Dubai Sheema Classic Preview Thursday March 24

Dubai, UAE, March 24, 2011 - With the defection of Snow Fairy this 2400m Group One turf feature really does look wide open and, even in her absence, the UK do appear to have a very strong challenge.

On form Laaheb has a lot to find but he is a first ever runner for trainer Roger Varian and racing does have a habit of providing fairytales. Varian has taken over the license from veteran training legend Michael Jarvis and what better way to start his career than with a Dubai World Cup night winner in front of a worldwide audience. However, he does need to improve markedly on what he has achieved thus far but he represents a family that has always progressed with their racing.

The remaining UK runners, are proven international performers and perhaps more serious contenders: Brian Meehan trains Dangerous Midge who won the Breeders` Cup Turf on his most recent outing. He won first time out last season so lack of a run this year is certainly not a concern.

Redwood completes the UK challenge and it was in Canada that he achieved his greatest moment thus far when winning the Canadian International at Woodbine. He was then third over the same course and distance before a good second in the Hong Kong Vase behind the Saeed bin Suroor-trained Mastery.

He is owned by Godolphin for whom Mahmoud Al Zarooni will saddle both Calvados Blues and Rewilding.

Al Zarooni won the Super Thursday prep race, the Dubai City of Gold, with Dubai World Cup hopeful Monterosso and Calvados Blues chased him home on that occasion. However, Rewilding may transpire to be their main hope having finished third in last year`s Epsom Derby.

He then won in Group Two company at York before disappointing in the St Leger when he probably did not stay. He looks the type to prosper at four and could go very close if repeating the level of form he showed at Epsom.

France have two representatives in the race and Marinous has the advantage of an outing this year when sixth to Monterosso on Super Thursday. He needs to have improved a lot for that outing to trouble most of these, while compatriot Chinchon was behind Redwood in a race won by Joshua Tree in Canada last year.

Dubai International Racing Carnival regular Deem makes her third Dubai World Cup night appearance for Saudi Arabia and trainer Jerry Barton will be hoping for a big effort. A winner at each of the last two Carnivals, she was an excellent second to Golden Sword last time (2000m on the All-Weather) and ran a big race in this contest last year when a close fourth, having finished seventh in 2009.

South African Mike de Kock won this in 2009 with Sun Classique and will be hoping that Irish Flame can improve on his three Carnival outings. He was a good fourth in the Group Two Al Rashidiya on his local debut but has not really built on that, albeit in the face of stiff tasks. The step up in trip is a definite plus but the likely fast ground is a definite concern.

With the Americans still seeking a first Dubai World Cup night winner on grass they will be hoping old adversaries Bourbon Bay and Champ Pegasus can rectify that statistic. They have beaten one another in their most recent starts and it is likely there will be little between them again. Whether that will be good enough against some of these has to be a serious doubt.

Hong Kong has a good recent record in this race and rely on the Sean Woods-trained King Dancer this year and he was only beaten a neck last month in Group One company. If there is to be a shock winner he could be the one.

Rulership represents Japan who have also done well in this race in the past and he has a Group Two win to his name this year. He was not far behind Dubai World Cup hopefuls Victoire Pisa and Buena Vista in the Arima Kinen last year and is another who should not be discounted.