The Dubai World Cup is one of the few major races run around the globe that Aidan O'Brien has yet to win but the legendary Irish trainer will be hoping to put that right with Ruler Of The World this weekend.
Last year's Epsom Derby hero was the subject of a multi-million pound sale earlier this week and is $5.00 favourite with sportingbet.com.au
to give new half-owner Al Shaqab Racing an immediate return on their investment.
The son of Galileo will run in the grey silks of Sheikh Joaan, made famous by the likes of Treve, Olympic Glory and Toronado, but John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derek Smith are still involved and he will remain part of the Ballydoyle team and be ridden by Joseph O'Brien.
Ruler Of The World's odds eased slightly after he was handed a wide draw in stall 12, but American challenger Animal Kingdom came from the same position to prevail in fine style 12 months ago.
There will be no repeat success for that victor as he has been retired to stud, but 2013 runner-up Red Cadeaux is 25/1 at Hills to go one better for Ed Dunlop and Gerald Mosse this time around, while fourth-placed Side Glance and fifth home African Story are also back for another try.
Saeed bin Suroor saddles the last-named entry and also sends out the in-form Prince Bishop, winner of two recent rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge over course and distance, as the trainer seeks a record sixth victory in the world's richest contest.
Among the leading British-trained contenders are Hillstar at 12/1 for Sir Michael Stoute, winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, and $15 chance Mukhadram for William Haggas, who prevailed in Group-class events at Sandown and York last term.
However, a couple of former UK-based charges now stationed out in Hong Kong are rated the chief threats to Ruler Of The World, with Military Attack and Akeed Mofeed quoted at $8.00 and $9.00 respectively after flourishing in the Far East.
Belshazzar and Hokko Tarumae will fly the flag for Japan and bid to follow in the footsteps of 2011 hero Victoire Pisa, while South African trainer Mike De Kock always has to be respected and relies this time on Sanshaawes.
Although there are no major players from America this term, the 2014 Dubai World Cup is once more a fascinating global contest featuring a clash of racing cultures and some top-class animals.
Dubai World Cup odds from sportingbet.com.au:
Ruler Of The World, $8.00 Military Attack, $9.00 Akeed Mofeed, Prince Bishop, $13 African Story, Belshazzar, Sanshaawes, Hillstar, $15 Mukhadram, Hokko Tarumae, Vancouverite, $17 Ron The Greek, $21 Cat O’Mountain, Surfer, $26 Red Cadeaux, $34 Side Glance