Emirati legend Saeed bin Suroor reaches magical milestone at Kentucky

Saeed bin Suroor achieves the 500th Group win of his career at Keeneland, USA with the Classic-winning filly, Mawj


Leslie Wilson Jr

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Dubawi filly Mawj on way to victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in Lexington. — X
Dubawi filly Mawj on way to victory in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in Lexington. — X

Published: Sun 15 Oct 2023, 6:18 PM

No frontier is too far for Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor who on Saturday travelled four thousand miles across the Atlantic to score a major success at Kentucky, USA and bring up a milestone 500th Grade 1 victory.

Bin Suroor has never shied away from the challenges of targeting races which are outside the comfort zone of his training bases in Dubai or Newmarket, England.

His fearlessness was rewarded yet again when he shipped the smart Dubawi filly Mawj to win the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in Lexington.

The Classic-winning filly Mawj enjoyed the perfect return from a lengthy layoff when dominating her eight rivals for a half-length victory under champion jockey Oisin Murphy.

Bin Suroor was using the race as a stepping stone to the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Santa Anita Park, where she will be aimed at either the Mile or the Filly & Mare Turf.

“Thank God, it’s great to get 500 Group wins and, to do it in a Grade 1 with a Classic winner is a great result for everybody,” said Bin Suroor who has recorded over 2,000 race wins around the world, with almost 200 at Group 1 level.

"To come to America, to Keeneland, and to win is a great feeling. The plan was to run her here to prepare for the Breeders' Cup.

“It looks to me like she has plenty of speed as a miler and she stayed nine furlongs here, but we'll see,” he added.

“The Mile might be the best option for her, but I want to decide closer to the time and put her in the right race.”

Bin Suroor has scored multiple Grade 1 wins in America over the years, the most notable being with Sulamani in the G1 Arlington Million in 2003 and Daylami (1999) and Fantastic Light (2001) in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor. — KT file
Emirati trainer Saeed bin Suroor. — KT file

Back home in Dubai, he has been a dominant force winning nine Dubai World Cups and has taken home the top trainer award at the Dubai World Cup Carnival on eight occasions.

He is also a four-time champion trainer in the UK.

“It’s been an incredible journey and I have been very fortunate and privileged to be able to train such high-quality horses for Godolphin since 1995,” he said.

“Every win is special, be it in Dubai, England, Ireland, France or America. They are all important for the team, who work so hard behind the scenes to keep the horses fit and happy so that they can perform to the best of their ability.

“Milestones are good, as they can motivate you. I just think about the next race, the next challenge. That’s what really drives my passion for this sport which has been such a big part of my life.”

Oisin Murphy, who has forged a strong relationship with Saeed bin Suroor, commented: “I am delighted to win for Godolphin and Saeed.

"It’s Saeed’s 500th Group win, so it means the world for me to ride it for him.”


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