Dirt the clue to Dubai

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Bookmakers were yesterday forecasting another American domination of the Dubai World Cup a week on Saturday. Cigar led a US clean sweep of the places in the inaugural running of the world's richest race at Nad Al Sheba last year, with fourth-placed Pentire the first European horse home.

This time, the American pairing of Siphon and Sandpit head the opening show of betting on this year's running, quoted at a top-priced 3-1 and 4-1 respectively.

Mike Dillon, Ladbrokes' PR director, explained: "This looks to be an ultra-competitive Dubai World Cup and in my view the professional dirt horses from the US must have the call in the market even ahead of horses of proven quality such as the Arc winner, Helissio, and Michael Stoute's Japan Cup winner, Singspiel."

David Hood, of William Hill, said: "It is impossible to ignore the chance of the Americans. We have learned from the Breeders' Cup that they handle the climate and the dirt surfaces far better than our own horses."