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To make the meeting a success, I think you need several key ingredients; a Japanese winner, an American winner, a European winner, and Godolphin winner, a favourite winning and a shock result. If we take a little bit of journalistic licence and place Lord North as quasi-Godolphin, then the 27th running of the event had it all.

It also, crucially, had the safety factor, with all 127 horses reported home safely with no serious injuries to horses or jockeys. As always, that is the biggest win of the day. My personal highlight of the night (with apologies to RRR, Tadhg O’Shea and Bhupat Seemar, all of whom looked understandably crestfallen after the race) was the narrow victory of Sibelius in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Every Dubai World Cup week there are a set of connections who go out to really embrace it and enjoy every minute. In 2023 this was Jerry and Alison O’Dwyer and Chelsie Raabe, the trainers and rider of Sibelius. They were brilliant with the media, too, and who doesn’t love a horse who stands and poses each mornings for photos?!

He even has his own hashtag, #dailySibelius. Let’s hope this was the first of many Group One wins for trainer and horse. As a gelding, we could even see him here next year to defend his title. What a clash it could be if a then 10yo Switzerland stays in training for a revenge bid. Sibelius is popular, but for some reason, Lord North is less so, despite equaling Vazirabad’s record of three wins in the same [Thoroughbred] race at the meeting thanks to his third Dubai Turf success.

Just getting a horse to the track for three years in a row is some feat, so huge credit must go to the John and Thady Gosden team for getting this horse spot on each March. Where do we start with Equinox? Taking a second off Mishriff’s track record without coming off the bridle was one of the best performances we have seen so far at Meydan; it was a ‘wow’ moment.

Assuming connections target the race and he gets there safe and well, it’s hard to see what will beat him in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, although the connections of Dubai World Cup winner Ushba Tesoro are also considering the race, an interesting move, to say the least. His win cemented Japan’s position as the leading superpowers in international racing.

It was good that their vast support of the meeting has paid off once again and perhaps we’ll see even more than 27 runners from the land of the rising sun here next year. We’re not done in the UAE. There’s still a compelling trainers’ championship to be won, with Doug Watson now two ahead of Bhupat Seemar who is three ahead of Ernst Oertel. There are three meetings left and, judging by the entries for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain this week, Oertel means business. It’s compelling and should ensure that interest in the season remains until the very last race at Al Ain on April 7th.