His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’sentries for the Dubai World Cup meeting include his perennial favourite, Asiatic Boy, who was apparently a little underdone going into his last start, but who’s now approaching his best again and should be spot-on for the World Cup itself. He will be joined in the line-up by the South African-bred Lucky Find, who was just behind Godolphin’s top entry for the event, Jaleel, on their last outing. While no-one knows just how good the favourite Curlin, is, Sheikh Mohammed’s two horses won’t be too far apart come the big race, and it’s anybody’s guess as where Asiatic Boy will fit in to the mix.
On exposed UAE form, the UAE Derby appears to rest between the two Mike De Kock (and Sheikh Mohammed-owned) entries, South African-bred Royal Vintage and the Argentinean, Honour Devil, who’ve been difficult to split in their previous two encounters, and are now sitting on one victory apiece from these. Apparently the Americans are flying in two top horses in Massive Drama and the Van Nistelrooy colt, Strike The Deal, winner of the Richmont Stakes and fourth in Breeders Cup Juvenile at season’s end in 2007. The latter will provide the race with an excellent line on world form, though it would seem that the UAE Oaks winner, Cocoa Beach, will add her own dimension of colour and gender variety to the entry, and might even trouble the judge as well.
His Highness has a fifth entry on the night, if you can believe it, in the form of Archipenko, whom he owns with the Parkers of Ascot Stud, and who is a live candidate for the laurels in the Dubai Duty Free, though in that event, he will have to cope also with Herman Brown’s formidable duo of Linngari (already a European Group One winner) and one of the stars of our three year old season last year, Jay Peg. The Duty Free has for some years now been almost as tough a race as the World Cup itself, and this year will be no exception.
Were it not for the fact that they were both injured in the lead-up, the Sheikh would’ve had two other entries on the night in the form of the top level European Group One performer, Eagle Mountain, as well as the outstanding Argentinean filly, Inca Noble, an unbeaten filly who took out a Group One winner by seven and a half lengths on her second start in her native country. These two will be going back to Europe with Mike de Kock’s string at the end of the season, and will no doubt be making up an important part of the contingent for next year’s Dubai Carnival.