Asian Racing Federation countries were well represented when Meydan Group last week released the list of horses accepted for the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, which gets underway at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday, January 11th, 2018.
Overall the list featured 132 accepted horses with the intention to ship from 15 countries, including 14 Group 1 winners from many points of the globe. Several international stars are set to travel to Dubai this winter to compete for a share of the US$10,870,000 prize money across 10 race cards, 61 Thoroughbred races and 4 Group Purebred Arabian races held prior to the Dubai World Cup card on March 31, 2018.
Cape Town trainer Brett Crawford has champion Whisky Baron (AUS) after winning South Africa’s prestigious event, The Sun Met (G1) at Kenilworth, to culminate a five-race winning streak last January.
Additional influence from South Africa on the Carnival will come as usual from Johannesburg based trainer Mike de Kock. His top charges include 2017 South African Derby (G1) winner Al Sahem (SAF), Group I-winning warrior Sanshaawes (SAF) and Group I-winning 2017 Zabeel Mile (G2) runner-up Noah From Goa (SAF). There are 12 in de Kock's team.
Australia will likely make its presence known, spearheaded by conditioner David Hayes early in the Carnival with the likes of multiple Group 2-winning sprinter Faatinah and Bjorn Baker’s highly rated Group I-winning speedster Music Magnate targeting the latter half, including a possible Super Saturday run.
These sprinters further highlight a global amalgam of talented newcomers and familiar faces, including classy Roger Varian trainees Connecticut and Barsanti, Singapore Gold Cup (G1-Local) winner Gilt Complex, Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (G2) winner Furia Cruzada and 2017 Godolphin Mile (G2) runner-up Ross.
Joining Singapore Cliff Brown's Gilt Complex (NZ) is stablemate Sir Isacc (AUS) and fellow trainer Stephen Gray's Bahana (NZ) and Newlands (AUS). Bahrain has 12 acceptances and UAE seven.
In other news changes were announced for upgrades to three 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival races.
The 1800m Singspiel Stakes is the first of three upgraded races, having gone from a Listed to Group 3 contest. The promotion of the Singspiel Stakes means that opening night of the 2018 Carnival program features two Group races, including the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (G2).
Sprinters on both surfaces get an upgrade, as the 1200m Dubawi Stakes (Jan. 18) on the main track moves up from Listed to Group 3 status and the Meydan Sprint (Feb. 22), the finale for the five-furlong campaign during the season, has been promoted from a Group 3 to Group 2.
In other changes, the Listed Meydan Classic (Mar. 1) for turf 3-year-olds sees an increase in distance from 1400m to 1600m.
2018 DUBAI WORLD CUP CARNIVAL ACCEPTANCES