Satish Seemar with over thirty years of experience in the game comes to the Dubai World Cup Carnival with his strongest string yet. Seemar, a passionate yet cautious man, realizes that over eighty per cent of any strings are handicapping quality and then there is the other twenty per cent which rises above.
The trainer is not just responsible for training his charges and polishing them like a craftsman so that they deliver their best, but also one who recognizes the horses which display the ability to propel themselves into the twenty per cent. He is proud of the fact that his string comprises of 102 horses, owned mostly by individual owners in line with the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who would like to see everyone get involved in the Sport of Kings in Dubai.
After three decades, Dubai is home and he enjoys returning from his international travels. This year his stable stars include North America, Secret Ambition, Gladiator King, Saltrin Dubai, Yulong Warrior, Pop The Hood and Commanding. Carnival winner LightThe Lights and All-Out Blitz have also joined Seemar’s string.
Meydan’s leading horse Gladiator King claimed his third lifetime Gr3 in the Al Shindagha against the best local printers. The 4YO son of Curlin, owned by Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, was a private purchase last year from America, where he was a Gr.3 winner in the Hutcheson Stakes over 1400m. He proved his prowess over 200m shorter in his local bow and looks to have benefited, as well, from the running for his connections.
Gladiator King and Mickael Barzalona overtook USA invader Truck Salesman and Fernando Jara in the final yards. The final margin was one length, with another 1 ¼ lengths back to Ibn Malik and Drafted, who were separated by a nose and slowly closing on their aforementioned rivals.
“Things went differently than how we expected, but he still ran a great race,” Barzalona said. “He’s (Gladiator King) a lovely horse he’s easy to ride and hopefully there’s more to come. I was a little scared of Drafted to be fair, but I feel my horse is still improving and going the right away.”
“The horse even that, even at home, knows what he’s doing and knows where the finish line is,” Seemar added after the race. “He’s not one of those who waste energy, but he is a powerhouse horse and he knew what was going on in the race. He was stalking them and waiting and finished the job when Mickael asked him. It’s good to have a horse like that.”
Gr2-placed All Out Blitz, who was recently transferred to Zabeel Stables from the Red Stables, disappointed in the AlShindagha Sprint won by Gladiator King, but Seemar is confident the horse has more to give.
1600m UAE 2000 Guineas Trial winner Commandinghas have been steadily going up in class while crowd favourite, Secret Ambition “has the much better form (this season) and is another one to watch”, according to Seemar.
“Salter in Dubai looks in good form for the Maktoum Challenge R2,” added Seemar.
Only seven went to post for the Thoroughbred1000m handicap at Jebel Ali last month which developed into a duel over the final 300m between local debutant Alkaraama and Leading Spirit, under RichardMullen. The latter hit the front passing the 200m pole with Crowley’s mount trying to fight back but unable to go with the winner who scored going away for Satish Seemar and owner Mohd Khaleel Ahmed, doubling his career tallies in the process. This was a fourth UAE outing for the 4-year-old Exceed and Excel gelding, having previously won once from five starts in Britain for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby.
“It is great racing is back here at the people's racecourse,” Seemar said. “It is such a popular venue and was sorely missed. This horse loves it here and will be back, probably with the Listed Jebel AliSprint as his main target.”
Another top horse from Zabeel Stables, PopThe Hood owned by Touch Gold Racingsailed home a swift winner of the 1200mLincoln Navigator handicap (for horses rated 75-89) in his last start.
2019 Dubai World Cup contender disappointed in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 due to torn feet. His jockey Richard Mullen said after the race: “He ran a super race, but unfortunately he did the same thing he did in the (Dubai) World Cup, where he ripped a patch of his foot and its bleeding pretty badly. I thought he got tired, but it was his foot and it was sore. That’s the downside to him; he has bad feet. Hopefully, we can patch him up and come back with him.”
“They went very fast early and it was a blitzing pace and I guess this is how it goes,” Seemar added. “In a result like this, there are no excuses. North America usually is a good first run, but the speed was really fast early.”
Seemar considers himself an educator for those of his owners who are traditionally non-horse people but want to understand the industry and their own horses better. Internationally there are seminars to create awareness about horse ownership. The master of Zabeel Stables believes in creating awareness about what it means to own a horse, what are the rules and what is involved.
He is already thinking about the Saudi Cup happening in his back yard and which horses could be sent to compete.