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11 for Dubai World Cup

Dubai (Agencies): Richard Hills declared Nayef's barrier of seven for Saturday's US$6,000,000 Group I Dubai World Cup, sponsored by Emirates Airline, as "absolutely perfect" and believes the horse can give him his second win in the race in four years. There are 11 in the running for the world’s richest race.

Hills recorded a famous victory aboard Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Almutawakel in 1999, the horse that provided trainer Saeed bin Suroor with the first of his Dubai World Cups. Dubai Millennium in 2000 and Street Cry in 2002 followed. Hills was hoping for a draw somewhere near the middle of the 11 horse field and he got what he was after when Marcus Tregoning drew barrier seven.

Tregoning, himself, was pleased with the draw saying he primarily wanted to avoid the far outside for the five-year-old son of Gulch. Nayef also will be making his first start on dirt, but has been working well over the main track at Nad al Sheba. "He breaks well and he travels well," Tregoning said. Owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum and bred by his Shadwell Stud in Lexington, Kentucky, Nayef won last year's Dubai Sheema Classic over the 2,400m on the turf.

Jack Wolf, owner with his wife of the outstanding American raider Harlan's Holiday, was not complaining either despite the horse drawing barrier 10 of the 11 horse field. "I don't think it makes much difference," he said, "It's fine." Racing adviser Barry Berkelhammer agreed that Harlan's Holiday has enough tactical speed to get out of the gate early and establish a forward position however the advantage that he does have is that his likely partner in speed, Moon ballad, drew outside him in 11.

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor said he was not concerned about both his runners starting toward the outside. "I'm happy with my horses," he said. "And I'm not worried about the draw."

Suroor pointed to American-based contender Harlan's Holiday and multiple Group 1 winner Nayef as the key horses to beat in the field.


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