Last year’s Champion Stakes hero has been off the track since finishing third behind Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November but had been occupying top spot in the World Cup ante-post lists.
Coral clearly feel his wide berth is a hindrance to his challenge and have pushed him out to 11-2 from 5-1 and promoted French raider Vision D’Etat (stall six) to 4-1 favourite from 9-2.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to Twice Over’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “The horse hit of a bit of a flat spot last summer but Henry gave him two confidence-boosting runs and he came out and won the Champion Stakes nicely.
“He then ran a blinder at Santa Anita and the idea was to test him on a synthetic surface before coming out here.
“I suppose racing people always worry about the weather and the draw, but we can’t do anything about either.”
The draw was seemingly more kind to Marco Botti’s recent Lingfield winner Gitano Hernando, who will break from stall two in the hands of six-times champion jockey Kieren Fallon.
Barry Irwin, racing manager for owner Team Valor, said: “I’m sure that’s a relief to Kieren and the pressure is on you now baby (Fallon).
“It’s tough to tell if he’s improving, but he’s a year older so you would hope he is better, but we’ll leave tactics to the jockey.”
Brian Meehan saddles Crowded House, who has filled the runner-up spot twice since arriving in Dubai and has drawn stall nine for Saturday’s main event.
The Manton handler said: “That’s good enough I think and I’m happy.
“I assume there’ll be plenty of pace so we’ll hold him up as normal and he’s in great form.
“He’d been off since the Derby last year so needed a prep race, which is why he came here early.”
Christophe Clement’s Gio Ponti was a place ahead of Twice Over in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and connections appear happy to have drawn stall four.
Clement’s assistant Christophe Lorieul, said: “That’s perfect and we’d hoped to be in the first half, so that is great.
“He shipped in well and we’re very fortunate to be here – it’s a great experience.”
The Bob Baffert-trained Richard’s Kid enjoyed success at Santa Anita on his first start of the year and assistant trainer James Burns was not too despondent after learning the five-year-old will break from stall 10.
“All connections will be happy with that,” said Burns.
“He’s shipped in well and has been doing very well since getting here.
“We’re very fortunate to be here running for 10million.”
Allybar will run for Godolphin’s new trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni and lines up right next to the rail in stall one.
“I’m happy with stall one. I’m very privileged to be part of the team but I’ll be very nervous by the time we get to Saturday,” said the trainer.
Godolphin’s other contender is last year’s St Leger winner Mastery, but Coral pushed him out to 20-1 from 16-1 after drawing stall 12.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “He won the English St Leger last year and was then third in the Breeders’ Cup (Marathon).
“This is the first race for him this year but he’s been working well on the Tapeta at home, which is the same surface as Meydan.
“He can show a good turn of foot and Frankie (Dettori) knows him well, so he can take up a good position.”
Meanwhile John Gosden remains upbeat about Dar Re Mi’s prospects despite her wide draw in Saturday’s Dubai Sheema Classic.
The five-year-old, fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, has eased out to 7-1 from 6s with Coral after being allotted stall 14 in a field of 16 for the Group One contest over a mile and a half.
“It’s shaping up to be a fantastic race and if you look back at the Arc, we’re only missing Sea The Stars and Conduit from the first few home,” said the Newmarket trainer.
“It’s been a particularly tough winter for us and it’s been hard for fillies.
“She has been trouble free though and has settled in well.
“I thought it was important to get her ready on ground she knows.”
The draw has not been kind to Cavalryman, who has the outside gate of 16 and is now 9-2 from 7-2. Saeed bin Suroor’s other runner, Campanologist, is in the next berth at 15.
Spanish Moon will race from stall 13 as he bids to go one better after being beaten a nose by Eastern Anthem 12 months ago.
“It’s more competitive than last year,” said his trainer Sir Michael Stoute.
“It’s very competitive but that’s why we’re here.
“Last year it was one of those races where you couldn’t be sure if he’d win or not from a furlong out.
“We’ve prepared him differently this time and brought him out closer to the competition.
“He’s a tough, international traveller, but is older, so has work to do.”
Eastern Anthem has drawn stall two as he goes for back-to-victories while the Mark Johnston-trained Jukebox Jury has pulled the one stall.
Mick Channon’s Youmzain, runner-up in the Arc for the last three years, is drawn seven.