World Cup horses start to arrive in Dubai

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French jockey Mikael Barzalona (R) celebrates after leading Monterosso to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Meydan race track in the Gulf emirate on March 31, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

French jockey Mikael Barzalona (R) celebrates after leading Monterosso to win the Dubai World Cup horse race at the Meydan race track in the Gulf emirate on March 31, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)

Horses from 21 countries, including 26 international Group 1 winners, have been accepted for the Dubai World Cup Carnival which gets underway on January 10 at Meydan Racecourse.

The first flights, carrying more than 60 horses, touched down from Europe and Singapore during the Christmas week and a further 70 horses are due to arrive in the first week of January.

The list of equine stars features high-profile racehorses including India's highly-regarded filly, In The Spotlight, who claimed an Indian Classic at every racing centre in the country including Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune, before travelling to Dubai.

In The Spotlight is slated to have her first Dubai World Carnival start in a handicap on January 17.

The Dubai World Cup Carnival culminates with the March 30 Dubai World Cup, the richest day of racing in the world, which carries $27.25m in prize purses.

In total the Dubai World Cup Carnival and Dubai World Cup day are worth $37.36m in prize money.

"The start of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is fast approaching and excitement is building as more and more contenders arrive at Meydan Racecourse ahead of the January 10 start date," said Martin Talty, Dubai Racing Club's international manager.

"One of the most pleasing aspects so far is not only the numbers and the truly global reach of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but also the quality of horses, which continue to improve year on year.

"While many trainers specifically target particular races in the Dubai World Cup Carnival, it is also fascinating to watch progressive horses that improve so much during the ten meetings that they ultimately earn a place in a race on Dubai World Cup day."

Next year's Dubai World Cup Carnival also sees Pearl Bloodstock, the owners of 2012 Caulfield Cup winner and 2011 Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase victor, Dunaden, cheering on their first Dubai runners. Side Glance, Dubawi Sound and King Air have all been accepted to the three-month long festival of racing.

Monterosso, the mount of Mickael Barzalona, won the $10m Dubai World Cup in March.

In a 1-2 finish for the Godolphin operation of Sheikh Mohammed, Capponi took second place three lengths away under jockey Ahmed Ajtebi in the sport's richest race.

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