Ushba Tesoro will defend Dubai World Cup crown from Stall 5

Saudi Cup victor Senor Buscador drawn in 10 while last year’s UAE Derby winner Derma Sotogake handed 'lucky number 8' slot

Yuga Kawada guides Ushba Tesoro to victory at the 2023 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Ushba Tesoro will start from Stall 5 at he looks to defend his Dubai World Cup crown following the post-position draw at Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa yesterday.

The Noboru Takagi-trained seven year old is bidding to become only the second horse, after Godolphin’s Thunder Snow, to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups.

Ushba Tesoro’s name was first to be picked out at the post-position draw ceremony.

“Stall 5 is not so bad but he’s a horse that has to come from behind so really one to 12 makes no difference,” rider Yuga Kawada said. “He’s going to come from the back anyway so it doesn’t really matter.”

The Todd Pletcher-trained Crupi and Kabirkhan were drawn in Stall 1 and 2 with Japan’s Dura Erede and Military Law occupying 3 and 4, respectively.

Doug Watson, who trains the Kazakhstan sensation Kabirkhan in Dubai, felt a middle draw could have suited the son of the 2016 Dubai World Cup winner California Chrome.

“I kind of wanted the middle,” Watson said. “If he always broke really well, I’d be delighted but he hasn’t done that. We’ve been working on it, but we hope he can do it on the night. At least it’s a shorter way around.”

Newgate starts from just outside Ushba Tesoro in Stall 6 with Clapton, Derma Sotogake, Defunded and the Saudi Cup winner Senor Buscador in 7, 8, 9 and 10, in that order. Wilson Tesoro and Laurel River start from the widest gates in 11 and 12.

Todd Fincher’s Senor Buscador, the pride of his breeder and co-owner Joe Peacock Jr, was the second name selected and the latter remarked that he was “very happy” with the draw. “We wanted outside and we got outside,” he said.

Hidetaka Otonashi said they didn’t mind “any stall” for his UAE Derby winner Derma Sotogake at this meeting last year and subsequently the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“Eight is considered a lucky number in Japan so that’s pretty good,” the trainer said.

The other big local hope is Laurel River, who is trained by Bhupat Seemar and entered the Dubai World Cup picture after a clear-cut victory in the Burj Nahaar earlier this month. He is drawn widest of the 12 runners.

“Obviously being right on the outside is far from ideal,” his jockey Tadhg O’Shea said.

“Saying that, he’s a horse with a lot of early speed and we’ll just have to play the cards we’re dealt.”

Updated: March 29, 2024, 9:41 AM