Australian interest in the Dubai Racing Club meeting, to be held March 31 at Meydan, is at an all time high with two of our three best sprinters nominated for races on the rich card.
The Peter Snowden-trained Sepoy is a confirmed runner in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) on the Tapeta all weather surface, with the three time Group 1 winner set to run in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on February 25 in what will be his Australian swansong.
Peter Moody has also excited global race fans by nominating champion mare Black Caviar, who last Friday won her 17th race from 17 starts, for the Golden Shaheen.
She was considered an unlikely runner until Friday, when Moody said there was a 50/50 chance the mare would head to Dubai, bypassing other Australian races.
The possibility of a clash with Golden Slipper winner Sepoy has intrigued and excited the Dubai Racing Club.
The club’s international manager Martin Talty said he would be “delighted to see her.”
“This is the first time trainer Peter Moody has entered her outside Australia,” he said.
“What racecourse wouldn’t want Black Caviar?”
“Everyone in Australia was desperately looking forward to her taking on Sepoy and if she runs in the Golden Shaheen then she would.”
Among other Australian nominees for the Golden Shaheen are Winterbottom Stakes winner Ortensia, Salinger Stakes winner Sister Madly and the Tony Gollan-trained pair Spirit of Boom and Temple of Boom.
Gollan said last week that neither of his gallopers are likely to make the trip.
All bar Sepoy are also entered for the Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) on turf, which has been upgraded to Group 1 status for the first time this year.
Snowden is set to have a big night with his Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet a confirmed runner in the Group 2 UAE Derby (1900m).
The only Derby worldwide to feature horses bred in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the race is run on the Tapeta track and has been dominated by Godolphin horses in recent times.
Helmet will be Australia’s first representative in the race, and will come at his third run this preparation.
He will have two runs at Flemington – in the Group 2 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 18 and the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) on March 3 – prior to the UAE Derby.
Both Sepoy and Helmet will continue their racing careers in Europe under the Godolphin banner following their appearances in Dubai.
A number of gallopers formerly trained by Snowden have been entered for Godolphin across the card, including Desuetude, Dysphonia, Kidnapped, Scarf and Soul.
American import Unusual Suspect will represent Cranbourne trainer Mick Kent with the eight year old set to run in a number of races over the carnival.
He has been nominated for the Group 1 Sheema Classic (2410m) on turf as a possible finale.
Australia has not had a good record at the Dubai World Cup meeting, with Elvstroem our only victor when he won the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free (1777m) at the old Nad Al Sheba course in 2005.
Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden is also among a large number of entries for the prestigious meeting, as is dual Cox Plate winner So You Think, who may run in the feature race on the card.
Written by Andrew Hawkins