2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival Acceptances Released

Meydan Group has released the list of horses accepted for the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, which gets underway at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday January 11, 2018. The list features 132 accepted horses with the intention to ship from 15 countries, including 14 Group 1 winners from many points of the globe. Several international stars are set to travel to Dubai this winter to compete for a share of the US$10,870,000 prize money across 10 race cards, 61 Thoroughbred races and 4 Group Purebred Arabian races held prior to the Dubai World Cup card on March 31, 2018.

One of the world’s top stayers, Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Vazirabad returns for the Carnival and will attempt to pull off an unprecedented hat trick in the Dubai Gold Cup (G1) after a likely return again in the 2810m Nad Al Sheba Trophy (G3) on March 1. The 6-year-old 13-time winner from 19 starts exits a season in which he won four from six starts and added a third top-level success. He headlines a quartet carrying the green and red of His Highness The Aga Khan that includes upstart filly stablemate and fellow stayer Canndera, as well as the lightly raced Michael Halford-trained stakes-winning duo of Rehana and Riyazan.

Brett Crawford-trained champion Whisky Baron spikes the class level with his presence, having won South Africa’s most prestigious event, The Sun Met (G1), to culminate a five-race winning streak last January. Additional influence from South Africa on the Carnival will, as often is the case, come from the always-adept yard of Mike de Kock. His top charges include 2017 South African Derby (G1) winner Al Sahem, Group I-winning warrior Sanshaawes and Group I-winning 2017 Zabeel Mile (G2) runner-up Noah From Goa.

Talismanic arguably tops the lot this year on the strength of his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) in November and good second to global superstar Highland Reel in the Hong Kong Cup (G1) in December. His Godolphin-owned and Andre Fabre-trained stablemate Cloth of Stars joins him on the roster after a season in which he won the Prix Ganay (G1) over 2017 Carnival winner Zarak and finished a game second in Europe’s premier fixture, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). Fabre also has highly regarded Group 3-winning turf miler Trais Fluors in the assemblage. The four-time winner from six starts was second to 2017 UAE Derby (G2) winner Thunder Snow two efforts back in the Prix Jean Prat (G1).

The burgeoning Newmarket-based yard of David Simcock holds a strong hand, including Grade I-winning ageless wonder Sheikhzayedroad, Coral-Eclipse (G1) third-place finisher Desert Encounter, two-time Celebration Mile (G2) winner Lightning Spear, multiple Group 1-placed Arod and the impeccably bred Listed winner Mr. Owen.

Australia will likely make its presence known, spearheaded by conditioner David Hayes early in the Carnival with the likes of multiple Group 2-winning sprinter Faatinah and Bjorn Baker’s highly rated Group I-winning speedster Music Magnate targeting the latter half, including a possible Super Saturday run. Said sprinters further highlight a global amalgam of talented newcomers and familiar faces, including classy Roger Varian trainees Connecticut and Barsanti, Singapore Gold Cup (G1-Local) winner Gilt Complex, Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (G2) winner Furia Cruzada and 2017 Godolphin Mile (G2) runner-up Ross.

Exciting returning trainers include Norway’s Niels Petersen, with 11 accepted horses under his tutelage, including Polar Cup (G3) winner Tinnitus and Marit Sveaas Minnelop (G3) winner Trouble of Course. England’s Clive Cox also resurfaces in Dubai with the likes of classy multiple Group-placed 4-year-old Khalidi and Group 2-winning sprinter Tis Marvellous.

Many other top international yards will be on display this Carnival, both familiar and new, including Richard Hannon, Andreas Woehler, Paul Midgley, Jamie Osbourne, David O’Meara, Marco Botti, Karl Burke, Charlie Fellowes and Richard Fahey.

Changes to the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival

The 1800m Singspiel Stakes is the first of three upgraded races, having gone from a Listed to Group 3 contest. The promotion of the Singspiel Stakes means that opening night of the 2018 Carnival program features two Group races, including the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (G2).

Sprinters on both surfaces get an upgrade, as the 1200m Dubawi Stakes (Jan. 18) on the main track moves up from Listed to Group 3 status and the Meydan Sprint (Feb. 22), the finale for the five-furlong campaign during the season, has been promoted from a Group 3 to Group 2.

In other changes, the Listed Meydan Classic (Mar. 1) for turf 3-year-olds sees an increase in distance from 1400m to 1600m.

Go to for the full list