Gloria De Campeao has won the $10 million Dubai World Cup, nosing out long-shot Lizard’s Desire to capture the world’s richest horse race. Two favorites, Britian-bred Gitano Hernando and U.S.-based Gio Ponti, never seriously challenged during the 1 1/4-mile race.
Gloria De Campeao, a 6-year Brazil-bred whose name is Glorious Champion in Portuguese, won last year’s Singapore Cup. He ran in the previous two Dubai World Cups and was beaten by 14 lengths by Well Armed a year ago. The World Cup was the highlight of an eight-race card worth $26 million. Despite the economic slowdown, Dubai’s rulers shelled out $2 billion to construct two racetracks, a grandstand that holds 60,000 spectators, a 290-room luxury hotel, a marina and a horse racing museum.
In earlier races, the Dubai royal family showed it remains a force in horse racing. Al Shemali won the $5 million Dubai Duty Free in one of the day’s biggest upsets. It was the third victory for the royal family in the eight races, including the $1 million Godolphin Mile by a horse from Sheik Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing stable.
Sheik Mohammed’s Calming Influence held off a late charge from Green Coast in the Godolphin Mile. Calming Influence, ridden by United Arab Emirates jockey Ahmad Ajtebi, prevailed after an early struggle with Cat Junior and Le Drakkar. It appeared Calming Influence was coasting to victory but had to hold off Green Coast. The favorite Desert Party faded and never made a serious challenge.
Musir pulled away from Raihana and Della Barba to win the $2 million UAE Derby. Kinsale King won the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, outpacing favorite Rocket Man. Jaafer won the opening Dubai Kahayla Classic, and Joy and Fun took the Al Quoz Sprint.