China Visit can book ticket to Kentucky

Only one contest of the seven on Dubai World Cup night here on Saturday does not carry the cachet of pattern-race status. It may, however, turn out to be the most significant. The UAE Derby contains trainers and jockeys of great note, but, not, as yet at least, horses of much distinction. That situation will almost certainly change in less than three months' time.

For this contest is little more than a trial for far greater Classics around the globe. It is Godolphin's first salvo for the year ahead. It may well be that a Kentucky Derby representative for Team Dubai emerges under the floodlights at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday and, if the whispers are correct, that horse is likely to be China Visit.

The once-raced colt, a winner at Deauville for the David Loder nursery last season, was cut to 33-1 for the 2,000 Guineas by William Hill earlier this month. He now stands at 10-1 with the same firm, but as he is about to be tried over 1m1f on dirt it may well be that Louisville emerges as the forum for his talents.

Godolphin will confirm nothing until after Saturday and the volley of turf trials behind closed doors at the Al Quoz training complex in the middle of next month, but the expectation is building. "We've got those two checkpoints and as soon as we put these horses to the test we will find out the truth," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said yesterday.

"We've been delighted with China Visit but we've been delighted with plenty of others too. They all look good at this time of the year whether they're in Newmarket or they're here. It's when you get them on the racetrack and give them a proper examination that they identify themselves as being contenders for the Classics.''

Godolphin's sights have been refocussed for Churchill Downs. "It's not a race you can turn up to with a nice horse and just expect to win," Crisford says. "Everything has to go right. Preparation and travel has to be spot on and, first and foremost, you have to have the best horse. It is a much, much harder race to win than the Guineas, where the horses concerned are lightly raced, inexperienced and running on a straight mile. They don't have to be seasoned or battle-hardened horses. You'll never win a Kentucky Derby with horses like that.''

A win for China Visit at Churchill Downs would cheer both Sheikh Mohammed and Loder, who sent out both fewer winners and runners than expected from Godolphin's French depot at Evry racecourse last season. "We had a lot of lightly-raced, unexposed horses and, right now, we're very happy, but we need to see them winning some nice races this year to justify the project we have developed in France.''

Loder can, though, still trade on his nurturing of Dubai Millennium, who is as short as 4-7 (with Coral) to win Saturday's main race. The Dubai World Cup was greatly trumpeted at yesterday's draw ceremony as "the championship of champions", which is a little rich considering the best of the Americans are absent and that Britain's runners are the limited Running Stag and Lear Spear. Still, the event may be a springboard for a special horse.

"These are the best around at the moment,'' Crisford says. ''Those Americans will be very hard to beat because they're professional dirt specialists. It's still a fabulous race.''

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas