CurlinCurlin (equinephoto)A record-equalling field of 13, led by US Horse of the Year, Curlin, could go to post for the US$ 6million 2008 Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline, on March 29.

The Dubai Racing Club today reveals the likely fields for the seven races at the US$21.25 million race meeting, the world’s richest raceday, which could see horses representing trainers from as many as 16 countries.

The final fields will be declared on Monday, March 24, and then released at the Post Position Draw ceremony on Wednesday, March 26.

The 2000 running of the world’s richest race, won by Dubai Millenium, attracted 13 runners too, and this year’s renewal should also live long in the memory.

The top-rated horse in the world, Curlin, is set to face tough competition from Godolphin’s duo of Happy Boy and Jalil, winners of the Maktoum Challenge Rounds 1 and 3.

The 2007 Dubai World Cup runner-up and fourth, Premium Tap and Vermilion, are also earmarked for the 2000m showpiece on dirt, as well as last year’s UAE Derby winner Asiatic Boy. Lucky Find may also find himself in this race else the other option for him is the Godolphin Mile.

There are three other Group 1 races on the card, headlined by the Dubai Sheema Classic, sponsored by Nakheel.

The US$ 5million contest is sure to have a maximum field of 16 runners, in which Hong Kong champion Viva Pataca will bid to emulate Vengeance Of Rain, who won the race last year. Connections of Youmzain, third in the 12 months ago, and the globetrotting Doctor Dino will also fancy their chances of victory. Sushisan and Oracle West, also with Sun Classique, feature in this event from a South African perspective.

The US$ 5million Dubai Duty Free, sponsored by Dubai Duty Free, also looks likely to have 16 runners, headed by the top-class fillies, Darjina, Finsceal Beo, Vodka, Seachange, West Wind and Majestic Roi. South African interest includes Archipenko, Jay Peg and Linngari.

The other Group 1 race on the card is the US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News, which sees the usual strong American challenge, led by Idiot Proof and Benny The Bull, as well as Godolphin’s Diabolical, who was so impressive when winning the Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Thursday. Narc will make his Dubai debut in this race with stablemate Drift Ice also a likely runner.

The US$ 2million UAE Derby, sponsored by Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group, features the South African-trained duo of Royal Vintage and Honour Devil, who have dominated the UAE three-year-old division this season.

The other thoroughbred race on the card is the US$ 1million Godolphin Mile, sponsored by Etisalat, in which American raider Barcola will aim to give back-to-back wins for Paul Reddam, following Spring At Last’s win 12 months ago.

The best Purebred Arabians in the world line up for the Dubai Kahayla Classic, sponsored by Emaar Properties, and will see Madjani attempt a record-breaking fourth win in the race.

Extract from SA