The prospects for Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor at the Dubai World Cup on March 28 look more than encouraging.
With wins for African Story and Hunter's Light at Meydan's Super Saturday he is sure to have a say in proceedings on the night of the world's richest race.
But Saturday also saw Versac PY record his first victory in more than two years in the Purebred Arabian race, which sets him up handsomely for a tilt at the Kahayla Classic on World Cup night.
Here are five things we learnt from the results at Meydan’s Super Saturday:
You cannot write off super Saeed
It may not have looked it leading up to Super Saturday, but Saeed bin Suroor appears to have strong claims in the Dubai World Cup.
African Story looked to hate the dirt on his comeback at Meydan Racecourse and did so again when shuffled back behind Henry Clay in Saturday’s Al Maktoum Challenge. Once in the clear, though, he motored down the straight to beat stablemate Prince Bishop.
African Story may not have the class of California Chrome, the American Horse of the Year, but he became the first Dubai World Cup victor to win another race since Curlin in 2008. The eight-year-old chestnut gelding has an admirable attitude, and Bin Suroor looks to have two decent arrows to fire in his search for a remarkable seventh win in the World Cup on March 28.
Hunter’s Light may have been flattered
Hunter’s Light was a wide-margin winner of the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Saturday. Although jockey James Doyle said it was the first time the Bin Suroor-trained seven-year-old horse had truly stamped his mark at the highest level, that has to be open to debate.
With Mike de Kock’s Vercingetorix retired on Saturday because of a ligament injury the Jebel Hatta was weak by Group 1 standards – according to official ratings it was no surprise that Trade Storm finished second.The Dubai Turf on World Cup night will not be the most strongly contested race on the card so Hunter’s Light may well get away with it if he can back-up this performance.
Tamarkuz should go for the Godolphin Mile
Tamarkuz picked up his third victory in succession in the Burj Nahaar and the son of American sire Speightstown looks to have an excellent chance should his owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, Minister of Finance, elect to try to add to Soft Falling Rain’s 2013 win on World Cup night in the Godolphin Mile. Looking at Tamarkuz’s breeding, there are arguments for believing he may well stay the 2,000 metres of the Dubai World Cup, in preference to the 1,600m of the Burj Nahaar and Godolphin Mile.
Tamarkuz saved plenty of ground by hugging the rail under Paul Hanagan, much as he had done in the Firebreak Stakes last month. Tamarkuz has never raced beyond 1,600m in 12 career starts and may not have much more to give over 400m further in a World Cup that could be a very hot race.
Irrepressible Kieren Fallon
In the lead-up to the Meydan Sprint on Saturday few would have picked out Sir Maximilian as the winner. Then in running Ahtoug had checked Sir Maximilian on his way through with 350m to go, but Kieren Fallon composed himself, switched his mount to the outside and got to work with a great result.
You cannot count how many revivals Fallon has had in his chequered but brilliant career and in Sir Maximilian he has an outside chance of World Cup night success in the Quoz Sprint.
Trainer Erwan Charpy’s heart had almost broken given the number of times Versac PY has finished as the bridesmaid, but the eight-year-old Purebred Arabian rolled back the years on Saturday in the Maktoum Challenge for his breed.
Versac PY had finished runner-up in the Maktoum Challenge for the past two seasons and has been fourth, second and seventh in the Kahayla Classic on World Cup night.
The last time Versac PY won was at Abu Dhabi in 2012 under the retired Richard Hills, but his victory at Meydan took Charpy to 498 career wins in the UAE.
He will return to Meydan on March 28 aiming to provide owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid a seventh Kahayla Classic.
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