Belief riding on True Story and Ihtimal for Saeed bin Suroor at Epsom

The Godolphin trainer is delighted with how the "tough" horses are progressing, as he and Fallon team up to win the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes.
Sharestan had not raced since last year but Kieren Fallon had no problems winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes race from Sheikhzayedroad at the Sandown racecourse in Esher, England. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Sharestan had not raced since last year but Kieren Fallon had no problems winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes race from Sheikhzayedroad at the Sandown racecourse in Esher, England. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

LONDON // Saeed bin Suroor’s preparations for next week’s Derby meeting at Epsom gathered pace over the past two days, and the Godolphin trainer is delighted with how Ihtimal and True Story are progressing.

Ihtimal worked over a mile on the Al Bahathri artificial surface at Newmarket on Wednesday as Bin Suroor puts the finishing touches to the dual UAE Classic winner ahead of the English Oaks on Friday.

Ihtimal failed to add to her UAE 1,000 Guineas and UAE Oaks victories when an encouraging third in the English 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket earlier this month, and will bid to become Bin Suroor’s third Oaks winner after Moonshell in 1995 and Kazzia in 2002.

True Story worked over seven furlongs under Kieren Fallon, alongside handicapper Al Saham and Marc Halford in the presence of Bin Suroor at Newmarket yesterday. True Story attempts to lay to rest his disappointing run in the Dante Stakes, when the horse finished third on rain-softened ground at York Racecourse two weeks ago.

Only Workforce has turned defeat at York in to victory at Epsom, highlighting the difficult task that lies ahead for the Darley-bred colt, especially with the forecast going next week revealed yesterday to be on the easy side of good.

Fallon’s faith in True Story was unwavering after their Dante setback, and Bin Suroor believes that Godolphin’s first Derby victory is in the lap of the gods next Saturday.

“We need to forget York, as I believe he is much better than that,” the trainer said.

“I always have believed in him, since he was a two-year-old. He is a much-better horse than what he has showed. A mile and a half will be no problem for him, and neither will Epsom.

“True Story and Ihtimal are tough, improving horses with big hearts.”

Bin Suroor and Fallon teamed up on Thursday night to win the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown with Sharestan, who edged out Sheikhzayedroad by a nose. Sharestan has not raced since last year, and has been gelded, and now heads to the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in just over two weeks.

“He’s tough and genuine, he goes on any ground and stays well,” Fallon said.

At the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference in London on Wednesday, the subject of how best to attract breeders to the sport surfaced.

One aspect to the discussion was prize money, and today’s HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup at Newbury Racecourse carries a purse of £70,000, which dwarfs not only the six thoroughbred races on the card, but makes it the most lucrative race in Britain.

Twelve runners have been declared and are headed by French raiders Nashmi, trained by Alban De Mieulle on behalf of Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa, and Djet Taouy, from Jean-Francois Bernard’s yard.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid is represented by three runners, with Tawaazun and jockey Tadhg O’Shea leading the line ahead of Azizi and Djakbar Des Forges.

The Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival also stages the Sheikh Fatima bint Mubarek Ladies World Championship race, which has attracted 14 runners and carries a purse of £25,000 (Dh153,434).

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 31, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one