Connections of Curlin were satisfied after the American Horse of the Year was handed stall 12 for Saturday’s 6million Dubai World Cup.
The four-year-old has been in Dubai for over a month and has already tasted victory on the Nad Al Sheba dirt having won the Jaguar Trophy on February 28 on his eagerly-anticipated UAE debut.
And the son of Smart Strike is favourite to add the World Cup to October’s Breeders’ Cup Classic triumph after impressing throughout his preparation work, although no horse has yet to triumph in this race from the 12 box.
“He has done very well since he has been here and he tends to run better the second time he runs over a course. We wanted to get him a race over Nad Al Sheba and the races have worked out well for us,” said Scott Blasi, number two to trainer Steve Asmussen.
“The draw suits us fine. With the configuration of the race track, position is not too important.”
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor smiled and insisted he was “happy” after improving multi-million dollar colt Jalil was drawn in eight, with stablemate Happy Boy in three for Sheikh Mohammed’s outfit.
Mike De Kock is confident last year’s UAE Derby winner Asiatic Boy will bounce back from his disappointing third in Group Three company from stall nine.
“The draw is not such a big thing. I would have liked stall one as I want the horse to be forward,” said De Kock.
“He has very good gate speed and I would be very happy for him to lead in the race. He is going to have to up his game to be able to win on Saturday, but he is fit and well.
“You have to think ahead not back, we have forgotten about the last race. He has a big chance to be in the first three.”
In the Sheema Classic, Viva Pataca will break from stall 12, with Hong Kong Vase winner Doctor Dino starting from 15 and Mick Channon’s Youmzain in five.
In the highly-anticipated Dubai Duty Free on the turf, Champion Stakes winner Literato will start from stall 10 for Godolphin and Frankie Dettori, with stablemate Creachadoir breaking from gate nine.
Jim Bolger’s Finsceal Beo, winner of the English and Irish 1000 Guineas last year, will mount a challenge from six, with Channon’s Majestic Roi in two and Japanese raider Vodka in 12.
“It’s fine,” Bolger said. “It is a very competitive race. I don’t think any horse is going to be inconvenienced by the draw. I’m happy with the draw. It’s not something I get too hung up about.”
In the Golden Shaheen sprint, American challengers Idiot Proof (14) and Benny the Bull (10) will face stiff competition from Godolphin’s Diabolical, who will look to follow up a recent impressive victory from gate five for Dettori.
Elsewhere, in the Group Two UAE Derby, UAE champion jockey Ted Durcan will start from stall one on Godolphin’s highly-fancied Cocoa Beach.
Numaany (two) and My Indy (three) complete the Godolphin trio in the nine-furlong event, with Massive Drama in four for former Dubai World Cup-winning trainer Dale Romans.