Racing: Royal Delta on a proving mission

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Bill Mott managed to win the first ever Dubai World Cup but he still has a little unfinished business with the richest horse race on the planet.

Superior mare Royal Delta encountered traffic problems during last year’s event and could only finish ninth behind Monterosso but went on to collect her second consecutive Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. She hits Meydan this evening on the back of a pleasing prep run at Gulfstream and Mott, whose wonder-horse Cigar landed the 1996 renewal, is delighted to have returned. “We decided we’d come back before she’d left last year, but we’re pleased she has earned her way again after she was voted champion, won a Breeders’ Cup and ran well throughout the year.”

Referring to 12 months ago, Mott said: “ It was frustrating and disappointing but I couldn’t take anything away from her. We had a little bit of a rough trip but that’s racing luck. We’re here for a reason and that’s to give her the opportunity to see if she is good enough. I’d like to be able to show everybody she is better than the final outcome last year and I hope it turns out well for her.”

There is a fiercely-strong American challenge to take the World Cup for the ninth time with Animal Kingdom and Dullahan lining up too. Animal Kingdom, restricted to just a handful of runs must overcome an outside draw of 12 from 13. The hold-up performer had little luck himself when flashing home for second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and warmed up in another event at Gulfstream in February. “To tell the truth I was glad one, two and three were already taken,” said trainer Graham Motion, referring to the draw. “Our tactics won’t change and he’s capable of coming from off of it if he has to. After all we won the Derby from post 16.”

Gary Stevens, the legendary American rider, only recently made a sensational return to the saddle after being retired for seven years.The 50-year-old, who collected the 1998 World Cup, is aboard Dullahan, who was well beaten by African Story when Kieren Fallon partnered him in a Group 3 at Meydan. “Dullahan is a specialist on a synthetic surface, with three wins back home on it including the Pacific Classic,” said Stevens. “His only defeat was his prep run here at Meydan, where he needed the race, and where things – through no fault of his jockey that day – didn’t go right for him.

Sheikh Mohammed has a five-strong team with several trainers. Leading the way is last year’s hero Monterosso, but he was beaten a long way by Hunter’s Light in the Al Maktoum Challenge. Hunter’s Light now looks Godolphin’s number one, ahead of the re-invigorated African Story.

Leading British runner appears to be Planteur, while globe-trotter Red Cadeaux has his latest adventure with trainer Ed Dunlop hoping he can pick up some prize money while Side Glance is an outsider for Andrew Balding. Andre Fabre’s French runner Meandre starts for the first time in the colours of Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov.

The new Flat season gets underway in Scotland at Musselburgh today when Hamish McGonagall bids to land the £20,000 totepool Borderlescott Sprint Trophy for the third year running. Twelve months ago Tim Easterby’s course specialist was awarded the five-furlong conditions event by the stewards after he passed the post a short-head behind Bear Behind. Easterby said: “He loves it up there. He’s been to the track seven times and won five races. It’s a big ask trying to win under 10st 2lb but he’s in good form and he goes well fresh. It’s a hot little race and I’d say Tangerine Trees is the one we all have to beat.”

The £50,000 totepool.com Royal Mile Handicap features four runners trained by Mark Johnston – Pure Excellence, Penny Rose, Fraserburgh and Greeleys Love, ridden by Joe Fanning, who rode more winners at the track than anyone else in 2012.

Musselburgh also race on Easter Sunday and John Quinn’s Moidore looks the betting pick of the day.

On a bumper weekend of racing, the rearranged William Hill Lincoln will also take place at Doncaster.

SELECTIONS

Musselburgh

1.50 Vine De Nada

2.25 Alaskan Bullet

3.00 Kingsgate Choice

3.35 Carry On Sydney

4.10 Full Speed

4.45 Chokidar

5.15 Come On Dave

Doncaster

1.20 Chooseday

1.55 Dubai Hills

2.30 Equitania

3.05 Strictly Silver (nap)

3.40 Helmsley Flyer

4.15 Maven

4.50 Canary Wharf

5.25 Availed Speaker

Haydock

2.05 Abnaki

2.40 Softsong

3.15 Cedre Bleu

3.50 Noble Legend

4.25 Oscar Magic

5.00 Kandari

5.35 Desert Sting

Kempton

1.45 Lawman’s Lady

2.20 Robin Hoods Bay

2.55 Spifer

3.30 Zain Joy

4.05 Stirring Ballad

4.35 Yeeoow

5.10 Hay Dude

Carlisle

2.00 Mojolika

2.35 Upsilon Bleu

3.10 Ajman

3.45 Rudemeister

4.20 Forty Crown

4.55 Riskier

5.30 Bomber Belle

Newton Abbot

2.10 Rigolo Ville

2.45 Jupiter Rex

3.20 Virak

3.55 Shangani

4.30 Qualitee

5.05 Minella Ranger

5.40 Cevaro

Tomorrow

Musselburgh

2.20 El Bravo

2.50 Rio Cobolo

3.20 Royal Duchess

3.50 Moidore (nap)

4.20 Guising

4.55 Skytrain

5.25 Pull The Pin

Plumpton

2.30 Top Gamble

3.00 Ballyman

3.30 Weston Lodge

4.00 Court Minstrel

4.35 Looking On

5.05 Somerby

5.35 Majestic Bull

Towcester

2.10 Buffy The Beatle

2.40 Quayside Court

3.10 Valrene

3.40 Top Benefit

4.10 Master Todd

4.45 Swallows Delight

5.15 Jean De Florette.