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Series stars primed for mega-money showdowns in Dubai

30 Mar 2012

Tomorrow's Dubai World Cup night, with prize money of over £16m, has attracted a fantastic line-up of stars including seven winners and seven placed horses from the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Series in 2011.

So You Think, one of the stars of the 2011 QIPCO British Champions Series, will attempt to win the world’s richest race in Dubai tomorrow night. He is seen here defeating Workforce in the 2011 Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park. Image courtesy of

No less than seven winners from the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Series last year will line up tomorrow at Meydan on Dubai World Cup night, the world’s richest raceday.

They are headed by three middle distance stars – the 2011 QIPCO Champion Stakes winner, Cirrus Des Aigles, who is trained in France by Corine Barande-Barbe, and the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of So You Think, winner of the 2011 Coral-Eclipse Stakes and runner-up in both the QIPCO Champion Stakes and Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and St Nicholas Abbey, triumphant in the 2011 Investec Coronation Cup and third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by Betfair).

So You Think will contest the world’s richest race, the Dubai Wold Cup over 1m 2f, worth nearly £4m to the winner and run on Meydan’s artificial Tapeta surface.

Cirrus Des Aigles and St Nicholas Abbey are set to clash in the Dubai Sheema Classic, worth almost £2m to the winner, which is run over 1m 4f on turf.

Also running in the Sheema Classic is the 2011 Investec Derby runner-up and Irish Derby winner, Treasure Beach, another Aidan O’Brien contender and one of seven horses placed in QIPCO British Champions Series races last year to be in action tomorrow night.

Aidan O’Brien’s 18-year-old son, Joseph, will ride So You Think and St Nicholas Abbey, while French ace Olivier Peslier will ride Cirrus Des Aigles for the first time. Jamie Spencer gets the leg up for the first time on Treasure Beach.

Earlier on the card, three QIPCO British Champions Series sprint race winners will face an exciting showdown in the Al Quoz Sprint over five furlongs on turf.

Margot Did (Michael Bell/Hayley Turner), winner of the 2011 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, Prohibit (Robert Cowell/Jim Crowley), winner of the 2011 King’s Stand Stakes, and Sole Power (Edward Lynam/Johnny Murtagh), triumphant in the 2011 Temple Stakes, face 13 other rivals in the Group 1 contest.

Meanwhile Opinion Poll, winner of the 2011 Artemis Goodwood Cup and Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup and runner-up in the Stobart Doncaster Cup and QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup, will contest the two-mile Dubai Gold Cup. Frankie Dettori rides the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained six-year-old.

Elsewhere on the card, several horses placed in 2011 QIPCO British Champions Series races will be in action.

In the nine furlong Dubai Duty Free, Await The Dawn (Aidan O’Brien/Joseph O’Brien), who was third in the Juddmonte International Stakes, will clash with Cityscape (Roger Charlton/James Doyle), third in the Queen Anne Stakes, Rio De La Plata (Saeed bin Suroor/Silvestre De Sousa) who finished third in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, and Dubawi Gold (Richard Hannon/Johnny Murtagh), runner-up to Frankel in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

In the six furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen, Hitchens (David Barron/Silvestre De Sousa), who was third in the 2011 Darley July Cup, will face a tough task against a host of international sprinting stars.

In the opening race of the day, First City, who was trained by David Simcock last year to finish third in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket, will contest the Godolphin Mile for her new trainer, Ali Al Raihe.

The first three races on the card (2.10pm, 2.45pm & 3.25pm UK time) will be shown live on Channel 4, while the Dubai World Cup will be shown live on More 4 together with recordings of the other races in a special programme starting at 6.20pm. Satellite channels At The Races and Racing UK will show all eight races live.