Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Mongolian Saturday is ready to go the distance

Owner Ganbaatar Dagvadorj and trainer Ganbat Enebish want to ‘experience the world’ with their horses as Mongolian Saturday is set for Hong Kong Open and could make stop at Dubai World Cup, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Mongolian Saturday, ridden by jokcey Florent Geroux, won theTwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last month. Sue Kawczynski / AP Photo
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Look out, the Mongolians are coming!

Not content with winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland in October the connections of Mongolian Saturday are now eying the biggest prizes around the world.

The five-year-old gelding will line up on Sunday alongside Al Quoz Sprint one-two Sole Power and Peniaphobia in the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin, having received an invitation from the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

From there Mongolian Saturday will winter at Gulfstream Park, but if it is Meydan’s will then owner Ganbaatar Dagvadorj and trainer Ganbat Enebish could be on their way to the UAE for World Cup night.

“Hong Kong, Dubai, Japan, England, we want to experience the world with our horses,” Enebish told reporters at Sha Tin on Wednesday.

“When we came to the US we thought we would have big success in a year but it took longer than we thought. This is our best horse, but now we understand how to succeed better.”

Read more: Five horses to watch during Hong Kong Open at Sha Tin Racecourse

Neither man is used to failure, which is why their success has taken longer than expected.

Enebish bought his first horse in 1995 and from a country that boasts the 1,000-kilometre Mongolian Derby, it is no surprise that it was an endurance horse that ran over distances of 25 kilometres.

He took up training five years later and has a string in the United States of around 12 horses. Back home he has around 200 horses that includes foals and mares.

Dagvadorj is the business brain. In conjunction with his brother, Tserenjigmed, he runs the blossoming Max Group that has interests in oil, construction, mining, supermarkets and hotels.

According to Forbes, their wider family has 650,000 square feet of commercial space in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital, employs more than 2,000 people and in 2010 reached US$42 million (Dh154.2m) in sales.

Enebish and Dagvadorj first came to the US from Mongolia five years ago to start Mongolian Stable, having scoured the racing world for an advantageous jurisdiction in which to set up.

Japan, Australia and Europe were not considered suitable, and presumably Dubai never entered the equation.

They have now run over 200 horses for 21 victories and $1,349,278 in prize-money. On the back of that success Dagvadorj has made his biggest equine investment yet.

At the Keeneland September sale, where he bought Mongolian Saturday for $60,000, he forked out $100,000 for a horse and now has a farm in Kentucky with eight broodmares.

With money behind them and a Breeders’ Cup win in the ledger they are a product of the American dream. Whether that charmed run will continue on Sunday is another matter.

Mongolian Saturday’s job has become slightly easier after Wesley Ward’s Green Mask, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, suffered foot bruising this week.

The four-year-old gelding, who was also third to Sole Power in the Quoz Sprint at Meydan in March, reportedly suffered the problem on Monday. A farrier has reset the shoe, the foot has been iced and Green Mask is expected to take his chance.

At Keeneland in October Mongolian Saturday was drawn widest of all, but off a moderate pace had the early speed to secure a good position and under Florent Geroux he kicked for home and just held on.

Given Enerbish’s endurance background, a few hundred metres further over Sunday’s distance of 1,200m should not be a problem.

“He is not an easy horse to train, a mind of his own,” Enebish said. “If we do something wrong, he gets a bit crazy and other times he just doesn’t pay attention. When he does everything right he’s very good.”

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