Ace Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor eyes a perfect 10

Record nine-time Dubai World Cup-winning handler has a strong contingent for the showpiece

By Leslie Wilson Jr

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Godolphin's trainer Saeed bin Suroor. — KT file
Godolphin's trainer Saeed bin Suroor. — KT file

Published: Fri 18 Mar 2022, 11:52 PM

Last updated: Fri 18 Mar 2022, 11:53 PM

His day starts at 3 am every morning and as he says, it has no end.

But for Saeed bin Suroor, who has trained some of the best-thoroughbred horses in the world for the past 26 years, it’s a lifestyle he has come to embrace more than anything else. He acknowledges that his body clock has the precision and accuracy of a master chronometer while his work ethic is the stuff of legend.

And so are the assembly-line of champion horses that he has led into the winner’s circle at some of the most prestigious racecourses in the world.

Perhaps no trainer in the history of UAE horse racing has enjoyed such high levels of success that Saeed has had, also collecting the Leading Trainers’ title at the Dubai World Cup Carnival on eight occasions.

As the most successful handler in the Dubai World Cup, with nine wins, Saeed will bid to add to that impressive record when he saddles Real World in next Saturday’s $12 million contest..

This along with eight other horses spread over the event’s exciting supporting races.

“Real World is doing real well,” he said, not realising the pun. “I’m very happy with him. All the horses are doing good and we have to wait and see how they fare on Saturday.”

Real World is an interesting contender for the 2000 metre dirt contest, having done most of his racing on the turf, where he has won five of his last six starts.

Real World will be contesting the $12 million Dubai World Cup. — Dubai Racing Club
Real World will be contesting the $12 million Dubai World Cup. — Dubai Racing Club

On his first outing back on dirt in last month’s Saudi Cup, the son of Dark Angel produced a lukewarm effort to finish 11th behind the winner Emblem Road.

But Saeed is prepared to draw a line through that race as the track in Riyadh did not suit his horse one bit, being deep and on the heavy side.

Real World prefers quicker ground like he will encounter on Saturday at Meydan and Saeed will be hoping that he can follow in the footsteps of past champions like African Story, Prince Bishop, and Thunder Snow, and deliver a good result.

“We know Real World’s best surface is turf, but we have always believed that he can handle the dirt just as well,” he said after his stable star ran out a compelling winner of the Zabeel Mile, his intended prep race for the Dubai World Cup.

“Saudi was always the plan but he did not like the surface.”

The Darley-bred five-year-old is one of nine runners that Saeed, the winner of over 2,000 races around the world, with almost 200 of these at G1 level, will saddle on Dubai World Cup night.

Another horse who runs with a big chance is G2 Al Rashidiya scorer Desert Fire, who runs in the $5 million Dubai Turf, a race that he has won no less than six times and most recently with Benbatl in 2018.

Dubai Icon is another horse coming off a last-outing victory and who Saeed expects to give a good account of himself in the Godolphin Mile, together with stable companion Storm Damage,

The $6million Dubai Sheema Classic is a race that Saeed has not won since Sulamani triumphed in 2003, but he hopes that Listed scorer Dubai Future can set the record straight.

Another race that the handler is looking to win after a long gap is the Al Quoz Sprint on turf, having won the race in its inaugural running with Great Britain. Mutafawwig, a lightly raced six-year-old by Oasis Dream, could be just that horse to bring home the honours for Saeed.


$1m Godolphin Mile (G2): Storm Damager/ Dubai Icon

$1m Al Quoz Sprint (G1): Mutafawwig

$1m UAE Derby (G2): Island Falcon

$6m Dubai Sheema Classic G1): Dubai Future

$5m Dubai Turf (G1): Desert Fire

$1m Dubai Gold Cup: Volcanic Sky/ Passion and Glory

$12m Dubai World Cup (G1): Real World

Saeed bin Suroor (right) and jockey Christophe Soumillon hold the trophies after Thunder Snow won the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in 2018. — AP file
Saeed bin Suroor (right) and jockey Christophe Soumillon hold the trophies after Thunder Snow won the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in 2018. — AP file


1999: Almutawakel

2000: Dubai Millennium

2002: Street Cry

2003: Moon Ballad

2006: Electrocutionist

2014: African Story

2015: Prince Bishop

2018: Thunder Snow

2019: Thunder Snow

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