Dubai Turf and Saudi Cup winner Panthalassa is among a top-class group of horses who have arrived in Dubai ahead of the Dubai World Cup meeting on March 25.
The Yoshito Yahagi-trained Panthalassa became the third-highest earning Japanese-trained horse of all time after his victory in Riyadh, which was gained in front-running style from Country Grammer. The reigning Dubai World Cup winner also flew in from Saudi Arabia on Tuesday and he will attempt to become only the second dual winner of the $12million race. Panthalassa has been nominated for the Dubai World Cup and the Dubai Turf, with trainer Yoshito Yahagi expected to announce a decision closer to race day.
Country Grammer was joined on the short flight by the Steve Asmussen-trained Gunite, who is nominated for the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen. Winner of the G2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga last summer, the four-year-old finished second to Breeders’ Cup winner Elite Power in the Riyadh Dirt Sprint on Sunday.
Third in the Riyadh Sprint was four-year-old Remake who has also travelled on to the UAE where he will take his chance in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, as will Justin, who has visited Dubai before, finishing eleventh in the 2021 Shaheen.
In total, 13 Japanese-trained horses made the onward journey to Dubai from Saudi. They include Bathrat Leon (pictured), winner of the 2022 G2 Godolphin Mile, who landed the 1351 Turf Sprint in Riyadh but is now likely to switch back to dirt for a defense of his title.
Vin De Garde, placed in the last two editions of the Dubai Turf for trainer Hideaki Fujiwara, is also back for another attempt, while Lauda Sion will attempt to better his ninth in last year’s G1 Al Quoz Sprint.
Crown Pride, winner of the 2022 G2 UAE Derby over this track, will form part of a strong Japanese challenge in the Dubai World Cup, in which he will be joined by G1 February Stakes winner Café Pharoah, who finished third in the Saudi Cup. Geoglyph, fourth in Saudi, is another nominated for the big race, as is Jun Light Bolt, seventh.
The Japanese will have a strong hand in the G2 UAE Derby with Derma Sotogake, third in the Saudi Derby over a mile, having travelled onto Dubai, as has Continuar, who finished fifth.
The recently landed team is completed by the Hideyuki Mori-trained Echt, seventh in the Red Sea Turf Handicap, who is likely to head to the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup.
“It was gratifying to see our 2022 Dubai World Cup winners do so well in Saudi, with Panthalassa and Bathrat Leon winning and Country Grammer running an honorable second,” said Stephanie Cooley, International Manager for Dubai Racing Club.
“We are delighted that so many top class horses have travelled on from Saudi and they will now have plenty of settling in time ahead of the big day. The Japanese look likely to have their strongest Dubai World Cup team ever, with several more arriving over the next few weeks.”
The Japanese team on the big night will be bolstered by G1 Arima Kinen winner Equinox, the highest-rated three-year-old in training in 2022, who runs in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic along with defending champion Shahryar, while Serifos and Do Deuce have accepted invitations to the G1 Dubai Turf. Japan Cup winner Vela Azul will switch to dirt for the World Cup, where he will be joined by Ushba Tesoro and T O Keynes, all of whom will fly straight to Dubai from Japan.
Earlier this week there was another early arrival when Grade 1 winner Shirl’s Speight, trained by Roger Attfield, settled into International Stables ahead of his run in the G1 Dubai Turf.
News Source: Khaleej Times