Dubai World Cup: Arrogate the star attraction at Meydan

Dubai World Cup: Arrogate the star attraction at Meydan

Arrogate is unbeaten since finishing third on his debut over an inadequate six furlongs

Bob Baffert believes the key attribute Arrogate has over his Dubai World Cup rivals is how much ground he covers with his stride.

The Khalid Abdullah-owned four-year-old has not even been racing for a full year, yet has already won the Travers Stakes, the Breeders' Cup Classic and the inaugural Pegasus World Cup.

Baffert, who has trained such American greats as Triple Crown hero American Pharoah and previous winners of this race Captain Steve and Silver Charm, believes he has never had a horse with such a raking stride as Arrogate.

The decision to go to Dubai was a relatively late one, but Baffert admits it had been in the back of his mind all along.

He said: "I had to really wait for the horse to sort of tip us off, and it was sort of a gutsy decision to bring him here.

"I thought if I run him here and he's doing well then I can freshen him up for the fall racing, so he will definitely get a deserved vacation after this.

"It was probably about three weeks ago (that we decided to run). I was sort of aiming for it if he was showing me something, then he worked a really strong seven-eighths – he looked fantastic – so I thought we'll take him over there and maybe I'll scare someone off and there'll only be eight or 10 horses.

"I think the minute I said, 'Yes', everybody joined in.

"He's got an incredible stride – it's probably as long as I've ever seen, but he's quick. He can quicken and he's just a long-striding horse and can get to another horse really quick.

"In the $12m race (Pegasus), it was down the back side, Mike Smith actually moved a little early because California Chrome had him pinned in and then he saw Victor (Espinoza on California Chrome) was really wanting to go, but Chrome was taking two strides to his one.

"When he (Smith) asked him he said he just caught those speed horses easily and went by them. Then he came down the straight – he just has this ridiculous set of lungs, he doesn't get tired.

"When you have a horse of that calibre, you love seeing him but at the same time you are in charge of this valuable specimen. We know what he can do so I just don't get caught up in all the stuff, we just stayed focused with him and train him.

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"Once you have a great one like that, you just want to maintain him and keep him happy."

He added: "I'm fine with the draw (nine), I always leave it up to Mike. I didn't want to be 14 or on the inside. He'll play the break, see how he jumps out of there and how much horse he has under him.

"When they expect you to win it's tough, it's added pressure – you are the target. Sometimes it's more fun to win when you sneak up, like we did against California Chrome in the Breeders' Cup.

"You're just relieved when they win, that everything went well. He's the best horse in the world so people are going to come and expect a big effort. But I'd rather come in here with a heavy favourite than a horse who is 20-1.

"I just don't want to let the horse down."

Baffert also runs Hoppertunity.

Mike de Kock, who, despite all his winners at Meydan has never claimed the World Cup, is back again with Mubtaahij.

Runner-up to California Chrome last year, he was campaigned in America thereafter and while he failed to win, he ran several good races.

De Kock said: "He ran a blinder last year. It was a perfect trip and a cracking ride as he was probably third or fourth best but finished second.

"I wish we could find a weak Group One but they don't exist. Sadly, he's a length or two off those really top horses.

"He has to have everything go his way to win a race of Group One nature.

"It's going to be tough, we'll ride him for luck and if he's in the first four we'll be happy."

Saeed bin Suroor is the most successful trainer in the history of the race with seven winners, most recently Prince Bishop in 2015. He is represented by Move Up.

"Move Up did well on turf last season, winning a Group Two in Turkey and a Group Three at Ascot," said the trainer.

"He needed the run in round three of the Maktoum Challenge and has improved for the race.

"He worked very well on Sunday and I am happy with him. He is coming up against the best horse in the world, but we wanted to give him a chance in a race like this and we will see how he gets on."

Ryan Moore partners Japanese challenger and big outsider Lani.

He told Betfair: "Arrogate was 2-5 in a place earlier in the week and, if he still is, then that's a good price.

"The Breeders' Cup Classic winner has 16lb in hand of this field and will go round on the bridle here if in that kind of form.

"Outside of him this looks a pretty modest race for the money – Gun Runner and Awardee are the next highest-rated horses on 118 – so hopefully my mount Lani can get into the places."

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