Gentil can be Dubai giant
Our Man On The Spot previews all of the action from Meydan on Dubai World Cup Night.
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SOFT FALLING RAIN, who beat Haatheq just under a length in this a year ago after looking in trouble entering the straight, can repeat the process. He enters the fray having had just one run over a trip too short and his trainer will have him spot-on again. Variety Club was surprisingly beaten by Shuruq in the trial for this on Super Saturday when he attempted to take on the front-running Capital Attraction and paid the price. He had earlier beaten Haatheq 2l when making all so has to be a threat though there didn't appear to be a fluke about Shuruq's victory. Mull Of Killough had a fine record in the UK before heading for Australia where he wasn't beaten far in a Group 1 handicap at Flemington in November. Flotilla couldn't quite get to the winner in the Balanchine but the dual Group 1 winner can get involved if taking to this surface. The Japan raider Brightline is a Group 3 winner in his native country but has never won above that level.
Several of these ran in the main trial a month ago when CAVALRYMAN, who won this in impressive fashion a year ago, easily beat Star Empire with Certerach in third and Simenon, Moment In Time and Saddler's Rock all behind. There's an extra two furlongs to travel here which will suit Simenon while Moment In Time has always looked as though she would stay the trip though it's difficult to get away from the winner. Ernest Hemingway ran a shocker when long odds-on for the Irish St Leger on his latest start and will need to do much better than that but the dual Woodbine Group 1 winner Joshua Tree has no problems staying and will be all the better for his recent run over a trip much too short. Germany's Seismos, not far behind Joshua Tree at Woodbine last year, looks best of the remainder.
LONG JOHN arrived here from Australia with a big reputation and had no problems landing the UAE 2000 Guineas from Emirates Flyer. He's a southern-bred so has an advantage over most of these rivals and will be difficult to beat. The latter was beaten even further when stepping up to this trip for the first time three weeks ago by Asmar, who was very impressive. The Argentine Group 1 winner Cooptado is another southern-bred which should give him an advantage though he may need time to acclimatise while Aidan O'Brien saddles Giovanni Boldini and Sir John Hawkins. The former looks the main choice having finished runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. He's won both starts on Polytrack at Dundalk and would be a major threat if acting on Tapeta.
SHEA SHEA was an impressive winner of this a year ago when catching Joy And Fun in the closing stages and everything looks geared up for a follow-up. Runner-up to Jwala in the Nunthorpe, he reappeared here with a prep-race success over Ahtoug and is difficult to oppose. Hong Kong always have fast sprinters but Amber Sky was put in his place in a Group 1 at Sha Tin and the winner was only third in this last year so Joy And Fun once again looks the best of their representatives. Sole Power can never be disregarded and beat Shea Shea in the King's Stand Stakes at Ascot though was only fourth here a year ago. Catcall's narrow defeat by Maarek in the Abbaye with Hamza a close third was a cracking run but he hasn't done so well in his two runs at this year's Carnival.
Reynaldothewizard was a shock winner last year, just seeing off the late challenge of Balmont Mast, but was beaten in the trial for this by the Hong Kong-based RICH TAPESTRY with Complicate third and most of this field, including Balmont Mast, behind. It's hard to imagine anything coming from behind the front pair again and though Reynaldothewizard will make a bold bid to reverse the form with the winner and retain his crown this looks another for Hong Kong. Sterling City also represents the former colony but looks Listed class at best and was 3l behind the selection at Sha Tin last April.
The Fugue is certain to attract major support once again though she may meet her match here in the Japan-based JUST A WAY. The latter is a genuine Group 1 performer in his native country and arrives on the back of an impressive Group 2 victory. His penultimate run, when taking the Group 1 Tenno Sho in Tokyo by 4l from the top-class Gentildonna, marks him down as a brilliant performer. The Fugue doesn't do much wrong and though twice beaten at short prices since her impressive victory in the Irish Champion Stakes both defeats were over 1m4f at the highest level and this is more her trip. Vercingetorix had stablemate and today's rival Anaerobio back in third in that controversial Group 1 Jebel Hatta here three weeks ago when the latter's rider was suspended for six months. The winner is a high-class performer but faces much better opposition this time.Trade Storm, who finished strongly in that event, could snatch a place at a big price though he's held by Mshawish on last month's Zabeel Mile form and the latter should give Frankie Dettori a good ride. Dank has gone from strength to strength and isn't making up the numbers. She followed her victory in the Beverley D at Arlington with another in the Breeders' Cup Filly And Mare Turf and has been kept fresh for this by Sir Michael Stoute.
GENTILDONNA, runner-up to St Nicholas Abbey in this a year ago, faces another stiff test against some top-class opposition including her compatriot Denim And Ruby, who just failed to catch her in the Japan Cup in November when Dunaden stayed on strongly to be beaten less than 2l. The runner-up is lightly-raced and may just have more scope but the winner has track knowledge which can just swing things her way. Cirrus Des Aigles beat St NIcholas Abbey in this two years ago but wasn't quite up to that level last season and was beaten the four times he ran at Group 1 level. The Irish 2000 Guineas winner Magician put a poor run at Royal Ascot behind him to beat The Fugue in the Breeders' Cup Turf with Twilight Eclipse back in sixth. With much more to come this season he looks certain to give a good account though he'll probably not be quite as wound up as some of the opposition.
Animal Kingdom won this for the USA a year ago from the outside stall 12 but there are four more runners this time and Ron The Greek will need to perform miracles to stage a repeat, especially as he's a Dirt specialist. The globe-trotting Red Cadeaux did brilliantly to finish runner-up a year ago but hasn't won subsequently unlike fourth-placed Side Glance, who produced a superb performance to land the Mackinnon at Flemington and has had a run here to put him straight. African Story wasn't beaten far a year ago though the feeling is that it's a better race this time around and there's more runners. Prince Bishop arrives in top form having beaten Sanshaawes in a Group 1 three weeks ago but he's twice finished mid-division in this. Mukhadram is another drawn out wide and his overall form is just lacking while those who fancy Ruler Of The World to defy stall 12 would do well to trawl through last year's Derby form as it couldn't possibly have worked out any worse. Akeed Mofeed started a short-priced favourite at Sha-Tin last month but was put in his place by Military Attack, who was a length behind him in the Hong Kong Cup with Side Glance very close up in fifth. Military Attack had earlier won the Singapore Airlines Cup in very impressive fashion and if handling the Tapeta will be a big player. Hillstar bids to land this for his yard, who produced Singspiel to a famous victory in 1997 and he's been reportedly working well on the surface. BELSHAZZAR and Hokko Tarumae have been beating each other with regularity at the highest level in Japan and the form looks solid enough for this. Preference is just for the former who is better drawn and his rider has more experience of the track.