Dubai World Cup: Saeed bin Suroor dreams of Gifts Of Gold

Gifts Of Gold on way to victory in The Red Sea Turf Handicap in Riyadh. (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia)
Gifts Of Gold on way to victory in The Red Sea Turf Handicap in Riyadh. (Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia)

Dubai - Bin Suroor said he used a very nice trick to train Gifts Of Gold

By James Jose

Published: Thu 25 Mar 2021, 9:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 21 Feb 2022, 3:14 PM

When it comes to the post position draw, he doesn’t quite have the rub of the green on most occasions. But Saeed bin Suroor is a man who doesn’t believe in luck and truth be told, he works his magic to get the job done.

The Emirati handler’s impressive body of work speaks for itself — nine Dubai World Cup wins — the most by any trainer and an astonishing 38 Dubai World Cup winners and counting.

There have been many memorable ones over the course of 25 years of this prestigious event, not least the special Dubai Millennium at the beginning of the noughties and the red-hot Thunder Snow, the only one to win the Dubai World Cup twice, and on the bounce, at that.

And this time, Bin Suroor hedges his bets on Gifts Of Gold, one of a triumvirate of runners from the Godolphin stables, with the other two being Mystic Guide, the charge of Michael Stidham, and French raider Magny Cours, saddled by Andre Fabre.

But before he talked up the chances of Gifts Of Gold, the six-year-old Invincible Spirit gelding, at this year’s landmark renewal on Saturday night, bin Suroor’s mind went back to Thunder Snow, who is now enjoying a stud career.

“I won it nine times only!” bin Suroor said, speaking of his own record, at the Meydan Racecourse on Thursday morning.

“It is hard to win but you have to send the best to win it and Thunder Snow is going to be in people's consciousness for a very long time because he is the only horse to win the Dubai World Cup twice. I like this horse a lot because he is kind in the stable and easy to train and is a very beautiful animal, plus he’s a class act on the racetrack. He won two Group 1 races in France on the turf and won twice at the Dubai World Cup. He was amazing,” added the 54-year-old.

Coming to Gifts Of Gold, who won the $2.5 million The Red Sea Turf Handicap over 3000 metres on Saudi Cup night recently, Bin Suroor revealed that the real reason he ran him in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge during the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan, was to get him accustomed to the dirt surface that he would encounter, after his previous starts were on turf and once on the All-Weather surface.

“He’s doing good and after he won over a mile and a quarter by six lengths at Chelmsford it made me confident about bringing him to Dubai. The reason why he ran first time here in Dubai was to adjust him to dirt race in here before taking him to Saudi and when I took him there people were asking me why I ran him over that distance when he is a mile and a quarter horse and I think he was a 50/1 but I felt he was the horse and he looked good,” explained bin Suroor.

“I talked with the jockey (Pat Cosgrave) before the race and told him he needed to be kept close to the speed like in second or third. It would be great for him and I wanted to give him a clear run in the end and Pat said, ‘ok’. Pat knew him well and he rides him in the morning and there he won nicely. Now we will prepare him for the Dubai World Cup which is back over a mile and a quarter. It is a tough race, but to me it is an open race, but the horse is doing good,” he added.

And bin Suroor said he used a very nice trick to train Gifts Of Gold.

“I’ve confused him a little really by taking him from a mile and a quarter to two miles and now bringing him back to a mile and a quarter. The horse must be given a chance. He’s a nice horse. A big and strong horse and the last piece of work for him was last Thursday and he worked really really good and then we will give him a chance to see how he goes,” bin Suroor said.

And the draw didn’t matter for bin Suroor after Gifts Of Gold, drew the widest gate 14.

“I know the draw is 14, but I never choose a good draw. It’s always No.1 or No1.4 but luckily, the horse is good enough to win the race. Christophe (Soumillon) knows the track well and he’s won twice at Meydan and the Dubai World Cup. And he knows he needs to jump well and get a nice position on him. And if he can do that from that draw, the horse will definitely have a chance,” opined bin Suroor.

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