Frankie Dettori aims to make history by becoming most successful jockey at Dubai World Cup

Italian partners Bob Baffert’s Newgate as both rider and trainer aim to win race for a fifth time

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The 28th Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday has all the makings of an absorbing, wide open race.

The defending champion Ushba Tesoro bids to become only the second horse after Godolphin’s Thunder Snow to win the $12 million Group 1 prize in successive years.

The Japanese rider is also up against Senor Buscador who beat him in the last stride in the $20 million Saudi Cup at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Jeddah last month.

In the mix are a host of others including the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up and last year’s UAE Derby hero Dermo Sotogake, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap winner Newgate, and the local-trained hopefuls Laurel River and Kabirkhan.

Derma Sotogake was fifth in the Saudi Cup and before that had both Ushba Tesoro and Senor Buscador behind him in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He was returning to the track in Jeddah after a 111-day lay-off and should have benefitted from the outing ahead of the Dubai World Cup.

The Bob Baffert-trained Newgate with Frankie Dettori on top will be a horse to watch in the 12-runner field.

The American is the second most successful trainer in the history of the Dubai World Cup, winning it four times, and stands only behind Godolphin's Saeed bin Suroor who has triumphed nine times.

Baffert and Dettori combined to win the Dubai spectacle with Country Grammer in 2022 and they are back with a big chance with Newgate.

Dettori also shares the most success in the race with Jerry Baily on four and the Italian will be out on his own as the all-time leading jockey of the Dubai World Cup in he can win again on Saturday.

Kabirkhan and Laurel River are both stepping up in class but are still in with a shout, with the latter having won three times back in the United States, including a Grade 3 race, before an injury sidelined him for 516 days.

Laurel River is come back nicely with an impressive win in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday on March 2 and the connections are confident the step-up in distance will suit.

Kabirkhan is two from two – including the success in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 – but this certainly is his biggest test in terms of the quality opposition.

Ushba Tesoro has been a revelation since the switch from turf to dirt, winning six of his nine starts and finishing second or third twice.

“The timing to switch Ushba Tesoro to run on dirt has worked well,” trainer Noboru Takagi said.

“Although he was a difficult horse to control when he was young, he has matured both physically and mentally.”

The seven-year-old son of Orfevr is drawn in Stall 5 and Takagi insisted the draw did not matter for a horse that will race from behind.

“He has recovered well from the Saudi Cup and is in good form,” Takagi added. “After Dubai, our focus will switch to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar this autumn.

“We are planning to race him in the Grade 1 Champions Cup in December, and his swansong will be the Grade 1 Tokyo Daishoten.”

Derma Sotogake is expected to be primed for his second start in a month after the lay-off and on a track in which he was an impressive winner of the UAE Derby 12 months ago.

Newgate has run into the Dubai World Cup contention with victory in his last start. He stalked the leading group before Dettori got to work in getting his horse collar the front-running Subsanador by a head at the winning post at Santa Anita in California.

Completing the line-up are Crupi, Dura Erede, Wilson Tesoro, Military Law, Clapton and Defunded.

Updated: March 29, 2024, 10:19 AM