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Australia and New Zealand are expected to have scarce representation in Dubai this year, following the release of nominations for Dubai World Cup night.

Nominations for every race to be run on Dubai’s flagship night were released late Tuesday, with 272 horses entered for the feature race, the Group 1 Dubai World Cup (2000m).

Only four Australian horses were entered for the March 30 meeting, with three trained by Scone horseman Paul Messara.

Globetrotting mare Ortensia, who has been entered to defend her title in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) on turf, headlines the trio. She went on to perform at the highest level in the United Kingdom following her Dubai success, saluting in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes (5f) at her penultimate start.

She is being readied for her comeback in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m), with a return to Dubai firmly on the agenda.

Messara’s other two entries are in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) on the Tapeta surface. They are Mic Mac, a one time Memsie Stakes winner who has not run since finishing sixth to Temple of Boom in last year’s Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m), and new stable acquisition Soft Sand.

The former Colin Little-trained mare was last seen when finishing second to Appearance in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m).

The other entrant is Emirates Stakes winner Happy Trails, who is entered for the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free (1800m). If he makes the trip, he may face a rematch with Cox Plate winner Ocean Park, who is targeting the Dubai Duty Free with Irish jockey Johnny Murtagh already booked to ride.

Ocean Park will resume in New Zealand on February 23 before he embarks on his global adventure.

He is one of two Kiwi entries, with Petergabriel among the entries for the Group 3 Dubai Gold Cup (3200m).

While direct representation may be hard to find, there are a number of former Australians entered for the meeting. Many are former Darley horses who are now with Godolphin, such as Patinack Farm Classic winner Mental (entered for the Golden Shaheen and the Al Quoz Sprint), South Australian Derby winner Kidnapped (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Sheema Classic, Dubai Gold Cup), Victoria Derby runner up Induna (Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Sheema Classic, Godolphin Mile), Champagne Classic winner Free Wheeling (Golden Shaheen, Al Quoz Sprint), Autumn Stakes winner Pied a Terre (Golden Shaheen, Al Quoz Sprint, Godolphin Mile) and McKell Cup winner Adroitly (Sheema Classic, Dubai Gold Cup).

Free Wheeling, Pied a Terre and Adroitly make their debut in Dubai early Friday morning Australian time.

Caulfield Guineas winner Starspangledbanner, who has been back in work with Aidan O’Brien for a season after a failed stud career, is entered for the Golden Shaheen and the Al Quoz Sprint, while other horses familiar to Australians include Melbourne and Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Sheema Classic), Melbourne Cup placegetters Red Cadeaux (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Sheema Classic, Dubai Gold Cup) and Jakkalberry (Dubai Sheema Classic, Dubai Gold Cup), and Singapore sprint champion Rocket Man (Golden Shaheen).

Australian-bred entrants like South Africa’s champion mare Igugu (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Sheema Classic), along with Musir (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Sheema Classic, Godolphin Mile), Time After Time (Golden Shaheen) and Eagle Regiment (Al Quoz Sprint) are a chance of ensuring it is not a night devoid of Antipodean influence.

Among the most prominent entries across the night are 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Sheema Classic), last year’s Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso (Dubai World Cup, Dubai Sheema Classic), last year’s Dubai Sheema Classic winner Cirrus des Aigles (Dubai Sheema Classic) and Japan Cup winner Gentildonna (Dubai Duty Free, Dubai Sheema Classic).

For the full list of nominations, click here.

 
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