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Monterosso pulled out from Dubai World Cup

Mickael Barzalona, riding Monterosso, celebrates after winning the ninth and final race of the 17th Dubai World Cup at the Meydan racecourse
Mickael Barzalona, riding Monterosso, celebrates after winning the ninth and final race of the 17th Dubai World Cup at the Meydan racecourse

By Martin Dokoupil

DUBAI (Reuters) - Monterosso, the mount of Mickael Barzalona, will not defend his Dubai World Cup title on Saturday after his owner pulled him out of the world's richest race.

"We decided to pull him out," Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum told Reuters at the Meydan race course.

"He was not in a good shape. Had he run he would finish last," said Sheikh Hamdan, son of Dubai's ruler and United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who founded the Godolphin stable in 1992.

Monterosso's win in 2012 ended a five-year drought for home blue silks of Godolphin and was the fifth success in the race since the event was inaugurated in 1996.

Godolphin will now bet on Hunter's Light and African Story, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, to take on top U.S. thoroughbreds -- double Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic winner Royal Delta and 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom -- in the $10 million race.

"American horses are good but we hope to give them a good fight," Sheikh Hamdan said.

(Reporting by Martin Dokoupil; Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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