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A dozen Hong Kong horses entered for Dubai World Cup meeting – @Lucky8RacingHK

Given the same number of horses were nominated for last year’s event and none ran, the scepticism about anyone showing up this time around is fair, but at this early stage it looks like there will be a Hong Kong presence at Meydan on March 30.

A dozen Hong Kong horses entered for Dubai World Cup meeting

While superstar Beauty Generation will not make the trip – connections are keen for him to become Hong Kong’s highest-ever prize money earner (he is HK$22.51 million behind Viva Pataca’s record of HK$83,197,500) so he will stay home – there is more optimism surrounding some of the other hopefuls (provided they are healthy and get invites, of course).

Caspar Fownes has every intention of campaigning Southern Legend in Dubai and he is entered for four lead-up races as well as the Dubai Turf and Godolphin Mile, provided he comes through Sunday’s Group One Stewards’ Cup.

Richard Gibson entered both Wishful Thinker and Gold Mount for the meeting and confirmed the former is a “probable” for the Al Quoz Sprint.

“He enjoys straight-track racing so it should suit him,” Gibson said. “He’ll go to the Happy Valley Trophy next and that’s a nice lead-in to Dubai.”

Caspar Fownes eyes Dubai with Southern Legend as he tries to dodge Beauty Generation

There could be some strength in the Sheema Classic with John Moore hopeful of taking Eagle Way, while Tony Cruz is keen to go with Exultant. Final decisions will be made after they compete in the Hong Kong Gold Cup.

Cruz would also like to travel Pakistan Star, but that appears unlikely given owner Kerm Din said “I think we will let him stay in Hong Kong for a while” when asked about that possibility last month.

Tony Millard has entered Northern Superstar, Singapore Sling and in-form dirt specialist Elusive State, but the latter is the only realistic chance.

The South African trainer was lobbying the Jockey Club to put on another race so Elusive State gets another chance to lift his rating and get into the Godolphin Mile, but the handicapper handed him a 13-point hike on Monday to take him to 93, so it will be interesting to see if that changes things.

Tony Millard chases extra race for Elusive State as Dubai World Cup meeting looms

Me Tsui Yu-sak’s Fight Hero is down for the Group One Golden Shaheen on the dirt, but he has gone from the hopeful category and is heading into the unlikely department after a flat run on Saturday.

The other Hong Kong entrant is Little Giant, who ran fourth in December’s Hong Kong Sprint, but he is another likely to remain home.

Dubai trip up in the air for Hong Kong duo Pakistan Star and Beauty Generation

“I think he’s going to concentrate on Hong Kong,” trainer David Hall said. “If he happened to be able to win one here and it all fell into place, maybe, but it was there as a free entry and provided another option.”

There is still a lot of water to go under the bridge before March 30, but that is where everyone stands at this stage.