03/02/2017 4:56PM

No threats to Arrogate in World Cup prep

Email
Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club
Postponed, winner of the 2016 Sheema Classic, will make his 2017 debut in the Dubai City of Gold.

Arrogate might be taking a spin around the Santa Anita track or a nap in his stall Saturday morning when Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge is contested at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The Group 1, $400,000 dirt race at about 1 1/4 miles is the final local prep for the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 25, but it is highly unlikely that anything that happens in the Super Saturday feature will turn a hair on the World Cup favorite waiting across the world in California.

As Arrogate readies to ship to Dubai for the World Cup, eight horses will line up in Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. The best older dirt horse based in Dubai, Mubtaahij, is not among them, and the best-known horse in the race is the Japanese colt Lani.

Lani will break from post 8 under Ryan Moore, and to win even at this level, he will need to improve upon his form from last fall in Japan. The mercurial Lani won the UAE Derby on the World Cup undercard last year and ended his run through all three American Triple Crown races with a very decent third in the Belmont Stakes. But back after a break in October, he could only finish third in the listed Brazil Cup, and Lani’s two subsequent runs at higher levels were equally discouraging.

It’s possible that a colt who has acted studdish since he first came into the public eye is more suited to the life of a stallion than a racehorse at this point.

Second Summer might be the right horse for Round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. The American expatriate rallied from well back to finish second behind Furia Cruzada in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 over about 1 3/16 miles. Furia Cruzada is back in with a solid chance, but the additional half-furlong Saturday might favor Second Summer.

The best horse on the Super Saturday card clearly is Postponed, who makes his first start since finishing fifth Oct. 2 in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Saturday’s third race, the Group 2, $250,000 Dubai City of Gold. Fifth in the Arc is not a bad showing at all, but Postponed ran well below his best form in the race.

The winner of the $6 million Sheema Classic on the 2016 World Cup card, Postponed was Europe’s best 1 1/2-mile horse last year until going slightly off form later in the summer. He won the City of Gold by three lengths a year ago while prepping for the Sheema and, despite breaking from post 12, probably will win it again.

Four Godolphin runners, headed by Emotionless and Prize Money, take their shot against Postponed, who has help from his pacemaker, King Bolete.

While the French horse Zarak already had his local prep for the $6 million Dubai Turf, another European, Decorated Knight, will try to show that he belongs in that race when he makes his Dubai debut in the Group 1, $300,000 Jebel Hatta over about nine furlongs on turf.

Decorated Knight, trained by Roger Charlton, was scratched from the Arlington Million last summer after getting out of his stall and injuring himself in Arlington’s quarantine barn the night before the race. He returned to action with a good win at Leopardstown and prepped for this run in an all-weather race at Lingfield last month.

The Group 3, $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal, a prep for the $2 million Golden Shaheen, is filled with familiar names like Muarrab, Reynaldothewizard, Cool Cowboy, and Wild Dude. Dundonnell ships from Hong Kong to try his luck.

The Group 3, $200,000 Burj Nahaar is a prep for the $1 million Godolphin Mile, and barring an unexpectedly dominant performance, none among this group is likely to come out of the race looking like a real rival to American shipper Sharp Azteca. The $200,000 Nad al Sheba Turf Sprint is a prep for the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint, but the top local hope for that race, Ertijaal, is just waiting for the big night.

The card begins at 7 a.m. Eastern with the Al Bastakiya, the prep for the UAE Derby. The 12-horse field doesn’t include Thunder Snow, who is training up to the UAE Derby. The one to watch might be Fawree, who has made only two starts and won a one-mile dirt race when last seen Jan. 12.