03/24/2014 3:10PM

Dubai World Cup: Full field of 16 expected

Barbara D. Livingston
Ron the Greek, the winner of last year's Jockey Club Gold Cup, will run in Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup.

Final declarations for the eight Thoroughbred races on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup card were released Monday, and the $10 million World Cup is on track to go with a full field of 16 runners.

Post positions were drawn Monday for the three non-Group 1 races on the card, but the final fields with post positions won’t be revealed for the card’s four Group 1 races, including the World Cup, until Wednesday.

The World Cup, contested over about 1 1/4 miles on the Tapeta main track at Meydan, will go without a U.S.-based runner for the first time in the race’s 19-year history, though Ron the Greek spent most of his career on American soil. Purchased privately by Saudi interests last fall, Ron the Greek now is trained by Nicholas Bachalard, and he was successful in his first run for the new connections, winning an allowance race as a World Cup prep Feb. 15 in Saudi Arabia.

Ron the Greek will be making just his second start on a synthetic surface when he runs in the World Cup, his only previous such race having produced a fourth-place finish over Keeneland’s Polytrack in an allowance race in April 2011.

The other horse in the race whose name will be most familiar to an American audience is Ruler of The World, the Aidan O’Brien-trained winner of the 2013 Epsom Derby. Ruler of The World lost four straight races following that mild upset and will be making his synthetic-surface debut Saturday.

Prince Bishop, who finished seventh in the 2012 World Cup and didn’t even contest the race in 2013, has been the leading local horse in the division, winning rounds 2 and 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge in his two most recent starts.

The other horses among the final declarations are African Story, Akeed Mofeed, Belshazzar, Cat O’Mountain, Hillstar, Hokko Tarumae, Military Attack, Mukhadram, Red Cadeaux, Sanshaawes, Side Glance, Surfer, and Vancouverite.

The Sheema Classic, at 1 1/2 miles on turf, has 15 horses among the final declarations, with Cirrus des Aigles, Gentildonna, and Magician the leading lights. Thirteen horses were declared for the Dubai Duty Free, which features a mouth-watering matchup between Dank, The Fugue, and the unbeaten South African horse Vercingetorix.