03/26/2014 11:30AM

Dubai World Cup draw unkind to Ron the Greek

Barbara D. Livingston
Ron the Greek will have to overcome post 16 in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Two of the better-known entrants in a Dubai World Cup lacking big names drew bookend post positions when the five Group 1 races on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup card were drawn Wednesday.

American export Ron the Greek landed the outside post in a 16-horse field, while Prince Bishop, the leading money earner at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, breaks from post 1.

Animal Kingdom won the 2013 World Cup from post 12, but there is no way to sugarcoat the compromising position for Ron the Greek, who was purchased by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and sons last fall in great part to run in this race. Tasked with working out a trip will be jockey Jose Lezcano, who will be aboard the Florida-bred 7-year-old for the 16th time Saturday night.

[Dubai World Cup: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

Prince Bishop, who has hit peak form at age 7, won Rounds 2 and 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan in his two most recent starts, but his rail draw is not ideal, either. Rail-drawn horses fared well earlier this winter in races over Meydan’s Tapeta main tack but have won just 1 of the last 21 main-track races at the Carnival.

The two Hong Kong horses got favorable World Cup draws, with Akeed Mofeed in post 4 and Military Attack in 8. No Hong Kong-based horse has ever won the World Cup, but anything could happen in this wide-open edition of the $10 million race, and both Hong Kong runners are capable.

Ruler of The World, the 2013 Epsom Derby winner and the favorite in overseas World Cup betting, drew post 12, while Red Cadeaux, second to Animal Kingdom last year, breaks from post 14.

Cirrus des Aigles, the ageless 8-year-old French gelding, won the 2012 Sheema Classic but drew poorly for the race this year, landing the outside post in a 15-horse field. Other major players in a strong renewal of the $5 million, 1 1/2-mile turf race include Gentildonna (post 12) and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician (post 4). Twilight Eclipse, one of only two American runners on Saturday’s card, has post 11.

The $5 million Duty Free over about 1 1/8 miles on turf might be the race of the night, with a star-studded international cast of 13 assembled. The race includes Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Dank (post 10) as well as Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up The Fugue (post 4), but those two have no discernible edge on horses like the strong Japanese trio of Just A Way (post 2), Tokei Halo (post 5), and Logotype (post 12).

In the 13-horse Golden Shaheen at six furlongs on Tapeta, defending champion Reynaldothewizard drew post 5, but this is the most contentious race on the card. The Al Quoz Sprint might have the shortest-priced favorite of the night in Shea Shea, whose draw of post 12 for the straight-course turf sprint is ideal.

Post time for the first of eight Thoroughbred races Saturday is 9:10 a.m. Eastern. The World Cup is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Midweek rain in Dubai is forecast to give way to cool, clear weather, with Saturday’s high expected to be just 80 degrees.

◗ Sheikh Joaan al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing has purchased a 50 percent share in Ruler of The World. The colt will start in Sheikh Joaan’s colors when he runs Saturday in the World Cup, but Aidan O’Brien is to remain his trainer and Joseph O’Brien his jockey.

◗ The Dubai Racing Club announced Wednesday that the purses for the Sheema Classic and the Dubai Duty Free will be boosted from $5 million to $6 million in 2014.