Ahead of the Dubai World Cup, on Saturday, The National has spoken to trainers and race officials about their fondest memories of the event. Today's subject is trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
It is hard to find a horse like him. You have to wait a long time for a good one. Even when Dubai Millennium was a yearling he was something special. He was just a beautiful animal. I just knew that he was going to be great.
It was about the way he looked. He had something about him and he stood out from all the others in every way. Sometimes you find good race horses, but they are not that – he was basically a picture of horse racing quality.
It wasn’t only me who thought this, either. Whenever a jockey, trainer or anybody came to see us they always looked at him and wanted to know who he was – he really was different.
It is like a pyramid. There is always one at the top and then it goes down from there – that is horse racing, really.
Of course, as we all know looks aren’t everything, and Dubai Millennium was a professional worker and showed that in his morning work.
Ten days before the Dubai World Cup in 2000 he did a piece of work that was just unbelievable. He was flying up the gallops.
When he raced in France or England, he beat the best horses there, but he didn’t train like that beforehand. It had just all come together.
On the day, there was one big screen and I stood in front of it, but I was also watching it live because, at Nad Al Sheba, they jumped out far away and you couldn’t see it. I wanted to watch every bit of the race.
He won so well and it was such a great feeling. I have won the Dubai World Cup five times, but nothing really was like that.
Dubai Millennium could have been a great sire and it was sad that he only had one season before he died. His son, Dubawi, is one of the best stallions in the world and his progeny seem to like the Tapeta at Meydan.
It is not going to happen after a year and may take the rest of my career, but in my heart I truly think we will find another Dubai Millennium at Godolphin.
We have a lot of good horses. Take Farhh last season for instance. I liked him a lot. He had problems after every race, even when he won the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May he was only 80 per cent fit.
Of the other winners I have had Street Cry in 2002 would be next – and he has become a great sire, too.
Moon Ballad in 2003 won easily and Almutawakel won it for the first time for me in 1999, which gave me such confidence as I then thought I could win it again.
It is a tough race and extremely hard to win. People often forget that. Most trainers don’t even have a runner in the race, so I’m very lucky.
You need quality to win the World Cup because people are coming in from all over the world. Last year, I thought Animal Kingdom was going to win, or at least be very hard to beat. He was a Kentucky Derby winner, whereas this year it is a very open race.
I haven’t won the World Cup since Electrocutionist in 2006. Prince Bishop and African Story are doing very well.
We have horses from England, Ireland, Japan and Hong Kong in the World Cup but my horses have the right rating and deserve to be there. Now we need just a little bit of luck.
Saeed bin Suroor was talking to Geoffrey Riddle of The National
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