They are only horses, and not machines, says Emirati trainer Salem bin Ghadayer

He looks forward to fulfill his Dubai World Cup dream with Hypothetical

Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Hypothetical. — Dubai Racing Club
Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Hypothetical. — Dubai Racing Club

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 12:21 AM

Last updated: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 5:10 PM

Two years ago, Salem bin Ghadayer was cruelly denied victory in the Dubai World Cup by the smallest of margins, but the Emirati handler is not ready to cut his losses as he looks forward to this month’s renewal of the $12 million contest with renewed faith.

When Gronkowski lost by a nose to Thunder Snow, bin Ghadayer was reduced to tears, having come so close to fulfilling his ultimate dream, a dream that he says is every trainer’s dream — to lift the glittering Dubai World Cup trophy.

“It hurt, so bad, to lose like that,” he told Khaleej Times, reminiscing on the 2019 race. “But this is sometimes a hard sport.

“I have put that behind me and focused on the future. And here I am today with a horse who has done nothing but thrive and thrive and rekindled my dream.”

The talented Emirati horseman, who is passionate about every equine sport, was talking about Hypothetical, a horse he believes has the potential to win the 2,000-metre dirt contest, at the second time of asking.

Twelve months ago, the son of Loup de Vega ran a huge race to finish fourth behind the winner, Mystic Guide, having at one stage shaped like the winner.

“He’s a better horse than he was last year,” bin Ghadayer proclaimed. “The World Cup was always the target. He ran well to win the final round of the Al Maktoum Challenge and is now ready to run the race of his life on March 26.”

Hypothetical is currently in light training, where he swims every day and is being carefully hand-walked. Bin Ghadayer plans to step up the pace by the end of the week and ask his stable star to perform a few cursory gallops at his Fazza Stables.

“I’m happy to train him at home because I can control everything,” said the handler. “The condition of the track, what he does, I don’t see any benefit in taking him to Meydan, because he already knows the track there, very well.”

Every detail of Hypothetical is relayed to the horse’s owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

“Sheikh Hamdan is very supportive of me and my team, from the time that he set up the stable for me in 2014,” he said. “I keep him informed of everything we do over here. Every tiny little detail. Sheikh Hamdan is very interested in knowing everything as we work as a team and take his advice.”

Bin Ghadayer believes that the draw will be crucial to how the race pans out.

“With so many fast horses in the race, the post-position draw will determine everything,” he said. “You want a good draw if you want to go to the front, which three to four horses in the race, will want to do.

“While the draw will be important, I’m not going to lose any sleep over how Hypothetical will run. He’s a very versatile horse, who can do it from the front or come from off the pace. He’s won both ways.

“True, there are some very dominant horses in the race who will want to take control early. But they are only horses, and not machines. When you race against horses you can beat them,” he added.

“Nothing is impossible if you try hard enough. And we intend to try our best.”

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