No, SA does not have a runner in the $12m race, but the stud owns the dam of North America, who is second favourite to land the big prize at Meydan Racecourse.
The mare Heversham own is named Northern Mischief and is currently housed in Ireland and victory for North America would be a huge boost for her broodmare standing.
“We acquired her cheaply just before North America won his first race, she’s had a colt by Dandy Man, is in foal to Ballydoyle stallion Churchill and is booked to visit Acclamation,” said Heversham’s owner Nigel Riley on Wednesday.
“I am toying with the idea of catching a plane to Dubai to watch the race, but if that doesn’t happen we’ll be glued to the TV,” he said.
Racing channel Tellytrack has announced it will be screening all nine races from Dubai.
Riley — a leading advocate in Johannesburg — and his partner, Fred Brons, are determined to bury the myth that the only provinces to breed horses in SA are the Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. They want to re-establish Gauteng as a thoroughbred bloodstock breeding hub.
Heversham held a party for prospective buyers at the stud — situated halfway between Johannesburg and Vereeniging — last Saturday where their two stallions, Moofeed and Wings Of Desire, were paraded. The latter was a top performer in the UK, winning the Dante Stakes at York and finishing fourth in the Investec Derby.
The 3-1 favourite for Saturday’s Dubai World Cup is 2018’s winner, Thunder Snow, who is trained by Saeed bin Suroor. However, North America, last in 2018’s race when something went amiss, has emerged as a big threat this time with the son of Dubawi winning two rounds of the grade 2 Maktoum Challenge.
North America started his career with UK trainer Charlie Appleby for whom he had six starts, but he has flourished since moving to Dubai to join trainer Satish Seemar.
SA trainer Mike de Kock will saddle three runners at the Dubai meeting — Yulong Prince (formerly Surcharge), Majestic Mambo and Durban July winner Marinaresco. Of the trio, Majestic Mambo could place in the 1,800m Dubai Turf, which carries a purse of $6m.