Bin Suroor seeks inspiration from history in Zabeel Mile

Emirati handler hoping Real World can reprise 2022 win in the Group 2 contest at bumper $3m Meydan card


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Godolphin's Real World winning the Group 2 Prix Daniel Waldenstein at Longchamp racecourse in France. — Godolphin X
Godolphin's Real World winning the Group 2 Prix Daniel Waldenstein at Longchamp racecourse in France. — Godolphin X

Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 11:31 PM

Veteran Emirati handler Saeed bin Suroor will be hoping that history will repeat itself when he saddles Real World in the Group 2 Zabeel Mile, the feature race of a bumper $3.1million nine-race card at Meydan Racecourse on Friday.

Two seasons ago Real World led home a five-timer for Team Godolphin in the turf contest before going on to compete in some of the world’s best races, including the Saudi Cup, Dubai World Cup (G1), Lockinge Stakes (G1) and Queen Anne Stakes (G1).

This year, the seven-year-old son of Dark Angel has had two starts where he finished fourth in last November’s Group 2 Bahrain International Trophy before finishing fifth in the Group 2 Al Rashidya at Meydan’s Festive Friday fixture on December 22.

Commenting on his stable star’s chances in the Zabeel Mile, where he faces some strong opposition led by San Donato, Marbaan, and First Constitution, Bin Suroor told Khaleej Times: “Real World won this contest a couple of years ago and ran two excellent races over a mile in Europe the same season.

“He has been campaigned over further distance but should appreciate the drop back in trip to the mile.

“He still has plenty of enthusiasm and is a high-class horse. I would like to believe that he has improved for his run in the Al Rashidiya and I’m hoping for a good performance from this lovely horse,” said the Emirati horseman, who is looking to win the race for a third time after Do It All (2012) and Third Set (2008).

Real World will have the services of multiple Group 1-winning jockey Cristian Demuro.

Among his 12 rivals is the Doug Watson-trained sprinter-miler San Donato who is a genuine threat on the evidence of his narrow second in the Listed National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi just over a month ago.

Marbaan represents the in-form Jebel Ali Stables but the mile could be a bit of a stretch while Musabeh Al Mheri’s First Constitution switches to turf after a good effort in the final round of the Al Maktoum Challenge last season.

The preceding race, the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes, is another lead-up race to the big sprint contests during the season. Having been won by some of the UAE’s most illustrious speedsters including two Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) winners, Reynaldothewizard and Switzerland, it is a path that many connections with big race aspirations will be hoping to follow.

Sprinters from Zabeel Stables have dominated the six-furlong dirt contest since it began in 2014, winning it six times, and it is understandable that trainer Bhupat Seemar is eager to build on the amazing record by saddling three interesting runners – Tuz, Leading Spirit, and Morning.

He commented: “Tuz is in great form. He’s had a run, carrying a two-kilo penalty where he was second. It was just unfortunate he got the worst draw in the race - he was drawn 13 out of 13, which is not the most ideal thing.

“But on the other hand, he has a lot of speed and gate speed. He likes to get up there. So, we are not going to change much because of the draw.

“He’s going to go up there in front and rock ‘n’ roll,” added Seemar.

“Leading Spirt just got beat in his last run. He got checked in the last half a furlong which cost him the race, not to take anything away from the winner, Colour Up.

“Then we have the youngster, the four-year-old Morning he won from a really wide draw carrying 60 kills so he does deserve his chance,” he added.

“Obviously these are some of the top sprinters in the country so we’ll see where he stacks up in there.”

Watson looks to have the ace in the pack with Sound Money who had the measure of Tuz over course and distance on his UAE debut in March.

He went on to compete in the Golden Shaheen where he appeared to be caught out for speed in the final furlong. This should be the perfect starting point for another lovely sprinter from the Watson stable.

Earlier in the evening, Bin Suroor saddles the exciting Newbury scorer Movie Maker in the Jumeirah Guineas Trial for Classic hopefuls. His Godolphin teammate Charlie Appleby unleashes Legend Of Time, who was fifth in the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket in September.

The nine-race card, which is part of the season-long Dubai World Cup Carnival, has a 5:30 start with the 2,000 metre Zabeel Turf Handicap for three-year-olds.

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