Indian star In the Spotlight among Dubai Carnival runners
Horses from 21 countries, including 26 International Group 1 winners, have been accepted for the Dubai World Cup Carnival which gets underway on January 10 at Meydan Racecourse.
The first flights, bearing more than 60 horses, touched down from Europe and Singapore during the Christmas week and a further 70 horses are due to arrive in the first week of January.
The list of equine stars features high-profile racehorses including India's highly-regarded filly, In the Spotlight, who claimed an Indian classic at every racing center in the country including Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune, before traveling to Dubai.
Conditioned by S. Padmanabhan, In the Spotlight is slated to have her first Dubai World Carnival start in a handicap on January 17, when she will race for the first time on a left-handed course as well as against truly international competition.
Back for a second season is Singapore-based trainer Steven Burridge, who enjoyed great success on his debut season in Dubai in 2012. Burridge, who claimed four winners from 11 runs, is set to saddle four horses this season, including Benji's Empire, Devil's Cut, Freezemaster and Tiger Stripes.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival culminates with the March 30 Dubai World Cup, the richest day of racing in the world, which carries $27.25 million in prize purses. In total the Dubai World Cup Carnival and Dubai World Cup day are worth $37.36 million in prize money.
"The start of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is fast approaching and excitement is building as more and more contenders arrive at Meydan Racecourse ahead of the January 10 start date," said Martin Talty, international manager of the Dubai Racing Club. "One of the most pleasing aspects so far is not only the numbers and the truly global reach of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but also the quality of horses, which continue to improve year on year.
"While many trainers specifically target particular races in the Dubai World Cup Carnival, it is also fascinating to watch progressive horses that improve so much during the 10 meetings that they ultimately earn a place in a race on Dubai World Cup day."
Last year Krypton Factor won the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup day after progressing through the highly-regarded Dubai World Cup Carnival sprint races. The Fawzi Nass charge is set to defend his crown this season with his first start likely to be in the February 14 Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint.
The Dubai World Cup Carnival also sees Pearl Bloodstock, the owners of 2012 Group 1 Caulfield Cup winner and 2011 Group 1 Melbourne Cup and Group 1 Hong Kong Vase victor, Dunaden, cheering on their first Dubai runners. Side Glance, Dubawi Sound and King Air have all been accepted to the three-month long festival of racing.
Pat Shanahan, a familiar face at the Dubai World Cup Carnival as a jockey, returns to try his hand from the ground as trainer with Chicago, My Special J's and Colliding Worlds all accepted.
Another rider-turned-trainer, Jessica Harrington, a former eventer who achieved a third at the world-renowned Badminton Horse Trails, saddles her first Dubai runner, Bob Le Beau.
To see the list of accepted horses for the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival, please click here (note that is a working database which is subject to change).