03/04/2014 2:58PM

Meydan: De Kock looks for big day Saturday in Dubai World Cup preps


Huge fields – if not horses especially well known in North America – abound on the so-called Super Saturday card March 8 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The eight-race card, drawn Tuesday, includes preps for all the major races on the March 29 Dubai World Cup program and is headlined by the Group 1, $400,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, the final local stepping-stone to the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

The Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3, contested at about 1 1/4 miles on Meydan’s Tapeta main track, rematches the top three finishers from the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2: Prince Bishop, African Story, and Zambucca. Also in the 14-horse field are Side Glance, who was seventh in the 2013 Dubai World Cup, and world traveler Joshua Tree, who last raced at Meydan in 2012.

Undefeated South African import Vercingetorix heads a field of 14 entered in the Group 1, $300,000 Jebel Hatta, a prep for the Dubai Duty Free, and could be part of a big night for trainer Mike de Kock. De Kock has three other runners in the Jebel Hatta as well as prominent former South Africans for the Mahab Al Shimaal (Soft Falling Rain), a prep for the Golden Shaheen, and the Meydan Sprint (Shea Shea), a prep for the Al Quoz Sprint.

Variety Club, a South African champion trained by Joey Ramsden, is the deserving favorite in the Burj Nahaar, the local prep for the Godolphin Mile.

Post time for the first of the card’s Thoroughbred races is 9:10 a.m. Eastern.