Hunter’s Light won Saturday’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta, but despite jockey’s James Doyle’s praise has not impressed.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Hunter’s Light won Saturday’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta, but despite jockey’s James Doyle’s praise has not impressed. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Super Saturday signs point the way to Dubai World Cup night

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.

Versac PY

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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Started: May 2018

Founder: Arjun Mohan

Based: Dubai

Size: 23 employees 

Funding: Raised $5.8m in a seed fund round in December 2018. Backers include Y Combinator, Beco Capital, Venturesouq, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, Paul Buchheit, Justin Mateen, Matt Mickiewicz, SOMA, Dynamo and Global Founders Capital


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Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

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Started: 2022
Based: Dubai
Founders: Onur Elgun, Mustafa Bosca and Muhammed Yildirim
Sector: Climate tech
Investment stage: $1 million raised in seed funding


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Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

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Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal

Starring: Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson

Rating: 4/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

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Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

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Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
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Translated from the Spanish by Camilo A. Ramirez

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Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
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2pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (Dirt) 1,200m, Winner: AF Thayer, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer).

2.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,200m, Winner: AF Sahwa, Nathan Crosse, Mohamed Ramadan.

3pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,000m, Winner: AF Thobor, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 2,000m, Winner: AF Mezmar, Szczepan Mazur, Ernst Oertel.

4pm: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup presented by Longines (TB) Dh 200,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Galvanize, Nathan Cross, Doug Watson.

4.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 40,000 (D) 1,700m, Winner: Ajaj, Bernardo Pinheiro, Mohamed Daggash.

Retirement funds heavily invested in equities at a risky time

Pension funds in growing economies in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have a sharply higher percentage of assets parked in stocks, just at a time when trade tensions threaten to derail markets.

Retirement money managers in 14 geographies now allocate 40 per cent of their assets to equities, an 8 percentage-point climb over the past five years, according to a Mercer survey released last week that canvassed government, corporate and mandatory pension funds with almost $5 trillion in assets under management. That compares with about 25 per cent for pension funds in Europe.

The escalating trade spat between the US and China has heightened fears that stocks are ripe for a downturn. With tensions mounting and outcomes driven more by politics than economics, the S&P 500 Index will be on course for a “full-scale bear market” without Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts, Citigroup’s global macro strategy team said earlier this week.

The increased allocation to equities by growth-market pension funds has come at the expense of fixed-income investments, which declined 11 percentage points over the five years, according to the survey.

Hong Kong funds have the highest exposure to equities at 66 per cent, although that’s been relatively stable over the period. Japan’s equity allocation jumped 13 percentage points while South Korea’s increased 8 percentage points.

The money managers are also directing a higher portion of their funds to assets outside of their home countries. On average, foreign stocks now account for 49 per cent of respondents’ equity investments, 4 percentage points higher than five years ago, while foreign fixed-income exposure climbed 7 percentage points to 23 per cent. Funds in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are among those seeking greater diversification in stocks and fixed income.

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Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices


5pm: Handicap (TB) Dh100,000, 2,400m
Winner: Recordman, Richard Mullen (jockey), Satish Seemar (trainer)

5.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh 70,000, 2,200m​​​​​​​
Winner: AF Taraha, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic Prestige (PA) Dh110,000, 1,400m​​​​​​​
Winner: Dhafra, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

6.30pm: Abu Dhabi Colts Classic Prestige (PA) Dh110,000, 1,400m​​​​​​​
Winner: Maqam, Fabrice Veron, Eric Lemartinel

7pm: Handicap (PA) Dh85,000, 1,600m​​​​​​​
Winner: AF Momtaz, Fernando Jara, Musabah Al Muhairi

7.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000, 1,600m​​​​​​​
Winner: Optimizm, Patrick Cosgrave, Abdallah Al Hammadi

Global institutions: BlackRock and KKR

US-based BlackRock is the world's largest asset manager, with $5.98 trillion of assets under management as of the end of last year. The New York firm run by Larry Fink provides investment management services to institutional clients and retail investors including governments, sovereign wealth funds, corporations, banks and charitable foundations around the world, through a variety of investment vehicles.

KKR & Co, or Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, is a global private equity and investment firm with around $195 billion of assets as of the end of last year. The New York-based firm, founded by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, invests in multiple alternative asset classes through direct or fund-to-fund investments with a particular focus on infrastructure, technology, healthcare, real estate and energy.


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