Meydan hotshots: seven stars set to light up the world's richest meeting
Some of the biggest stars in world racing will compete for astonishing prize-money and prestige on Saturday as the Dubai World Cup Carnival concludes with Dubai World Cup night itself.
Runners from all over the world, including Britain, Ireland, France, the USA, Singapore, South Korea, Uruguay, Hong Kong and more will be in action. Here are a few to keep an eye out for:
Unbeaten since joining trainer Satish Seemar at the end of last year, North America has simply pulverised everything he has come up against around Meydan into the ground.
A powerful front-runner, his official rating has leapt 31lb in four runs with his most recent success gained by seven lengths in the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes last month. It will take a good one to stop him.
Dubai will witness scenes it has never witnessed before should this horse win, or finish second or third, or probably even fourth.
Aiden Shiels, who leads the Here For The Craic Partnership, entertained the whole of York as he stripped off after Ebor victory last year, while his celebrations following the Melbourne Cup, when Heartbreak City finished second, included wrestling a reporter to the ground in the post-race excitement.
And make no mistake, Heartbreak City has a serious chance of success on Saturday with Joao ‘Magic Man’ Moreira in the saddle once again.
While the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe remains tantalisingly out of reach for Japan, runners from the country have succeeded in most other places including in this contest last year.
Epicharis, who is unbeaten on dirt, earned a place in the Kentucky Derby field with victory in the Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo last month and is highly regarded by his connections.
If this race was still over 5f instead of 6f then officials would have already called the result and handed Ertijaal the trophy, such has been his utter dominance on the turf this winter.
A gorgeous horse and the apple of jockey Jim Crowley’s eye, Ertijaal’s natural speed and acceleration make for a potent mix.
Several European contenders will be attempting to stop him, including the 11-year-old Medicean Man who was successful over 5f at Meydan in January.
There are any number of supremely talented horses in this race, but based on his performances in Europe last year Ribchester has to be considered the best of them.
He will have to prove he can stay the 1m1f trip, but if he does his form such as wins in the Jersey Stakes and Prix Jacques Le Marios, plus a second to Minding in the QEII and thirds in the 2,000 Guineas and Sussex Stakes, make him an exciting horse to look forward to.
How good was that ride from Seamie Heffernan in the Breeders’ Cup Turf? It may have been nearly six months ago but wasn’t it just simply magnificent?
Heffernan’s remarkable front-running victory on Highland Reel was a joy to behold and Ryan Moore may look to employ similar tactics in this race with some question mark starting to emerge over last year’s winner Postponed. It is sure to be a gripping contest.
He has already won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the $12m Pegasus World Cup and anything other than a win from Arrogate would be a huge surprise.
As Douvan’s defeat at Cheltenham showed strange things can happen in racing, but it would take something from the X-Files to stop this extraterrestrial from taking first place.