1. Gunnevera (Antonio Sano, USA/Emisael Jaramillo)
High-class performer who was eighth to Thunder Snow in this race in 2018 prior to winning optional claimer at Gulfstream (by 6½ lengths from Leitone). Best effort when length second of 14 to Accelerate in Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs final start last year. Below-form sixth to City of Light in Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream last time. Usually races nearer last than first. Tongue-tie and visor combination for the first time.
2. Capezzano (S. bin Ghadayer, UAE/Mickael Barzalona)
Much improved in hood here this year, winning handicaps (twice, by 14 lengths from Thegreatcollection second occasion) in January. Completed hat-trick in 10-runner Maktoum Challenge Round 3 there last time by 9½ lengths from Thunder Snow, driven clear straight. Usually races close up, so well drawn to take some pegging back from the front once more.
3. North America (S. Seemar, UAE/Richard Mullen)
Big, strong, high-class performer who won Maktoum Challenge Round 1 (by 9 lengths from Kimbear) in January. Followed up in 6-runner Maktoum Challenge Round 2 last time by 2¼ lengths from New Trails, making all. Sometimes slowly away, which won’t help with some quick horses around him, but respected nonetheless and big chance on pick of form.
4. Audible (Todd A. Pletcher, USA/Flavien Prat)
Won three times in 2018, namely Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream, and non-graded event at Churchill Downs, also good third (2½ lengths behind Justify) in Kentucky Derby at latter course. Below form when 12¼ lengths fifth of 12 to City of Light in Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream last time, though, and plenty to prove now.
5. Seeking The Soul (Dallas Stewart, USA/Mike E. Smith)
Won Grade 3 Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs (by 1¼ lengths from Nice Not Nice) in 2018 and career-best effort when 2¾ lengths second to City of Light in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at same course next start. Creditable 5¾ lengths second of 12 to same rival in Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream last time, but plenty of work for this hold-up performer to do in order to gain a first (non-handicap) top-level win here.
6. Pavel (Doug F. O’Neill, USA/Joel Rosario)
Very smart performer who was at least as good as ever when winning Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs (by 3¾ lengths from Honorable Duty) in 2018. Below form last two starts, though, including in Grade 2 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita last time. Looks up against it here.
7. Gronkowski (S. bin Ghadayer, UAE/Oisin Murphy)
Successful in 2018 in minor events at Newcastle and Kempton, and listed race at Newcastle. Left Jeremy Noseda before very good 1¾ lengths second to Justify in Belmont Stakes next time. Below form after, though, for all he probably needed the run when 12¼ lengths fifth of 10 to Capezzano in Maktoum Challenge Round 3 last time on first start since leaving Chad Brown. Tough task.
8. Axelrod (S. bin Ghadayer, UAE/Royston Ffrench)
Very smart performer who won Grade 3 Indiana Derby at Indiana Grand and Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx in 2018, as well as good second in Pennsylvania Derby at Parx (1¾ lengths behind McKinzie) after. Well held in Burj Nahaar last time on first start since leaving Michael W. McCarthy and place claims the best he can hope for here.
9. New Trails (A. bin Harmash, UAE/Connor Beasle)
Won handicap here (by 10½ lengths from Tried And True) in January and improved again when second in Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (2¼ lengths behind North America) in February. Below form when 11 lengths fourth of 10 to Capezzano in Maktoum Challenge Round 3 last time, and needs to bounce back in style to topple the big guns here.
10. Yoshida (William I. Mott, USA/Jose L. Ortiz)
High-class dirt performer who won Turf Classic Stakes at Churchill Downs and Woodward Stakes at Saratoga (by 2 lengths from Gunnevera) in 2018. Good 1¾ lengths fourth of 14 to Accelerate in Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs final four-year-old start, coming from a long way back. Below form when 6½ lengths sixth of 10 to Bricks And Mortar in Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream last time but this race likely to have been the plan for a while and forecast strong pace will suit.
11. K T Brave (Haruki Sugiyama, Japan/Joao Moreira)
Very smart Japanese performer who was successful in 2018 in Kawasaki Kinen, local Group 2 races at Funabashi (twice) and JBC Classic at Kyoto (by ¾ length from Omega Perfume). Creditable 2½ lengths second of 11 to Mitsuba in first-named race on reappearance in January. Form leaves him with a mountain to climb, though.
12. Thunder Snow (Saeed bin Suroor/Christophe Soumillon)
Defending champion who also won Maktoum Challenge Round 2 last season. At least creditable efforts last two starts, in Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont (neck second to Discreet Lover) and Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs (1¾ lengths third to Accelerate). Shaped in need of the run after four months off when 9½ lengths second of 10 to Capezzano in Maktoum Challenge Round 3 last time. Sure to be primed to perfection here, though this arguably a deeper race than 12 months ago.
13. Dolkong (Simon Foster, South Korea/Olivier Doleuze)
Won handicap at Seoul in 2018 and much improved when also winning 9-runner handicap here by 9½ lengths from Etijaah. Respectable 9¾ lengths third of 10 to Capezzano in Maktoum Challenge Round 3 last time leaves him with plenty of work to do with that rival (at least).
Source:: Betfair Dubai Horse Racing