Godolphin’s Benbatl the horse to beat as likely runners announced for $12m Dubai World Cup

Conspicuous by their absence are Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou, the winner and runner-up in the Saudi Cup

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , Feb 6  – 2020 :-  Christophe Soumillon (no 3) guides Benbatl (GB)  to win the 5th horse race, Al Maktoum Challenge , 1900m Dirt at the Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For Sports. Story by Amith

Godolphin’s Benbatl is set to start as favourite in the silver jubilee edition of the Dubai World Cup after the likely runners were announced for the $12 million (Dh44m) race at Meydan on March 28.

Conspicuous by their absence are American raiders Maximum Security and Midnight Bisou, both the winner and runner-up in the $20m Saudi Cup, in which Benbatl was third.

Mucho Gusto and Tacitus, fourth and fifth in the Saudi Cup, along with the Group 1 Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston, Math Wizard and War Story are the American challenges in the race.

Japan sends out Gold Dream, Chrysoberyl, Chuwa Wizard, and Master Fencer while completing the 12-runner field are Salem bin Ghadayer's pair Matterhorn and Gronkowski, the runner-up in the race last year.

The silver jubilee meeting with a prize fund of $35m, the richest race meeting in the world, is composed of nine races — six Group 1s and three Group 2s.

Heading the $6m Group1 Dubai Sheema Classic is another Godolphin star, Ghaiyyath, and Hong Kong Vase winner Glory Vase.

Japan’s Almond Eye returns for her title defence in the $6m Dubai Turf. Challenging her are the Group1 Hong Kong Cup winner Win Bright and Godolphin’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta victor Barney Roy.

American speedster Imperial Hint headlines the world’s richest dirt sprint, the $2.5m Dubai Golden Shaheen while the $2m Al Quoz Sprint and $2.5m UAE Derby have attracted runners from Japan, Europe, USA and the UAE.

The $1.5m Dubai Gold Cup includes Godolphin’s 2018 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter and Kew Gardens, the winner of the St Leger.

The $1.5m Godolphin Mile features a clash between dominant milers, Bin Ghadayer’s Capezzano, and Bahraini trainer Fawzi Nass’s Salute The Soldier.

The meeting, which will be held behind closed doors as a measure to combat the coronavirus pandemic, kicks off with the $1m Dubai Kahayla Classic for the Purebred Arabians.

Heading the field is the defending champion, AF Maher, and Tallaab Al Khalediah, winner of the Obaiya Arabian Classic on the Saudi Cup meeting.

All post positions will be drawn in the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA) office at 9am on Monday.