All you need to know for Meydan's spectacular showpiece on Saturday
What is it?
Perhaps the glitziest race meeting in the world with prize-money nudging €30 million making the fixture the richest in the calendar. The post-race entertainment can almost be as spellbinding and Kylie Minogue is among the stars to have performed on the bill. Inaugurated in 1996, the meeting does not match the prestige of the Derby, but money talks and many of the sport's biggest and best names have made the trip to the desert.
Where is it?
The action takes place at Meydan, which replaced Nad Al Sheba as the host venue in 2010. Built at a cost of more than $1 billion, Meydan is arguably the most extravagant course in the world and features a five-star hotel and IMAX theatre, along with a 1m4f left-handed turf track and dirt circuit, which is nearly nine furlongs round and began life as an artificial surface before being replaced in 2015.
When is it?
The Dubai World Cup Carnival starts in early January and builds to Saturday night in its traditional end-of-March slot. Race times on the Racing Post site are at British and Irish schedules, so the first is due off at 12.45, when it will be 3.45 in Dubai.
What sort of card is it?
There are nine races; eight thoroughbred contests and one for purebred Arabians. The undoubted highlight is the $10m Dubai World Cup (5.50), which used to be the richest race on the planet until the advent of the Pegasus World Cup last year. Run on dirt over a mile and a quarter, it has been won by greats such as Cigar, Dubai Millennium and perhaps most stunningly Arrogate last year. It is supported by two $6 million turf events in the 1m4f Dubai Sheema Classic (5.10) and the 1m1f Dubai Turf (4.35), which used to be known as the Dubai Duty Free. Predictably, British trainers fare better in the turf heats.
Who are the big names in action this year?
West Coast is favourite with British bookmakers for the World Cup and would give Arrogate's trainer Bob Baffert, who also saddles Mubtaahij, a fourth triumph in the race, while Aidan O'Brien has seven runners on the card. Another familiar name is Ascot Gold Cup hero Big Orange, who runs in the Dubai Gold Cup (1.50).
Any trainers and jockeys to follow?
Unsurprisingly in Sheikh Mohammed's back yard, Godolphin's Saeed Bin Suroor has had 35 winners – more than any other trainer. His best chance on Saturday appears to be Benbatl in the Dubai Turf, while Bin Suroor's old ally Frankie Dettori is clear in the jockey standings with 19 World Cup night victories, ten ahead of Christophe Soumillion. Dettori's best hopes may lie with Poet's Word in the Sheema Classic.
Don't dismiss the Japanese in the Dubai Turf. They have won three of the last four runnings and Vivlos and Real Steel – successful in 2017 and 2016 – are back for more along with Crocosmia, Deidrie and Neorealism.
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