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Meydan voyage


Sole Power. Picture: Mark Cranham/Cranhamphoto.com

Sole Power. Picture: Mark Cranham/Cranhamphoto.com

Mick Halford Copper Beech Stables Photo: Patrick McCann

Mick Halford Copper Beech Stables Photo: Patrick McCann


Sole Power. Picture: Mark Cranham/Cranhamphoto.com

THE Dubai World Cup Night is now a permanent and settled fixture on the racing calendar, even though the ignition is only being turned on the Flat season over this side of the world.

After the Curragh opening up the turf season here last week, tomorrow marks the beginning of the season in Britain, but the crème de la crème will be on show at Meydan and it is a real testament to the strength of Irish racing that the Dubai track will stage 16 Irish-trained horses tomorrow night.

The prize money on offer is absolutely incredible and while the lion's share may not be converted back into euro, Irish-trained horses will be undoubtedly responsible for boosting the coffers of some HRI account holders as they do battle for what one trainer described as an "embarrassing" amount of money.

Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World is the only Irish-trained representative in the Dubai World Cup field and he'll now carry the colours of Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani's Al Shaqab after the powerful operation joined forces with Coolmore again to acquire 50 per cent of Ruler Of The World.

A draw of 12, however, will prove far from ideal for the four-year-old, who will bid to become a first winner in the race for Aidan O'Brien and he has drifted in the betting recently as a result.


Despite the 50pc purchase, Joseph O'Brien will retain the ride on Ruler Of The World who was seventh in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe last season behind Treve, but it'll be Colm O'Donoghue and Ryan Moore who do the steering as the Ballydoyle outfit look for a third consecutive win in the UAE Derby.

Daddy Long Legs gave O'Brien and O'Donoghue a notable triumph here in 2012, while Lines Of Battle was the Ryan Moore ridden winner of last year's renewal and tomorrow evening O'Donoghue rides Sir John Hawkins and Moore is on what would appear to be the stable's first preference, Giovanni Boldini.

Boldini looks well drawn in stall five for the extended nine-furlong contest and after being an unlucky runner-up at Santa Anita last November in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf he could be one of Ballydoyle's best chances of the evening. Among the others representing O'Brien are Magician and Festive Cheer, who run in the Dubai Sheema Classic, and Ernest Hemingway who will take his chance in the Dubai Gold Cup in which there will be four Irish representatives.

Joining Ernest Hemingway in the line up will be Melbourne Cup fourth Simenon who represents Willie Mullins, while Carnival winner Certerach is the mount of Jamie Spencer for Mick Halford.

Those two aren't ideally drawn – in the wide outside stalls with Simenon in 15 and Certerach in 14 – while John Oxx's representative Saddler's Rock isn't much better in 11, with Halford's other runner Dabadiyan set to race out of stall 1.

Mick Halford's team have enjoyed a fruitful campaign in Dubai this season as have those of David Marnane, who is represented tomorrow by Elleval in the Godolphin Mile, in which Halford runs Eastern Rules and Jamesie in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Jamesie was a winner here back in January and has been a model of consistency while in Meydan this season and he'll be joined by Halford's Russian Soul who led home an Irish 1-2 with Jamesie in second when they met here in February.

A third Irish sprinter to take his chance in the Group One contest is Eddie Lynam's Balmont Mast who hasn't managed to get his head in front in three starts at Meydan but he hasn't been running bad races and Ryan Moore is a positive booking.


Lynam has also secured Moore for his stable star Sole Power who is the only Irish runner in the Al Quoz Sprint. The seven-year-old will be attempting to go one place better than he did in this race two seasons ago when denied by a length and a quarter by Ortensia, while he was fourth last year to Shea Shea.

Sole Power was again fourth to Shea Shea in his prep run earlier in the month and tomorrow's race will be the latest instalment in the little duel between the two horses with Sole Power getting the verdict at Royal Ascot and he looks one of the best Irish chances of the night.