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Yes, the Americans are coming

Baffert-trained West Coast likely for next month’s Dubai World Cup

Gulf News

Dubai: By the look of things, we could be in for another cracker of a race in next month’s Dubai World Cup, with a strong American contingent reportedly being assembled for the 23rd running of the $10 million contest which takes place at Meydan on March 31.

Like in previous two years, when the brilliant California Chrome and Arrogate came to conquer, it looks like the Americans have once again trained their sights on Dubai’s most famous sporting event.

Three of the horses that finished behind Gun Runner in last months $16 million Pegasus Cup at Gulfstream Park, West Coast, Gunnevera and Collected are likely contenders, together with three-time Group 1 winner Unbridled Forever.

West Coast is the 2-1 ante-post favourite with leading British bookmakers, with Collected at 8-1 chance and Gunnevera at 14s.

Both West Coast and Collected are trained by three-time Dubai World Cup winning handler Bob Baffert, who is also targeting the 2000m dirt race with Hopportunity (25/1) and Mubtaahij (20/1).

The Dallas Stewart-trained Forever Unbridled is bidding to become the first female horse to win the great race.

There could be more American interest in the race with Stewart having mentioned, before the Pegasus Cup, that an overseas trip was possible for Seeking the Soul (33/1), who was a creditable fifth at Gulfstream Park.

“We’re not taking anything for granted,” Stewart said of Unbridled Forever.

“It’s a long trip over there, it’s a hard race to win. Given said that, she’s very good horse.

“She’s an accomplished horse that’s won over eight different racetracks so when you add a lot of those things up, you got to feel good about her.”

The local challenge could be headed by Godolphin’s Thunder Snow, winner of the second leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge, and a former UAE Derby victory.

Saeed Bin Surour’s trainee is available at odds of 10/1 with most oddsmakers.