A host of global Thoroughbred racing stars have been nominated for the March 30 Dubai World Cup card at Meydan Racecourse. Created in 1996 as part of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s a long-term vision for racing, the nine-race meeting could include appearances by international luminaries such as Thunder Snow, McKinzie and Roy H.
Thunder Snow and his local Group 1-winning rival North America lead the UAE-based nominations for the world’s richest race, while American Grade 1 winners McKinzie, Leofric, Seeking the Soul, Audible, Yoshida and star mare Elate are also among the nominations to the 1 1/4-mile affair. Outstanding Japanese dirt runners like Champions Cup (G1) runner-up Westerlund and 2017 February Stakes (G1) winner Gold Dream add serious intrigue, as does Hong Kong’s popular Pakistan Star. Like many, the last mentioned has been cross-nominated.
The $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at 2400m on turf has attracted Japan Cup (G1)-winning filly Almond Eye, the brightest rising star from the land of the rising sun, leading an honor roll of Japanese Group 1 winners including Cheval Grand, Lys Gracieux and Rey de Oro. Hong Kong’s Exultant and Eagle Way, as well as Ireland’s Magical and U.S. Grade 1 winners Sadler’s Joy and Channel Maker add significant depth.
Hong Kong’s Beauty Generation tops the nominations for the 1800m $6 million Dubai Turf (G1), which also has a potent Japanese presence, including 2017 winner and 2018 runner-up Vivlos, Hong Kong Cup (G1) runner-up Deirdre, third in this last year, and Yasuda Kinen (G1) winner Mozu Ascot. Defending champion Benbatl, Australian Group 1 winner Comin’ Through, veteran South African Group 1 gelding Marinaresco, St James’s Palace Stakes (G1) winner Without Parole from England and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) winner Next Shares from America already make this an exciting event to anticipate.
The 1200m $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1), the richest dirt sprint in the world, has attracted nominations from the likes of American champion sprinter Roy H and other top U.S. sprinters Imperial Hint, X Y Jet and Promises Fulfilled, as well as Japanese sprint star Matera Sky and improving local rivals Raven’s Corner and Drafted. Its turf equivalent, the Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1), has been doubled in purse to $2 million and has attracted nominations from some of the top turf sprinters in the world, including multiple Group 1-winning Australian sprinter Santa Ana Lane, King’s Stand (G1) winner Blue Point, dual Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Stormy Liberal and British Champions Sprint (G1) winner Sands of Mali.
The three Group 2 events on the day have all received purse increases of $500,000: the $2.5-million UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, $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. Accordingly, they have attracted strong global interest.
Over 1900m on dirt, the UAE Derby has attracted upstarts such as local star Walking Thunder, Argentine Group 1 winner Grecko, Bob Baffert-trained Improbable and Mucho Gusto and seven from the Ballydoyle yard of last year’s winning trainer Aidan O’Brien. The 1600m Godolphin Mile nomination list is led by its last three winners — Heavy Metal, Second Summer and One Man Band — as well as Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Battle of Midway and 2018 February Stakes (G1) winner Nonkono Yume of Japan. The Dubai Gold Cup for turf stayers over 3200m (about two miles) is topped by three-time winner Vazirabad, Melbourne Cup (G1) victor Cross Counter and highly regarded Irish St Leger (G1) winner Flag of Honour.
The $1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic sponsored by Mubadala (G1) will feature the best Purebred Arabians in the world, with nominations being topped by last year’s dominant winner Tallaab Al Khalediah of Saudi Arabia, as well as talented mare Al Shamoos of France, winner of the rich Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (G1) in November.
Dubai Racing Club received 1,440 nominations for 739 horses from 20 countries for the 2019 Dubai World Cup day. The first supplementary stage for all races on Dubai World Cup day will close on Wednesday, February 13, 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 11, when horses can be supplemented for 1% of the prize money. The third and final supplementary stage takes place on Sunday, March 24, when horses can be supplemented into the race for 10% of the prize money. Entry/declaration takes place Monday, March 25.
Malih Al Basti, Meydan Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee said: “The 2019 Dubai World Cup, with a world-leading $35 million in purses and the world’s richest race, promises a brilliant global race day, offering the very best racing in the world on both turf and dirt, including the exceptional international champion horses, trainers, jockeys and owners. This is evident in the Dubai World Cup day nominations, in which we see 19 nations represented, creating unprecedented excitement for Saturday, March 30 at Meydan Racecourse.”