Thunder Snow must overcome history and an unfavourable draw if he is to become the first dual winner of the Dubai World Cup, the centrepiece of the world's richest raceday on Saturday.

The nine-race card at Meydan boasts a prize money pool of $35 million, with the winner of the Dubai World Cup (1540GMT) scooping five and a half million dollars.

Thunder Snow, representing Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin stable, supplied trainer Saeed bin Suroor with his eighth World Cup success in 2018.

But drawn 12 of 13 on the outside means French 10-time champion jockey Christophe Soumillon will need a charmed run to prevail against opposition headed by North America, Capezzano and Yoshida.

"The truth is, it won't be as easy," Bin Suroor admitted in The National.

"Last year Christophe gave him a good ride, pushed him all the way to be close to the rail.

"I hope this can happen again this year. The horse has come back well from his last race and has worked well."

Thunder Snow warmed up for his tilt at writing his place in the equine record books with a third to Capezzano at Meydan three weeks ago.

"We knew he was going to need the run so, in the circumstances, he ran well for a long way," Soumillon told the paper.

"The three weeks since should have put him spot on and the team are very happy with him."

Amongst those Thunder Snow had in his wake last year was North America, who trailed in last after a poor start.

"I'm keeping a lid on everything because last year didn't work out but I am thinking positively going into the race. It looks open," said trainer Satish Seemar.

Yoshida, part of a five-strong American challenge, is trained by Bill Mott, who sent out Cigar to land the inaugural World Cup in 1996.

Mott's charge finished only a nose behind third-placed Thunder Snow in the Breeders' Cup Classic and will be more at home on this dirt than his last outing sixth in the Pegasus run on turf.

While the World Cup is wide open the two mile Gold Cup earlier on the card looks to be between English trainer Charlie Appleby's Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter and Ispolini from France.

Japan's Almond Eye lines up in the Dubai Turf hoping to add further credence to her status as superstar after completing the Fillies Triple Crown and a course record Japan Cup success last season.

"She can become a horse of a lifetime for me," her jockey Christophe Lemaire told The Racing Post.

"I think all racing lovers feel she has something special and that she can become unique in the sport's history - that's why so many people are supporting her."

Three-time Dubai World Cup winning jockey Frankie Dettori may not have a ride in this year's race but he has a solid shot at landing the UAE Derby on Walking Thunder.