Twice Over will have to defy an unfavourable draw if he is to lift the $10 million Emirates Airline Dubai World Cup at Meydan on Saturday night.
The Henry Cecil-trained six-year-old was only 10th from stall 11 last year, and fared even worse with his gate position this time in 12 of the 14 runners.
He did, however, overcome stall 13 when impressively landing round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge over course and distance earlier this month.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “He’s going to need to be lucky again, but he was drawn wide in the Maktoum Challenge so hopefully it is a good omen.
“I wouldn’t have chosen it, but there are two things in racing that you can’t affect - one is the draw and the other is the going.”
Aidan O’Brien’s Cape Blanco, runaway winner of the Irish Champion Stakes when he had Twice Over well beaten in third, fared much better with stall four.
He will be ridden for the first time by Jamie Spencer, who said: “I’d have been happy for anything between two and nine, we got four so that means all the options are open.”
Gitano Hernando will break from eight for Marco Botti, who said: “That’s the perfect spot, I wanted to be drawn in the middle because last year we got boxed in.”
American challenger Gio Ponti, fourth 12 months ago and second to Goldikova at the Breeders’ Cup, will race from five.
“Last year a chapter was written in history. This year Dubai World Cup attracted more than 1,800 entries including some of the best thoroughbreds and Arabians from the Middle East, north and south America, Australia and Asia. Out of the 112 runners this year 73 will be representing 56 international trainers from 13 countries. This firmly establishes Dubai World Cup as one of the most international meetings in the world,” said chairman of the Dubai World Cup Saeed Al Tayer.
“We are able to bring Dubai World Cup because of the support and generosity of our valued partners many of whom have been a part of this beautiful journey since the very beginning notably Emirates airline, title sponsor since 1996,” he added.
“It is an honour to be here to celebrate 16 years of title sponsorship. Emirates has enjoyed watching Dubai World Cup grow over the years and we are both now truly global. As a sponsor, Emirates has a long history of supporting horse racing. In addition to Dubai World Cup, we also sponsor meets in Australia, Singapore, the UK and America,” said Ahmed Khoory, senior vice-president, commercial operations of GCC, Middle East and Iran of Emirates airline.
“Emirates is committed to support the development of Dubai. So it is very important for us to partner wtih events like Dubai World Cup. Both Emirates and Dubai World Cup strive to promote Dubai as a premium sporting, business and tourism destination. Last year we celebrated launch of Meydan. This year we are joined once again to celebrate another successful Dubai World Cup,” he added.
Godolphin horses received pleasing stalls in the three races drawn live on Wednesday.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was content to draw stall 10 for Godolphin favourite Poet’s Voice ridden by two-time Dubai World Cup winner Frankie Dettori.
“Poet’s Voice shows plenty of speed and draw number 10 will be no problem for him. He can take a good position early in the race as he has always shown plenty of speed,” he said.
“He is ready to run after performing well first time out this year, he won a Group One last year and is more relaxed. I am looking for a good run from him.”
Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, talking about Prince Bishop who will break from three said: “Prince Bishop is a progressive horse and we have been really pleased with him. He has improved for his first effort of the year and we are hoping that Ahmed Ajtebi can be the miracle man on Saturday night. We are pleased enough with stall three.”
The third Godolphin runner in the Dubai World Cup Monterosso got stall two and his trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni commented: “I am very happy with the draw. He’s a really fast horse and has both stamina and speed so I think he can take a good position.”