Mishriff, last month's Saudi Cup winner, will run in the Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night
Mishriff, last month's Saudi Cup winner, will run in the Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News
Race 8
Dubai Sheema Classic sponsored by Longines (Group 1)
10 runners

Dubai: Saudi Cup hero Mishriff might be the most talked about horse on this year’s Dubai World Cup night card, but connections of Channel Maker, who he will oppose in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, laid down the gauntlet on the eve of the race.

John Gosden’s Mishriff has hogged the attention since his famous Saudi Cup triumph on dirt under David Egan and though he reverts back to turf for the Sheema Classic, he remains the one to beat alongside Chrono Genesis, trained by Takashi Saito, and Adrian O’Brien’s G1 Hong Kong Vase champion Mogul.

Winner of the 2020 G1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly in July, Mishriff was second in the Saudi Derby last year, but turned up a different horse when nicking a lion’s share of the $20 million purse of the Saudi Cup.

However, connections of Channel Maker, winner of back-to-back G1s in the form of the Sword Dancer Stakes at Saratoga and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes at Belmont Park, say they will not sit back and let themselves be bullied in the 2,410m turf affair.

Bill Mott, winner of the inaugural running of the Dubai World Cup in 1996, trains the English Channel gelding. Mott’s assistant Neil Poznansky is overseeing affairs in Dubai and when asked what would need to be done to take on Mishriff, Poznansky joked: “He’s gonna have to take us on. we‘re gonna run our race and if he’s gonna try and beat us, he’ll have to run. He galloped a mile and a half on the main track and we stood him in the gate. He looked good and he just needs to run.”

Thady Gosden, who holds a joint training licence with his father John, is taking care of Mishriff during his swing to the Gulf and reported all to be well with the four-year-old Make Believe colt.

“David was very happy with him this morning. He won the French Derby over 2,100m so hopefully the extra 300m won’t be a problem,” Thady said. “He relaxes well in a race, even though he has a lot of natural speed. He’s matured well and gone the right way.”

Fawzi Nass’ Simsir appears to have lost the form that saw him win the Bahrain International Trophy (2,000m Conditions) in November, while Godolphin have a strong representation with Walton Street ahead of Star Safari from Charlie Appleby’s pair and Saeed Bin Surour making his bid with Dubai Future.

Three-time G1 winner in Japan, Takashi Saito’s high-class mare Chrono Genesis could gain from the fact she gets weight from everyone else involved. Her work rate in Dubai has been great according to work rider Yasunaga Wada, who said: “She is fit and ready.”

GN Selections

1. Chrono Genesis
2. Mishriff
3. Channel Maker