03/16/2014 3:43PM

Dubai World Cup has 16 likely starters

Tom Keyser
Magician (left), winner of the Breeders' Cup Turf last fall, heads a prospective field of 16 for the $5 million Sheema Classic on March 29.

The Dubai Racing Club on Sunday released likely fields for the eight Thoroughbred races on the March 29 Dubai World Cup program, and though North American participation is sorely lacking this year, the list of prospective starters is star-studded, and the races remarkably deep.

Sixteen runners are considered likely for the $10 million World Cup, though the 19th edition of the race will have no representatives from North America for the first time in its history. The list of likely runners, in alphabetical order, consists of African Story, Akeed Mofeed, Belshazzar, Hillstar, Hokko Tarumae, Hunter’s Light, Military Attack, Mukhadram, Prince Bishop, Red Cadeaux, Ron the Greek, Ruler of the World, Sanshaawes, Side Glance, The Fugue, and Vancouverite.

The $5 million Sheema Classic also has 16 likely runners, and is headed by Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician, Cirrus des Aigles, and Gentildonna. The Sheema Classic also will include one of the American runners, Twilight Eclipse.

Only 10 horses are considered probable starters in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free, with BC Filly and Mare Turf winner Dank and the unbeaten South African colt Vercingetorix topping that group. Twelve are likely for the Golden Shaheen at six furlongs on the Tapeta main track at Meydan and for the Al Quoz Sprint, a five-furlong turf dash. Shea Shea, the 2013 Al Quoz winner, heads the field again this year, and the race also includes the other U.S. shipper, Bertolino di Tiger.

A field of 14, with South Africans Variety Club and Soft Falling Rain atop the list, could run in the Godolphin Mile, and 15 3-year-olds are considered likely starters in the UAE Derby, a race that should have Long John and Giovanni Boldini as the favorites. Finally, there are 14 horses on the list of prospective entrants for the Dubai Gold Cup, a turf marathon race.

Entries for all eight races are due Monday, March 24, with fields for all but the World Cup, the Duty Free, and the Sheema Classic to be set the same day. Post position will be assigned and final fields announced Wednesday, March 26 for the three richest races on a card offering $27 million in purses.