Bankable was second in this race last year for Herman Brown and has just had three starts since, all at the Dubai International Racing Carnival. He was a very impressive winner on Super Thursday in the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal as he demonstrated his class and versatility – that race was over 1200m on All-Weather!
Luca Cumani trains Presvis who was well beaten in this last year but a gallant second in 2009 when the race was run at Nad Al Sheba. It looks significant that Ryan Moore elects to ride him having won on Bankable last time and Cumani's charge looked back to his very best when winning the Group Two Al Rashidiya over this course and distance on his seasonal bow.
However, in the Group Two Jebel Hatta, the prep race on Super Thursday, he was only third, albeit a close one, behind the Michael Bell-trained Wigmore Hall who was making a winning UAE debut. They both tend to race from well off the pace and should be challenging late on but fellow UK raider Tazeez tends to race promimently and trainer John Gosden did win last year's Dubai Sheema Classic with Dar Re Mi.
Champion UAE Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe won this race last year with Al Shemali and looks to have a strong candidate this time in Derbaas who has won four times at Meydan over 1600m. The most recent pair of victories were on turf and highlighted by a brilliant win in the Group Two Al Fahidi Fort. He should cope with the extra 200m and certainly should not be dismissed having deliberately missed Super Thursday to run here fresh.
He was chased home in that Al Fahidi Fort by Raihana, one of two in the race for Mike de Kock. Second in last year's UAE Derby, having won the UAE Oaks, she won a course and distance handicap on her penultimate start and looks a big threat to all, as does stable companion River Jetez. She too is a course and distance winner and give the trainer a strong hand he saddled the amazing filly Ipi Tombe to win back in 2003.
Interestingly, both Bahrain and Qatar are represented and Bahraini owner/trainer Fawzi Nass will be hoping Strawberrydaiquiri enjoys a smoother passage than she did behind River Jetez last year. With regular partner Moore on Bankable, Johnny Murtagh gets the ride on what will be the Group One-placed mare's second start for Nass.
Beethoven, meanwhile, is having his fourth start since switching to Qatar and he won his first two for trainer Ahmed Kobeissi, including the Qatar Derby. The trip should suit and he was a Group One winner as a juvenile in Europe.
Beauty Flash from Hong Kong and Better Than Ever from Singapore give the race a real international flavour. French challenger Royal Bench was just behind Beauty Flash in Hong Kong last year, while compatriot Rajsaman was fourth in the same race.
Mendip has won both his Carnival starts for Saeed bin Suroor and makes his turf debut on only his seventh career start. His only defeat was suffered on this night last year in the UAE Derby when Raihana was second. He is set to carry the Godolphin blue, as is Debussy, trained by Mahmood Al Zarooni and who looks certain to appreciate the return to grass after a run in the Al Maktoum Challenge Round III on All-Weather last time.
Victor's Cry, trained by 2009 Dubai World Cup winning trainer Eoin Harty, appears to face a stiff task trying to provide America with a first Dubai World Cup night winner on turf.