Stage set for Darley-sired stars on Dubai World Cup night

Several strong contenders for the Darley stallions at Meydan's showpiece

The grand finale of the Dubai World Cup Carnival and the world’s richest night of racing takes place at Meydan this Saturday, 30 March and another superb card sees the Darley stallions well represented once again.

The curtain raiser is the G2 Godolphin Mile and there are no fewer than five Darley-sired contenders. Muntazah (Dubawi) has a strong chance, coming into the race off the back of a brace of Group wins over the same course and distance during this year’s Carnival, while Exceed And Excel’s evergreen son Heavy Metal will bid for a second consecutive win.

Exceed And Excel is also responsible for Secret Ambition (winner of this year’s G3 Jebel Ali Mile), while Iffraaj and Raven’s Pass are represented by Major Partnership and Ibn Malik respectively.

The Dubai Gold Cup is the stayers’ contest and for the past three years has been won by Manduro’s outstanding son Vazirabad, who has an astounding 13 Group victories to his name.

While he doesn’t line up this year, the race certainly isn’t short of a star as Cross Counter (Teofilo) makes his first racecourse appearance since his historic Melbourne Cup win. Opposing Cross Counter is stablemate Ispolini (Dubawi), while Sharpalo (Shamardal), Team Talk (Teofilo) and Red Galileo (Dubawi) complete the quintet of Darley-sired runners.

The first G1 contest of the night is the Al Quoz Sprint, won in magnificent style last year by Jungle Cat (Iffraaj), who has now joined the Darley stallion roster at Kildangan Stud.

This year, brilliant G1 King’s Stand winner Blue Point will aim to add a second victory at the highest level to his record and his preparation could not have been better, with the son of Shamardal remaining unbeaten so far this year with wide-margin Groups wins at Meydan. Mazzini (Exceed And Excel) makes his first start at G1 level, having finished a creditable third behind Blue Point in the Nad Al Sheba Sprint earlier this month.

While the European stallions do not have a runner in the G2 UAE Derby, Darley America stallion Animal Kingdom is represented by Golden Jaguar. This is of course the race won back in 2011 by Khawlah (Cape Cross), now most famous for producing New Approach’s 2018 Derby winner, Masar.

The Dubai Turf unsurprisingly has Japanese superstar Almond Eye as a strong favourite, however Century Dream (Cape Cross) has been a wonderfully consistent performer and could well make the frame. Lonhro, who stands on the Darley roster in Australia, sees his son Mountain Hunter line up in the nine-furlong contest. Last year, Benbatl (Dubawi) recorded the first of his three G1 victories in this race, winning by over three lengths.

The Dubai Sheema Classic was the scene of one of Postponed’s finest moments on the racecourse as he won in record time. The 2018 winner was new Dalham Hall Stud resident and previously winner of the G1 Eclipse, Hawkbill.

This year, Dubawi’s four-year-old son Old Persian has a strong hand, having won the G2 Dubai City Of Gold on Super Saturday.

The final race, and one sure to see the night out with a bang, is the 24th running of the $12 million Dubai World Cup. Dubawi has a rich association with the race, not only through his famous sire Dubai Millennium who landed the race in 2000, but also as the sire of a pair of winners in Monterosso and Prince Bishop.

This year, North America lines up as favourite to land the feature and become Dubawi’s third winner in the process. The Meydan specialist is unbeaten in 2019, winning the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 by no fewer than nine lengths, following up in R2 a month later.

He will line up against last year’s winner and Exceed And Excel’s grandson, Thunder Snow.