02/04/2014 2:03PM

Meydan: Trio of Group 1 winners prep for Dubai World Cup


The Group 1 winners Dunaden, Heavy Metal, and Hunter’s Light are three of the 16 runners in Thursday’s $250,000 Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, a prep for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 29.

Hunter’s Light, one of three runners in the field owned by the Maktoum family’s Godolphin Racing, won Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge in 2013 and was later seventh in the Dubai World Cup. Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge is run over 1 3/16 miles on the Tapeta Footings synthetic track. The Dubai World Cup is run over 1 1/4 miles.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Hunter’s Light was 10th in the Arlington Million at Arlington Park last August. In his only subsequent start, Hunter’s Light was fourth in the Group 1 British Champions Stakes at Ascot last October.

The well-traveled Dunaden is best known for winning the 2011 Melbourne Cup in Australia. Dunaden, an 8-year-old trained by Mikel Delzangles, had a busy fall campaign last year, finishing 11th in the Melbourne Cup, fifth in the Japan Cup in Tokyo, and third in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong.

Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge will be the first start of 2014 for Dunaden.

Heavy Metal won the Group 1 Durban July Stakes in South Africa last July, but was 10th in the Al Fahidi Fort Stakes at Meydan on Jan. 23 in his first start in the United Arab Emirates.

The race also includes Godolphin’s runner Artigiano, who was sixth in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, and African Story, winner of the 2012 Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup program.

Artigiano did not race in 2013 after testing positive for steroids in out-of-competition testing in England. In his only start this year, Artigiano was third in the minor Singspiel Stakes at Meydan on Jan. 9.

◗ Thursday’s seven-race Meydan program includes the $250,000 UAE Oaks for 3-year-old fillies over a mile on the synthetic track. Ihtimal, third in the Group 1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last September, leads a field of 10.