Trained by the master of Dubai’s Zabeel Stables, North America is all set to take on the world’s greatest this weekend, in the US$20m spectacle.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov owned Dubawi gelding was third behind Kimbear and Secret Ambition, in his last start, the Al Maktoum Challenge R1. The impressive front-runner has arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier this week and his conditioner, Satish Seemar seems to be well pleased with his Group One winner, “He and my other horses arrived around 11.45, I believe, and all went well with the flight”
“He’s been a great horse for us at Zabeel and he’s won all three legs of the (Al) Maktoum Challenge at Meydan, so we are taking our best horse to Saudi Arabia,” Seemar said. “It’s very special for us.”
Seemar confirmed North America will be ridden by Richard Mullen.
Seemar’s plans for North America were foiled by unexpected bad weather last year. Looking back Seemar says, “North America wasn’t tired, he just didn’t like the muddy, sloppy track. Heavy rain on Dubai World Cup Day badly affected the conditions of the track.”
North America is a 6yo son of Dubawi who began his career in the UK before being transferred to the UAE in 2016. He won his first four starts at Meydan over a mile, including the Gr. 3 Firebreak Stakes. In fact, Seemar’s favourite racing moment with North America was when he claimed the fire break. “He was very impressed with his three wins before that winning by an average of 7-8 lengths each time so we were not surprised when he crossed the line in front again in the Gr3 Firebreak Stakes.” Says trainer Satish Seemar.
Seemar purchased him for a client at the Racing in Dubai Sale. “He was always a very impressive and imposing looking horse but he has strengthened and grown again in the year that we have had him.” Said Seemar of the bay gelding. “For such a big, strong horse he is a true professional. Like any racehorse, he likes to go to the races and enjoys the atmosphere of the crowds. The amazing part of having him in training is that his work rider Abdul Sattar, is a very fragile, small looking person with great hands who goes to prove that strength doesn’t always work on these powerful athletes,” said Seemar with pride.
Another charge who is expected to make his appearance on Saudi Cup day is Seemar’s new American import who has been unbeaten in his two starts at Meydan, Gladiator King.
"We are sending our best middle-distance horse, our best sprinter with Gladiator King (USA) and a very promising 3-year-old that we really like in Lake Causeway (USA). I can’t do much else to compliment these races.”
The 4YO Curlin colt is owned by Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, moved to 2-for-2 in the UAE has also taken the Dubawi Stakes (G3) on the opening night of the DWC Carnival and then the Gr.3 Al Shindagha Sprint in his last start.
Seemar is widely travelled and has studied horses under many greats including Monty Roberts. “
Monty Roberts, who taught me horsemanship, is my guru.” Says Seemar “Till this day we are still in touch. Any questions I may have about a horse I’m confused about, all I have to do is call and discuss it with him. I try to visit and spend time with him once a year. After I finished my Equine Science studies in California, I was fortunate enough to work with Taylor Made farms in Lexington, Kentucky. I consider the Taylor family one of the top business families in the racing and breeding profession. I owe a lot to them for teaching me the business side of my profession. Due to these top two organisations (Monty Roberts and Taylor Made farms) I was lucky enough to be offered the job by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to take over Zabeel Stables where I have now resided for the last 27 years.”
When asked about his fondest memory, “The charming thing about Dubai is that there is not just one fondest memory. If you ask me, in my business the memories are amazing. (I have seen) The introduction of International racing, the Dubai World Cup, the amazing construction of Meydan Racecourse. Along with this, we horsemen based here in Dubai get to see the world’s top racehorses coming here to compete with the horses that we are involved with.” muses Satish.