There’s no doubt that Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Pegasus World Cup winner Life Is Good is the standout, but he’s just one of a galaxy of stars lining up in the 26th running of the Dubai World Cup (sponsored by Emirates Airline).
Six Group or Grade 1 winners line up in the $12million contest, representing six different countries. With a five from six career record, Life Is Good possesses a fearsome profile, but is yet to tackle this 2000metre distance, something trainer Todd Pletcher has been working on.
“I’m very happy with him, his weight looks good, I think he handled the ship in perfectly,” said the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. “The Pegasus was his first time at a mile and an eighth and he handled that well, so we’ve focused on just some good, stamina-building breezes and strong gallop outs. He does everything so willingly; he likes doing it, enjoys his job, and all his work has been super good.”
Drawn in one, Life Is Good and jockey Irad Ortiz will likely make the others try to chase him down. One who has no concerns about the distance is Hot Rod Charlie, who warmed up for this assignment with a comfortable win over 1900metres in G2 Maktoum Challenge Round 2 last month.
“He’s ready,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, who has been overseeing the colt’s preparation in Dubai for the past two months. “This horse, I really think he can run all day; he never seems to get tired. Life Is Good is a good horse, but we’re here and we know he likes the track.”
The US challenge in the race is further bolstered by Bob Baffert’s Country Grammer, an excellent second, returning from a break, in the Saudi Cup last time, and Steve Asmussen’s Country Bourbon, who was third in Riyadh.
Just behind those two, in fifth, was Aero Trem, who will represent Uruguay-based Brazilian trainer Antonio Cintra. The winner of South America’s biggest race, the G1 Gran Premio Latinoamericano, in October, his trainer is confident that he has him spot on for Saturday.
“He’s ready,” he said. “His run in Saudi was amazing, to finish fifth, with a strong finish – it felt like we won! We just breezed him once since then and we hope he will run another big race.”
Adding further international flair to the line-up are last year’s second and third, Chuwa Wizard, from Japan for trainer Ryuji Okubo, and Magny Cours, trained in France by Andre Fabre. Three represent home nation the UAE, including Real World, who will aim to win trainer Saeed Bin Suroor a remarkable tenth World Cup, Hypothetical, for trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer, and Remorse, for Bhupat Seemar.
Hypothetical, winner of the main local prep, G1 Maktoum Challenge Round 3, has drawn wide in 10, which his trainer feels is far from ideal.
“We would rather have drawn inside, but what can you do? That’s racing,” said the Emirati. “I’m so happy with Hypothetical. He’s always been a good horse for us, he was fourth in the race last year and I know he will run a good race.”
Multiple Group 1-winning trainer William Haggas, second in the 2014 World Cup with Mukhadram, completes the line-up with Grocer Jack, a Group 3 winner in Germany who will race on dirt for the first time here.
The Dubai World Cup is the final race on the card, with a scheduled post time of 8:30pm UAE.
Dubai Racing Club Press Release
Photo: Life Is Good (Dubai Racing Club Photo)