NEWMARKET, England // Just over a fortnight after Saeed bin Suroor picked up a seventh Dubai World Cup Carnival trainers' championship and a fifth Dubai World Cup courtesy of African Story the Godolphin trainer has made a timely click into gear in England ahead of Thursday's Group 3 Craven Stakes.
The English spring has rarely been a good time of year for Bin Suroor and before Wednesday he had sent out 36 runners in the month of April going back to 2010 for a return of just three winners.
One of those was Active Spirit, who won by five lengths on Monday for Bin Suroor’s first success in the month of April since 2012. On Wednesday, the momentum was kept up when he saddled True Story to throw down the gauntlet for the English Derby.
True Story won the Listed Fielden Stakes by seven lengths under Silvestre De Sousa and will be seen next month in either the Dante Stakes at York or in the Derby Trial at Lingfield Park.
It all bodes so well for Be Ready on Thursday afternoon, who is generally seen as Godolphin’s best hope of adding to their only success in the English 2,000 Guineas with Island Sands in 1999 and he holds a major chance in Thursday’s feature.
Be Ready was an easy winner of a Listed race on only his second start in September and Bin Suroor was not talking down his charge’s chances.
“He is one of the nicest two-year-olds in my stable,” the trainer said. “He looks stronger – he was weak last year – and is quiet, calm, relaxed and happy. He has done really well.”
Godolphin colleague Charlie Appleby was out of luck with his four runners on Wednesday. Wedding Ring finished only sixth to Richard Hannon’s Magnus Maximus in the Millions Sprint. The heavily fancied Majeyda ran third to Sandiva, ridden by Frankie Dettori, in the feature Nell Gwyn Stakes to beat stablemate Folk Melody into eighth, while Portamento never figured earlier in the afternoon.
Back in Dubai, Mike De Kock’s Sanshaawes, Vercingetorix and Variety Club will land in Hong Kong on Monday ahead of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Champions Mile.
The entries to the Champions Mile were revealed on Wednesday and Variety Club, the dual South African horse of the year and impressive Godolphin Mile winner, will face 13 runners including Mshawish, who was fourth to Just A Way in the Dubai Duty Free at Meydan Racecourse last month.
Gordon Lord Byron, the 2013 Dubai Golden Shaheen runner and recent Group 1 winner in Australia, is also in line for a place in the line-up.
Sanshaawes and Vercingetorix are entered in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, which will be staged a week on Sunday, with the Champions Mile being held on the first Sunday in May.
“Variety Club impressed when winning in Dubai, while Gordon Lord Byron has proven himself time and again in the very best races on three continents,” William Nader, the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Executive Director of Racing, said.
“Added to that, the home team is bursting with class so the race promises to be world-class racing at its very best.”
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