Much like Japan takes on the world in the $12 million Dubai World Cup (G1) on March 25 at Meydan Racecourse.
Eight of the 15 entries are from Japan and they include some of that country’s most accomplished runners, both on grass and on dirt, surfaces of 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) World Cup.
Against that is a thin line of stars from the rest of the world, including last year’s winner, intern Bob Baffert national grammar 2022 Saudi Cup (G1) champion, line iconAnd Algeria an intern of Simon and Ed Crisford who starred in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Three local athletes and one mixed-Argentine athlete win at Gulfstream Park Complete the ring for the crown jewel of Dubai’s biggest race night.
While the sheer size of the Japanese team is huge, none of the eight runners have a truly outstanding track record.
Panthalassa won this year’s $20 million Arab Cup, narrowly beating Country Grammer in just his second start on dirt track, but could doubt having gone the extra 200 metres. Last year, he won the Dubai Turf (G1) in a deadly heat with North Lord and coach Yoshito Yahagi said it was a tough call whether to repeat that race or stick to the dust after the Saudi Cup.
“With him having won the Saudi Cup, we feel he deserves a chance,” Yahagi said. “Why not? The environment is more challenging than in Riyadh but he’s used to it.”
Panthalassa won the Saudi Cup almost championship and just held Country Grammer in the final steps. He faces a longer stint in Dubai.
“Of course I’m worried about the distance being too far,” Yahagi said. “But I have to trust him and how he will manage, as will our driver, Yutaka Yoshida.”
The rematch’s tactics were marred by a barrier draw as Panthalassa won door 15 and Country Grammer landed on door 14. Panthalassa’s game was speed while Country Grammer last year chased the leaders. to win the World Cup.
“It’s okay,” Baffert’s assistant Jimmy Barnes said of the draw. “It’s a one-and-a-half mile race and we’ll give it to Frankie (Dettori) and he’ll figure it out. We’re so lucky to have him riding all three of our horses here.”
Yahagi, prior to the draw for Panthalassa’s position, stated that the gate did not matter and did not notice when column 15 was revealed.
proud crown also ranks high in the Japanese team, in no small part because Achieve the crown The 4-year-old won the UAE Derby (G2) last year. He went on from there to finish 13th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) after chasing a suicidal early pace. After the break, he finished second in Japan’s three consecutive land games and finished fifth in the Saudi Cup in his final game. He drew port 12.
“After the race, we hope that booth number 12 will be our lucky stall,” said assistant coach Masafumi Matsuda. “We’ll be looking at tactics with the jockey. But Crown Pride absolutely loves Dubai so we hope that’s lucky for us.”
Cafe Pharoah was a two-time winner of the February Betting (G1), one-mile dirt track, but went on to finish third in the Saudi Cup in the final start. Joao Moreira continues the ride and starts at gate 10.
Several other Japanese athletes have posted mixed results while switching surfaces.
Vela Azul won the 2022 Japan Cup (G1) on grass but was less successful than earlier in his career on the Japanese pitch. Rays of June switched to barefoot after a mid-field career on the pitch and had three consecutive wins, including the Champions League (G1) before finishing seventh in the Saudi Cup. TO Keynes won the 2021 Champions Cup but have been unimpressive since then.
Geoglyphswinner of last year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese Thousand Guineas, G1), has not won since but has finished sixth at the Hong Kong Cup (G1) in December and fourth at the Saudi Cup. Ushba Tesoro seems the longest chance of the lot.
The form takes a slight shortcut through the rest of the field.
Algeria , withdrew 13 for his 13-year-old owner, Hamdan Sultan Ali Alsabouli, who said the draw “was fine but I was hoping for a 5 or 6.” Co-coach Simon Crisford noted, “He played wide in both prep runs and so that’s not really a concern.”
Of course, the competition will be much stiffer than he faced when he won the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge—both by a huge margin.
Emblem Road was a great long shot as he plunged down the heart of King Abdulaziz Racecourse to beat Country Grammer in the 2022 Saudi Arabia Cup. He did not attend the Dubai World Cup and returned this year. to come sixth in the Saudi Cup, beating 4 1/4 lengths.
Queuing for locals is Hello soldier , Bendoog And regret , the latter two were trained by local star Bhupat Seemar. The end of the field is the winner of group 1 Chile Super Corinto who hasn’t raced since December 2022 grant optional claim to win at Gulfstream Park.