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Dubai World Cup `dress rehearsal` enfolds on Super Thursday

Emirates Airline, the official sponsors of the 2011 Dubai International Racing Carnival join Meydan for Super Thursday, with each race mirroring the conditions of a feature race on Dubai World Cup night, Saturday March 26th.

The Dubai based airline also sponsor the US $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world`s richest horse race, and then continuing contribution has been rewarded with an impressive roster of talent for the eight race card.

Featured is the Thoroughbred Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round III, the prep race for the Dubai World Cup held over 2000m on the All-Weather course. Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has won the race a phenomenal eight times for Godolphin, including three subsequent winners of the Dubai World Cup highlighted by the legendary Dubai Millennium in 2000.

This year he saddles Prince Bishop making his local debut and first start for the yard after some good runs in France last year. Bin Suroor said: "As you would expect it is a good race but he has been pleasing us at home. He has not raced on [the All-Weather] but works well on it."

Fellow Godolphin trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni is triple handed with stable jockey Ahmed Ajtebi on Etched and William Buick is reunited with Debussy on whom he won the Group One Arlington Million for the horse`s previous trainer, John Gosden, last year. Mickael Barzalona completes the trio with Eavesdropper.

Twice Over has won the Group One Champion Stakes at Newmarket in each of the last two seasons for trainer Henry Cecil but was a well beaten tenth in the 2010 Dubai World Cup.

However, his trainer, who is staying in England, is hopeful of a good show this evening and said: "The draw is poor but we feel he is in better shape than he was last year when we did not give him a prep race. Given that the first three home in the World Cup had been in Dubai all year we have decided to come earlier this time. He should improve for the run but the race will give us a better idea."

Gitano Hernando (sixth) and Richard`s Kid (seventh) were both in front of Twice Over in the 2010 Dubai World Cup and re-oppose.

South African Mike de Kock has saddled the winner of the race on two occasions and has 2010 UAE Derby winner Musir and Irish Flame to represent him this time.

He said: "Musir should relish this step up in trip having run over 1600m last time and we need to try Irish Flame on the [All-Weather] so this is an ideal opportunity to do so."

Three winners from last year`s Super Thursday card are back to defend their crowns. Heading the group is No Risk Al Maury, owned by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and should prove hard to beat again in the Group 1 Maktoum Challenge III. The only Purebred Arabian race on the card, it opens proceedings and is also over 2000m on the All-Weather.

Cat Junior won the Group Three Burj Nahaar (1600m All-Weather) last year for Brian Meehan and will be making his second start for new connections this time but it is Presvis, winner of last year`s Group Two Jebel Hatta, who has been attracting all the attention since a very impressive winning return in the Group Two Al Rashidiya.

That race, like this, is over 1800m on Turf, the same course and distance as the Group One Dubai Duty Free on Dubai World Cup night, a race Presvis was second in at Nad Al Sheba in 2009. His trainer Luca Cumani said: "That was a very pleasing comeback and he remains in good form. He should go well."

Last year`s Dubai Duty Free was won by Al Shemali for UAE Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe. He looks a big danger on his return to Turf, as does bin Suroor`s Group One winner Poet`s Voice.

The 2400m Group Two Dubai City of Gold is also on turf and Al Zarooni will saddle three of the ten runners. Ahmed Ajtebi will partner Simon De Montfort, a winner on his debut for the yard in a 2000m grass handicap in January.

Stable companion Calvados Blues was a winner a fortnight ago and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, while the yard`s third runner, 2010 Royal Ascot winner Monterosso, was considered good enough to contest the Irish Derby last year when he was an excellent fourth on The Curragh.

It would be no surprise to see the stablemates dominate proceedings.