The Dubai World Cup meeting celebrates its historic 25th anniversary on March 27, with six Group 1 races and three Group 2s, including one of the world’s premier races, the $12 million Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Over the next few weeks, we will pay tribute to each of the previous Dubai World Cup winners. Today, we rewind to 2009 when the amazing Well Armed won the Dubai World Cup by a record 14 lengths.
It may not have had the raw emotion of a Dubai Millennium, but it was every bit as dominating, Well Armed closing Nad Al Sheba in style with a record breaking victory in the Dubai World Cup, routing an international field by 14 lengths.
Of course, one of the immediate reactions after the success of Well Armed was the question of just how good Curlin was, 12 months earlier Curlin had Well Armed eight lengths adrift as he recorded his Dubai World Cup success, however it is difficult to compare the two. Well Armed returned to America following his 2008 Dubai World Cup outing, to win the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar and the Grade 1 Goodwood Stakes at Santa Anita in his remaining four runs for the year, ending with a well beaten ninth behind Albertus Maximus in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
In the 2009 Dubai World Cup, Casino Drive, owned and trained in Japan, but bred in America and a Group 2 winner of the Peter Pan Stakes in America as a three-year-old represented Japan whilst Well Armed and Albertus Maximus headed the usually strong USA contingent which also included Arson Squad and Anak Nakal. Saudi Arabia had continually had a presence in the Dubai World Cup and this renewal was no different with Joe Louis (who had been eighth in Asiatic Boy’s UAE Derby in 2007) returning alongside the King’s Cup winner Muller and Field Event, both horses having strong form in their native Argentina and South Africa respectively prior to their purchase by Saudi Arabian interests.
Completing the line-up was Muhannak, winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup marathon at Santa Anita. In 2008 Well Armed and Asiatic Boy fought hard for second behind Curlin however, this year there was to be no problem at all for Well Armed, with Asiatic Boy and others not running up to their true form. That is not to take away credit from the performance of Well Armed who, it is fair to say, would have proved superior had they all been at their best and the biggest compliment to his form came just over six weeks later when Gloria de Campeao, 14 lengths adrift in second, won the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji.