Qatar Sheikh's Pearl trio to take a bow in Dubai
Sheikh Fahad Al Thani will have his first runners in Dubai next year and his yellow and blue-starred silks will be carried by three horses throughout the World Cup Carnival, which starts on January 10.
The Qatari Sheikh's Pearl Bloodstock empire has mushroomed since first having runners two years ago and has already hit the heights of Group 1 success in Australia, Britain and Hong Kong.
Dunaden famously won the Melbourne Cup in 2011 ahead of his victories in the Hong Kong Vase and this year's Caulfield Cup and although King Air, Dubawi Sound and Side Glance are not of that calibre the Sheikh's racing manager was looking forward to campaigning at Meydan Racecourse.
"Dubai would suit the type of horses we are sending over as the prize money is fantastic and the three we are sending do not have prospects of a stud career," David Redvers said.
"King Air and Dubawi Sound are both geldings, while Side Glance has a working-class pedigree as he is by Passing Glance."
King Air is trained in France by Rupert Prichard-Gordon, while Side Glance is housed in Andrew Balding's stables in England.
Dubawi Sound, formerly with Roger Varian, also hails from Britain and is trained by David Brown.
"It was more down to Sheikh Fahad that we are going to have runners in Dubai as he is now in possession of a lot of high-class bloodstock," Redvers said. "He would like to find the best races for them to reach their potential, wherever in the world that may be."
The equine trio form part of a huge raiding party from Britain, which is set to comprise 77 horses - the biggest contingent from any of the 21 countries set to send horses to next year's US$37 million (Dh135.9m) extravaganza. This number is down markedly, however, from last year when there were 99 British horses accepted.
To highlight the fragile nature of such ventures Redvers had hoped to send over Pearl Mix, trained by Ralph Beckett, but the horse suffered a minor injury this week.
Peter Schiergen knows all too well the pitfalls of getting too excited about best-laid plans. The German trainer had hoped to run Danedream, the 2011 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner, in Dubai but after an outbreak of equine infectious anaemia in Cologne she was retired this month.
Instead, Schiergen's five-horse team will be spearheaded by Girolamo, one of 26 individual Group 1 winners that have been accepted to race at Meydan Racecourse by the Dubai Racing Club.
Among the headline acts to be in action over the next three months include Krypton Factor, this year's Dubai Golden Shaheen victor.
The four year old, one of three horses to be engaged by Fawzi Nass, the Bahrain trainer, could start off in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint in mid-February and then progress to the Mahab Al Shimal on Super Saturday before defending his crown on World Cup night in March.
Other notable acceptors include William Haggas's Dancing Rain, the 2011 English Oaks winner, triple Group 1 winner Meandre from Andre Fabre's Chantilly base, while all eyes will be on Mike de Kock's Igugu, who may end up contesting the Dubai World Cup, the world's most valuable race.
"The start of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is fast approaching and excitement is building as more and more contenders arrive at Meydan," Martin Talty, Dubai Racing Club's international manager, said.
"One of the most pleasing aspects so far is not only the numbers and the truly global reach of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but also the quality of horses, which continue to improve year on year."
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Published: December 27, 2012 04:00 AM