrysoberyl, 2017 Champions Cup (G1) winner Gold Dream and JBC Classic (G1) K T Brave lead an accomplished Japanese contingency looking to add a second Dubai World Cup trophy to its nation’s mantle after Victoire Pisa’s 2011 triumph. In the UAE, Godolphin’s 2018 Dubai Turf (G1) winner Benbatl—trained by nine-time Dubai World Cup winner Saeed bin Suroor—leads fellow G1 winners North America and Capezzano. Contested over 2000m on dirt, it has been won by horses trained in France, Japan, UAE, UK and USA in its first 24 runnings.
Group/Grade 1 stars from all corners of the globe have nominated for the Group 1 $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic. Third last year in the 2410m turf contest, Japan’s Suave Richard went on to win the Japan Cup (G1) in fantastic style. He leads a group that includes triple G1-winning Cartier champion 3-year-old filly Star Catcher, Investec Derby (G1) conqueror Anthony Van Dyck, Hong Kong Vase (G1) victor Exultant, highly rated Grosser Preis von Baden (G1) winner Ghaiyyath, world-travelling mares Magic Wand and Deirdre, as well as American G1 winners Channel Maker, Sadler’s Joy and Arklow.
The Group 1 $6 million Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World nominations are topped by defending champion and Japanese superstar Almond Eye, who leads an impressive list from her homeland, including Hong Kong Cup (G1) victor Win Bright, Yushun Himba/Japanese Oaks (G1) winner Loves Only You, Yasuda Kinen (G1) conqueror Mozu Ascot, Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) winner Lucky Lilac, impressive Satsuki Sho/Japanese 2000 Guineas (G1) winner Saturnalia and Asahi Hai Futurity (G1) winner Danon Premium. Hong Kong’s seven-time G1 winner Beauty Generation, Australian Guineas (G1) victor Mystic Journey, as well as European G1 winners Mustashry, Lord Glitters and Circus Maximus add considerable depth.
Dirt speed is in abundance among nominees for the Group 1 $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News over 1200m. Among those are American G1 winners Imperial Hint, Hog Creek Hustle and Firenze Fire, as well as Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) runner-up Shancelot. Japan’s 2019 Shaheen runner-up Matera Sky and leading Dubai-based sprinters Drafted and Gladiator King are also noteworthy.
The Group 1 $2 million Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments over 1200m on turf has attracted eye-catching nominations from top Australian sprinters, including Winterbottom Stakes (G1) winner Hey Doc, Darley Sprint Classic (G1) victor Nature Strip, Newmarket Handicap (G1) winner Sunlight and Golden Rose Stakes (G1) winner Bivouac. Americans have finished second in the last three editions of the Al Quoz, so it is no surprise to see ample interest, including Joe Hernandez (G2) winner Texas Wedge, Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) third Shekky Shebaz and Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational winner Final Frontier. Meanwhile, multiple G1-placed Space Blues and multiple DWC Carnival winner Ekhtiyaar highlight the UAE-based contingent.
The three Group 2 events on the day, the $2.5-million UAE Derby sponsored by Emirates NBD, $1.5-million Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One and $1.5-million Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, attracted strong global interest.
The UAE Derby is restricted to sophomores and contested over 1900m. As USA-based runners finished first and second in 2019, it is no shock to see plenty of ability in the stateside nominations, including Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) third Wrecking Crew, well-regarded Bob Baffert trainees Azul Coast and Ra’ad, Lecomte Stakes (G3) winner Enforceable and Steve Asmussen-trained stakes winners Silver Prospector and Shoplifted. Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien has won the UAE Derby three of the past eight years and has nominated multiple prospects, including G1-placed Year of the Tiger and multiple G2-placed Fort Myers. Japan won this race with Lani in 2016 and appears to have a respectable group led by Dieu du Vin, undefeated winner of the Cattleya Sho. Like the Cattleya Sho, the UAE Derby provides qualification points toward the Grade 1 $3 million Kentucky Derby—170 in total—including 100 to the winner. Last year, winner Plus Que Parfait and runner-up Gray Magician went on to compete in the Churchill Downs classic.
Nominations for the 1600m Group 2 $1.5 million Godolphin Mile, the second-richest dirt mile in the world, are highlighted by Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Spun to Run, Japan’s February Stakes (G1) winner Inti, South Korean star Blue Chipper, Haskell Invitational (G1) runner-up Mucho Gusto, 1600m course record holder Muntazah and multiple stakes winner King for a Day, who is trained by last year’s winning conditioner, Todd Pletcher.
The Dubai Gold Cup, over a testing 3200m on turf, was won last year by Godolphin’s Melbourne Cup (G1) winner Cross Counter, who leads the nominations once again in 2020 along with stablemate and runner-up Ispolini. Others of note include multiple G1 winner Kew Gardens, multiple Melbourne Cup-placed Prince of Arran, Investec Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee, French G1 winner Call the Wind (third in 2019), top-class American Zulu Alpha and long-winded Japanese galloper You Can Smile.
The first supplementary stage for all races on Dubai World Cup day will close on Wednesday, February 12, when connections can nominate their horse for 0.1% of the prize money of their chosen race. The second supplementary stage is on Monday, March 9, when horses can be supplemented for 1% of the prize money. The third and final supplementary stage takes place on Sunday, March 22, when horses can be supplemented into the race for 10% of the prize money. Entry/declaration takes place Monday, March 23.