Ribchester, Jack Hobbs & Move Up lead powerful Dubai World Cup Night squad
Godolphin has strong representation in the feature G1 races on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan, UAE, on Saturday, March 25 with Ribchester, Jack Hobbs and Move Up headlining a powerful team.
Ribchester (Richard Fahey/William Buick, drawn one), an impressive winner of the mile G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, France, in August, steps up to nine furlongs for the first time in the G1 Dubai Turf (19.30hrs local time) which has prize money of US$6 million.
The four-year-old Iffraaj colt, third over a mile in both the G1 2000 Guineas and the G1 Sussex Stakes in the UK last year, makes his first appearance since going down by half a length to Minding in the mile G1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, UK, in October.
He is joined in the Dubai Turf by five-year-old mare Very Special (Saeed bin Suroor/Silvestre de Sousa, drawn eight), who was a cosy winner of the G2 Cape Verdi over a mile at Meydan on January 26.
The daughter of Lope De Vega, a G1 runner-up at Newmarket, UK, in 2016, came home a close fifth over the same course and distance as the Dubai Turf on her latest outing in the G2 Balanchine on February 16.
Richard Fahey said: “Ribchester is in great nick and I have been pleased with him this week though he did his serious work before arriving.
“He has progressed over the winter and, hopefully, he is in good form on Saturday. Some of his form is very good and we feel that he is a better horse this year.
“I feel he will stay. There is every chance he will get the trip on his dam’s side, while Iffraaj has sprinters and staying horses. If Ribchester settles, he will definitely stay.”
Saeed bin Suroor reported: “Very Special has been working nicely but this looks a very tough race, with a different quality of horses compared to what she has been running against.
“She has been working well and deserves to take her chance. I am looking to see a good run from her against some very strong opposition.”
The field of 13 for the Dubai Turf also includes Prix du Jockey Club runner-up Zarak and Juddmonte International third Mutakayyef.
Five-year-old Jack Hobbs (John Gosden/William Buick), a five-length winner of the G1 Irish Derby in 2015, lines up alongside Prize Money (Saeed bin Suroor/Adrie de Vries) in the US$6 million G1 Dubai Sheema Classic (20.05hrs) over a mile and a half on turf.
The son of Halling endured a punctuated 2016 campaign after a stress fracture to his pelvis but ended the year with a good third in the 10-furlong G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot, UK, in October.
Prize Money makes his G1 debut following two course and distance wins, most recently when quickening well to beat Postponed by a neck in the G2 Dubai City Of Gold on Super Saturday, March 4.
The four-year-old re-opposes four-time G1 scorer Postponed, with fellow multiple G1 winners Highland Reel and Seventh Heaven also featuring among the seven runners.
John Gosden said: “Jack Hobbs arrived in Dubai on Saturday morning after a good journey. We are happy with him. This is his game - he won an Irish Derby on a galloping track over 12 furlongs.
“He likes a bit of cut in the ground too, but the rain goes through this track fast as it is sand-based. He needs to improve and I hope he can – it is a small, but elite field.
“He got injured in his first race last May and did not return until the Champion Stakes but ran a blinder to be third to the best three-year-old in Europe in Almanzor, and the Arc winner Found.
“This is his trip. He seems in good order right now, but we are perfectly aware we are third or fourth in the ratings. He is well and in good form.”
Saeed bin Suroor commented: “Prize Money is improving all the time and won nicely last time.
“A mile and a half is his best trip, although this is another tough contest. If he can get into a nice position in the race, I hope that he can run well again.”
Move Up (Saeed bin Suroor/Adrie de Vries, drawn six) takes on the world’s best horse Arrogate in the US$10 million G1 Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (20.45hrs) over 10 furlongs on dirt.
The four-year-old Dubawi colt progressed through the ranks on turf, winning the G2 International Bosphorus Cup at Veliefendi, Turkey, in September and the G3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot, UK, a month later.
He acquitted himself well on his dirt and seasonal debut when coming home fourth in the 10-furlong G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round Three Sponsored by Emirates Airline on Super Saturday.
In addition to Arrogate, the field of 14 for the Dubai World Cup also includes last year’s second Mubtaahij plus US G1 scorers Gun Runner, Keen Ice and Hoppertunity.
Saeed bin Suroor said: “Move Up did well on turf last season, winning a G2 in Turkey and a G3 at Ascot.
“He needed the run in Round Three of the Maktoum Challenge and has improved for the race.
“He worked very well on Sunday and I am happy with him. He is coming up against the best horse in the world, but we wanted to give him a chance in a race like this and we will see how he gets on.”