Japan mob-handed in the quest for a second $12m Dubai World Cup

Eight runners represent the Land of the Rising Sun who last won the famous race in 2011 with Victoire Pisa


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Yutaka Yoshida on Panthalassa celebrates after winning the Saudi Cup. — Reuters
Yutaka Yoshida on Panthalassa celebrates after winning the Saudi Cup. — Reuters

Published: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 6:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 15 Mar 2023, 6:25 PM

A quality field of 14 horses, including defending champion Country Grammer and an eight-strong raiding party from Japan, will contest next Saturday’s 27th edition of the $12 million Dubai World Cup, Sponsored by Emirates.

Trained by American Hall of Fame handler Bob Baffert’, Country Grammer bids to become only the second dual winner of the 2,000-metre dirt contest after Saeed bin Suroor’s Thunder Snow who triumphed in 2018 and 2019.

The Japanese contingent, which boasts some of the best dirt horses in the world, is led by recent $20 million Saudi Cup winner Panthalassa and also includes Japan Cup winner Vela Azul, 2022 UAE Derby hero Crown Pride, Café Pharoah, TO Keynes, Geoglyph and Jun Light Bolt.

Japan last took home the glittering World Cup trophy when Victoire Pisa triumphed in an electrifying six-horse blanked finish between Transend, Monterosso, Cape Blanco, and Gio Ponti.

Reigning UAE champion trainer Bhupat Seemar flies the flag for the hosts with a pair of challengers in Remorse, who was fourth last year to Country Grammer and the ultra-progressive Bendoog.

The lone European contender is Algiers, the impressive winner of G2 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 and 2, who is trained by the father-son combination of Simon and Ed Crisford.

The former Racing Manager of the Dubai-owned Godolphin stable Crisford Senior was closely involved with some of the great winners of the racing like Dubai Millennium (2000), Street Cry, and Moon Ballad.

"We are very excited about the strength of the fields for the 2023 Dubai World Cup meeting," said Major General Dr. Mohammed Essa Al Adhab, general manager of the Dubai Racing Club.

"We have horses arriving from 12 different countries and it is especially fantastic to welcome back runners from Hong Kong and Australia after a break of a few years."

The Emirates Racing Authority also announced the likely field of the eight supporting races on the night, where the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) over 2,400 metres is the star attraction.

Racing starts at 3.30 on March 25 while gates open at Meydan at noon.

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