Seven of last year's nine Dubai World Cup night winners have been included in the free entry nominations for the US$27.25 million (Dh100m) extravaganza at Meydan Racecourse in March.
Monterosso headed the entries for the $10m Dubai World Cup after the Dubai Racing Club released all 2,043 entries across the bumper card on Tuesday.
Godolphin's six year old is set to his open his account in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on Super Saturday on March 9 before defending his crown in the world's most valuable race.
Mahmoud Al Zarooni could also saddle Capponi, who chased home Monterosso last season, and is included in a total entry from the trainer of 16.
Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin handler who boasts five wins, entered 11, including Alpha, the exciting American recruit.
Godolphin could face a strong international challenge after America provided the largest entry from any of the 22 countries from outside the UAE. There were 27 horses accepted to the World Cup from the US, with as many as 11 from Japan.
The US challenge is spearheaded by Royal Delta and Game On Dude, ninth and 12th respectively last season, while the likes of Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, Dullahan, the triple Group 1 winner on synthetics and Little Mike, the Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, were all handed entries.
Japan provided the one-two when Victoire Pisa and Transcend held off Monterosso in 2011, and could be represented again by the wonder filly Gentildonna, the four-time Group 1 winner who is set to jet into Dubai after Super Saturday.
“It’s early stages but at least they have all got something to aim at and we know that they are interested in coming,” Martin Talty, the International Manager of Dubai Racing Club, said.
“A lot can happen in the next few weeks and there is of course Super Saturday here and the big meetings at Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park in America in between.
“We know Royal Delta and Game On Dude are better than they showed last season and the Japanese have proved they have the best set of horses in the world. In 2002 we had 87 horses nominated for the Dubai World Cup at this stage and this year we have 272.”
Although Cirrus Des Aigles is struggling to shake off the injury he picked up in Hong Kong in December, the evergreen gelding has been handed an opportunity to defend his crown in the $5m Dubai Sheema Classic, while African Story, last season’s Godolphin Mile winner, has also been entered in the World Cup and the Dubai Duty Free.
Krypton Factor, last season’s Dubai Golden Shaheen winner, could well face Rocket Man and Kinsale King, the 2011 and 2010 winners of the race, while Mike De Kock hopes Daddy Long Legs could step up on last season’s UAE Derby success by entering his new acquisition in the World Cup, Sheema Classic and Duty Free.
One of the most intriguing entries is that of Ortensia, the Australian sprinter who took Britain by storm last season having won the Al Quoz Sprint.
Paul Messara’s mare has been entered in the five furlong sprint once again and had her first serious gallop on January 17 having finished down the field in the Haydock Sprint Cup in September.
TM Fred Texas heads 60 Purebred Arabian entries for the Dubai Kahayla Classic.
Dubai World Cup
Races to be run at Meydan Racecourse on March 30
1 Dubai Kahayla Classic
2 Godolphin Mile
3 Dubai Gold Cup
4 UAE Derby
5 Al Quoz Sprint
6 Dubai Golden Shaheen
7 Dubai Duty Free
8 Dubai Sheema Classic
9 Dubai World Cup