The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Dubai World Cup to go ahead despite the war

Dubai (Agencies): The US$ 6 million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest horse race, will go ahead on Saturday at the Nad-al-Sheba racecourse as planned, according to the organisers, despite the US-led war on nearby Iraq.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, in the meanwhile, expressed happiness with Harlan's Holiday after arriving in Dubai on Thursday following a long trip from the United States. He wasted no time in getting to Nad al Sheba racecourse to check on his first-ever Dubai World Cup starter. To his satisfaction he also found the four-year-old son of Harlan's healthy and apparently ready for Saturday's big race.

Pletcher also took a turn on the stage with commentator Chris Lincoln as one of the luminaries in a special “Breakfast with the Stars” program for fans, media, owners, trainers, and jockeys during morning trackwork. ”Anytime you come in for a race of this magnitude, there's a lot of excitement,” Pletcher said, “It's very difficult whenever you have to travel as far as you have to travel to come here but (Harlan's Holiday) seems to have handled that well. He's fit and we're just trying to keep him happy.”

Despite the conflict in the Middle East, Pletcher said he was not worried about traveling to Dubai, particularly after talking to his friend and colleague, Kiaran McLaughlin, who is based in Dubai for about five months every year and told him there was no reason to be apprehensive.

The facilities at Nad al Sheba are impressive, Pletcher said, adding that he was still trying to take them all in while groggy from his long flight and the difference in time. Dubai is nine hours ahead of the time in Florida, where Pletcher is currently based at Gulfstream Park.

Although Pletcher singled out Godolphin's Moon Ballad and Grandera as well as Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum's Nayef, the World Cup favourite, as tough contenders in the World Cup, he predicted that Harlan's Holiday will enjoy an advantage of being a “true dirt horse.” Competing solely in the U.S., Harlan's Holiday has raced only on dirt, winning three Grade 1 events — the 2002 Florida Derby, Blue Grass Stakes and February's Donn Handicap.

Email This Page