Top-rated Gladiatorus going well ahead of his royal challenge

Gladiatorus will try to repeat his Group One success at Royal Ascot for the Godolphin racing operation.

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Gladiatorus, the first Emirati-owned, trained and ridden horse to win a race on Dubai World Cup night will try to repeat his Group One success at Royal Ascot for the Godolphin racing operation. The four-year-old son of Silic was last month designated the highest-rated active turf horse in the world following his US$5million (Dh18.3m) Dubai Duty Free success under Ahmed Ajtebi in March. He is set to contest the Queen Anne Stakes mile on the opening Tuesday of Ascot. Trained by former endurance handler, Mubarak bin Shafya, and now prepared by Saeed bin Suroor, Gladiatorus's achievement looks yet more impressive viewed alongside the recent form of Duty Free runner-up Presvis.

A month after front-running Gladiatorus put three-and-a-quarter lengths between himself and Presvis, the Luca Cumani-trained five-year-old stormed up the home stretch at Hong Kong's Sha Tin to win the Group One Audemars Piguet QE II Cup under Ryan Moore. On a roll, Presvis then travelled to Singapore and finished a nose behind the French horse, Gloria de Campeao. Now in England and anticipating his first start since Dubai, Gladiatorus is likely to face competition from Richard Hannon's Paco Boy, a rival he beat well at Nad al Sheba, as well as Group One Juddmonte Lockinge winner, Virtual, trained by John Gosden.

Virtual could only win by a nose from Godolphin's Alexandros on that occasion - another horse beaten by more than five lengths by Gladiatorus in the Duty Free. Bin Suroor reported that Gladiatorus, who has been training on Godolphin's private track  at Newmarket, was going well ahead of his Queen Anne challenge. A win for the colt, who started his racing career in Italy, would represent a remarkable eighth victory in the race for bin Suroor.

stregoning@thenational.ae