New trainer in at the deep end

Al Zarooni is excited by promotion and the former assistant is looking forward to easing the workload of Saeed bin Suroor.

The trainer Mahmoud al Zarooni says he is looking forward to operating his own stable.
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DUBAI // Godolphin's new trainer Mahmoud al Zarooni has been charged with nurturing some of the stable's new crop of two-year-olds in Dubai and at their Newmarket base, the operation's racing manager confirmed yesterday. Simon Crisford said al Zarooni, recently upgraded from assistant to fully-fledged trainer, was required to lessen the load on Saeed bin Suroor, who has prepared horses for the boys in blue for 16 years.

"Last year Saeed had more than 200 horses and we don't want to increase the size of the stable any further and neither does Saeed," said Crisford after morning work at Godolphin's Al Quoz yard. "Mahmoud has come along at the right time to share the workload and has proven himself as someone capable of doing that." Al Zarooni will be thrown in the deep end, with his task of bringing on the all-important two-year-olds. The best of these horses are destined to become Godolphin's Classics contenders in their three-year-old seasons.

"With more two-year-olds expected to come in, the time is right for Godolphin to employ two trainers," said Crisford. "Godolphin has already been allocated a team of two-year-olds for 2010 but there are more to come in and Mahmoud will be taking care of many of these horses. "Saeed and I talked it through with Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and we all agreed it would be a good idea to have another trainer."

Al Zarooni, 33, who saddles his first runners for the international stable at Saturday's Dubai World Cup meeting, will train at the Al Asfa yard on the outskirts of Dubai when in the UAE and Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks yard in Newmarket when in Europe. Born in Dubai, al Zarooni has worked as an assistant at Grandstand stables with the man currently topping the UAE trainers' championship, Ali Rashid al Raihe, and also spent time with Mubarak bin Shafya, who saddled Eastern Anthem and Gladiatorus to Dubai Sheema Classic and Dubai Duty Free victory in 2009.

He worked as assistant under bin Suroor for just over a year before his promotion and said he is looking forward to saddling horses under his own name. "It is very exciting," he said. "It has been a privilege being part of the Godolphin team under Saeed for the last year and I now look forward to the challenge of operating my own stable." His seven runners on World Cup day include Calming Influence in the Godolphin Mile, Frozen Power and Siyaadah in the UAE Derby, Calvados Blues in the Dubai Duty Free, Anmar and Eastern Anthem in the Dubai Sheema Classic and Allybar in the Dubai World Cup.

Most of al Zarooni's World Cup runners will be ridden by the Emirati jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi, who rode Eastern Anthem to victory in the 2009 Sheema Classic. He said he was looking forward to working with the new trainer. "I have known Mahmoud for four or five years now as I was apprenticed to Ali Rashid when he was the assistant there," said Ajtebi. "We also worked together with Mubarak [bin Shafya] as well. He is a good trainer and we are a strong team and it is going to be very exciting to see what we can do on World Cup day."