DUBAI // The Godolphin racing operation has engaged a second trainer in the UAE, who will saddle runners in their famous blue livery on World Cup night on Saturday. Mahmood al Zarooni, who has worked as an assistant to Godolphin's long-time handler Saeed bin Suroor for a year, has been upgraded to a full trainer alongside his mentor by the Al Quoz stable. "It is a very great honour and I am very grateful to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for this opportunity," said al Zarooni, who was previously an assistant to another leading UAE trainer, Ali Rashid al Raihe.
Six horses out of a total of 18 runners will step on to the track on Saturday in Godolphin's blue, but under al Zarooni's name. Among them are World Cup contender Allybar and the UAE 1,000 Guineas-winning Derby hope Siyaadah. Last year's Sheema Classic winner, Eastern Anthem, also runs for al Zarooni, but under the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed. Ahmed Ajtebi, the jockey who won the Dubai Duty Free and Sheema Classic in the 2009 World Cup, will ride for al Zarooni.
"Godolphin is a big operation and we are all one team but I can now have horses running under my name because I have been upgraded," said al Zarooni. "I am very excited to have a World Cup runner in Allybar and I have been very pleased with him." Allybar has had a good year with some notable results, and al Zarooni expects him to give a good account of himself. "He couldn't quite find a way through but he has really been improving this season and he is in the right place," said the trainer. "Ahmed will ride all the horses that run under my name on World Cup night and he is someone that I know well and we are a good team."