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Horse Racing: It's a tall order but Jalil can deliver goods; DUBAI WORLD CUP MEETING Dettori sets sights on World Cup glory as he prepares to take on superstar Curlin.

Byline: Tony Elves in Dubai gets the lowdown on Godolphin's main hopes from Frankie Dettori

THE Dubai World Cup has been at the forefront of Frankie Dettori's mind since the turn of the year, but at that time few would have thought that Jalil would be the colt entrusted with attempting to provide him with a fourth victory in the richest race on the planet.

Godolphin's flagbearer, rated by bookmakers as the main danger to the long odds-on favourite Curlin, was more renowned for having the albatross price tag of EUR9.7 million dollars around his elegant neck and had been beaten off a mark of 87 at Lingfield in October.

Since being transferred to Dubai, the son of Storm Cat is unbeaten in three races and will now bid to add to Dettori's World Cup wins aboard Dubai Millennium, Moon Ballad and Electrocutionist at Nad Al Sheba this evening in a race that can be seen live on C4.

Dettori said: "Obviously, for a horse that cost that amount he had to be good looking and he was always a horse I liked.

"He was weak when he first started and had a big frame to fill. Sheikh Mohammed deserves the recognition, as it was he who suggested he should have a break, and he has been a revelation since he came to Dubai.

"I am not surprised he has developed in the way he has and, every time the bar has been raised this year, he has been up to the challenge.

"It is a big step up in class, but he has earned his ticket to the World Cup.

"We have the best horse in the world to beat in Curlin, but it wouldn't be the first time a heavyweight champion has lost and, fingers crossed, he can deliver the goods."

Jalil heads Dettori's strong book of six rides on the Nad Al Sheba card, a meeting at which he has had 13 victories since 1996.

He said: "I am really looking forward to riding at the meeting. All the races are very, very competitive and I would be happy to win any one of them. The horses are well, but we still need to have some luck. We have two horses in most of the races and there isn't much between them.

"Blackat Blackitten was a difficult choice in the Mile as he was beaten by Elusive Warning last time and I would have preferred an outside draw.

"My Indy has, unfortunately, drawn three in the UAE Derby and I will have to fight my way out, and it is tough contest and Mike de Kock's pair Royal Vintage and Honour Devil will be difficult to beat. On all known form, we will be looking for third place."

Dettori's sole success at the meeting 12 months ago came on Kelly's Landing in the Golden Shaheen and he bids to follow up on Godolphin's Diabolical this time.

He said: "He's Americanbred and seems to have adapted to the track since he came here. He's a nice sprinter who won really well last time, is in good form and, in an open race, has a great chance."

Dettori's hopes rest with Godolphin's new recruit Literato, winner of last season's Champion Stakes, in the Dubai Duty Free, but again he is hoping that he is on the right one of Godolphin's two runners.

He said: "Literato is a nice horse, but I had another tough choice as Creachadoir is also a very good horse. Both are going well."

The 11th running of the Sheema Classic looks one of the best since the race's inception, and Gravitas is called upon to do the honours for Dettori.

The rider said: "He is a consistent horse and has done little wrong, and if we can nick a place I would be very happy."

AFTER tonight, Dettori's thoughts will switch to a return to Newmarket next month and trying to emulate last year's first Derby success on Authorized.

He said: "We have three very nice colts in Ibn Khaldun, Rio De La Plata and Fast Company, and obviously Laureldean Gale among the fillies, but we haven't put the gun to any of their heads yet."

The examinations will take place on the turf at Nad Al Sheba next month and Dettori will be home shortly after.

Tongue in cheek, he concluded: "I will be starting back at the Craven meeting to give the boys a bit of a head start, and ten days later the boys in blue will be back and then it will be up and down the motorway once again."

Top World Cup night jockey Stan James: 8-11 L Dettori, 6 J Murtagh, 13-2 K McEvoy, 9 E Prado, 10 R Albarado, 11 K Shea, 20 R Moore, 28 D Beadman, 33 M Kinane, T Durcan, G Gomez (thoroughbred races only)

Nad Al Sheba betting

PUNTERS who do not take an early price will have bets settled at the industry starting price, which will be returned by an independent SP reporter from odds supplied to SIS by the major bookmakers.

SIS will also issue straight forecast dividends, while Totesport are running a placepot.

CAPTION(S):

The one to beat: Breeders' Cup Classic hero Curlin limbers up at Nad Al Sheba yesterday EDWARD WHITAKER RACINGPOSTPIX.CO.UK
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 29, 2008
Words:886
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