It’s the only the second time the Royal Blues are not entered in the line-up for the $12 million main race – the first since 2005 – but they have an overwhelming presence across six other races on the night.
They kick-off their campaign in the Godolphin Mile with the France-based Andre Fabre’s Egot.
The five-year-old races on dirt for the first time. He is a half-brother to Meydan winner Laser Show and has posted two Group 3 wins on turf in France, and was runner-up in an all-weather conditions race at Chantilly on his seasonal return.
Next in line is a quartet in the Dubai Gold Cup. Charlie Appleby’s Siskany and Global Storm, Saeed bin Suroor’s Passion And Glory, along with John and Thady Gosden’s Trawelman can make a race between themselves.
Al Suhail is chasing a hat-trick at Meydan. The Dubawi gelding won twice over the 1,400m trip and drops in distance for the Al Quoz Sprint. He likely faces a strong challenge from Al Dasim, who is undefeated in his last five starts including over the track and trip on his last three visits.
Godolphin’s Lemon Pop, trained by Hiroyasu Tanaka in Japan, is an interesting runner in the Golden Shaheen, the dirt sprint over the 1,200m distance. The Americans have a strong presence in the race while the local trainer Bhupat Seemar has a trio led by last year’s winner Switzerland, and Sound Money and Tuz.
Appleby’s Nation’s Pride and Master Of The Seas are joined by Bin Suroor’s Real World in the $5 million Dubai Turf.
Another Appleby runner, Rebel’s Romance, and Fabre’s Botanik challenge for the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic.
Rebel’s Romance looks to maintain his unbeaten record on turf and notch a fourth consecutive Group 1 win over a mile-and-a-half. The 2021 UAE Derby victor enjoyed an outstanding 2022 for Appleby, scoring in the Grosser Preis von Berlin, Preis von Europa and Breeders' Cup Turf.
“Rebel’s Romance missed his intended prep run on Super Saturday with a minor setback, so we brought him to Meydan for a gallop to take the freshness out of him,” the trainer said.
“He had a lovely experience and hasn’t missed a beat since. It is a race of real strength in depth, with form lines all over the world coming together, but Rebel’s Romance is a terrific horse who has done nothing but improve as he has got older.”
3.30pm: Kahayla Classic – Group 1 (PA) $1million (Dirt) 2,000m
4.05pm: Godolphin Mile – Group 2 (TB) $1million (D) 1,600m
4.40pm: Dubai Gold Cup – Group 2 (TB) $1million (Turf) 3,200m
5.15pm: Al Quoz Sprint – Group 1 (TB) $1.5million (T) 1,200m
5.50pm: UAE Derby – Group 2 (TB) $1million (D) 1,900m
6.25pm: Dubai Golden Shaheen – Group 1 (TB) $2million (D) 1,200m
7.10pm: Dubai Turf – Group 1 (TB) $5million (T) 1,800m
8pm: Dubai Sheema Classic – Group 1 (TB) $6million (T) 2,410m
8.35pm: Dubai World Cup – Group 1 (TB) $12million (D) 2,000m
The National selections:
3.30pm: RB Rych Like Me
4.05pm: Royal Mews
5.15pm: Al Suhail
5.50pm: Go Soldier Go
6.25pm: Lemon Pop
7.10pm: Nation’s Pride
8pm: Rebel’s Romance
8.35pm: Country Grammer