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[an error occurred while processing this directive] banner Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 11:04 GMT
Nayef pulled from Dubai World Cup
Nayef was pulled from the Dubai World Cup
Nayef's Dubai target has been switched
Dubai World Cup, live on BBC Two
1740 GMT, Saturday 23 March

British hope Nayef will not run in Saturday's $6m Dubai World Cup, trainer Marcus Tregoning said on Wednesday.

The four-year-old, who was priced at 11-2 for the big race, will instead run in the $2m Dubai Sheema Classic on the same card at Nad Al Sheba.

The Sheema Classic is run over 12 furlongs on turf, as opposed to the World Cup, which is a 10-furlong test on a dirt track.

Nayef, last year's Champion Stakes winner, is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, who also has Sakhee, officially the best horse in the world, in the big race.

I'm very happy with his preparations
Sakhee trainer Saeed bin Suroor
And Tregoning revealed that the decision to switch Nayef was made by the horse's owner.

He said: "If he (Sheikh Hamdan) didn't have Sakhee then I'm sure Nayef would have run in the World Cup.

"You don't get too many chances to have a World Cup horse but hopefully there will be other years.

"The Sheema is still a Group One race with a big prize. We have a good draw and Nayef must have a great chance.

"He's developed very well physically and I think we could have an exceptional season with him."

Sakhee now opposes 10 other rivals on Saturday as he bids to become the third Godolphin-trained winner since the race's inaugural running in 1996.

And trainer Saeed bin Suroor was upbeat about Sakhee's chances.

"He has improved a lot since he won at Nad Al Sheba last month and he was only 85 per cent fit then," he said.

"He's 100 per cent now and he has a great chance of winning the World Cup."

Sakhee is favourite for the Dubai World Cup
Sakhee has pleased connections
Street Cry, a 5-1 chance who will be ridden by triple World Cup-winning jockey Jerry Bailey, is Godolphin's second string but is still well fancied by connections.

"He's a different horse to last year. He's a lot stronger and should run a big race," added Bin Suroor.

Street Cry will start from stall six, alongside Sakhee, who has been drawn seven.

Japan's Agnes Digital, second favourite at 4-1 after winning the Hong Kong Cup in December, was handed an inside berth in stall four.

Compatriot To The Victory, the oldest runner in the race and second to Captain Steve last year, is in stall eight.

America's sole challenger, James Chapman's Western Pride, was drawn on the wide outside.

The Dubai World Cup is the highlight of a seven-race card which features four other Group One races with a total of $15.25m in prize money up for grabs.

The Dubai World Cup is live on BBC TWO on Saturday between 1730 and 1800 GMT. Digital satellite viewers can see the whole day's racing on the Yellow "extras" screen - part of the Six Nations Interactive.

See also:

18 Mar 02 |  Grandstand
Sunday Grandstand goes global
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