Top Emarati Godolphin trainer, Saeed bin Suroor is set to saddle his multi Group winning champion, Benbatl for the upcoming Gr.1 Dubai World Cup race. The Emarati trainer has saddled 12 British Classic winners including, Lammtarra, and has sent out nine Dubai World Cup winners including the brilliant Dubai Millennium in 2000 and dual Gr.1 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow in 2018 and 2019. He hopes to seal his tenth Dubai World Cup win and take home the 25th Dubai World Cup trophy.
The top conditioner speaks to Ten Furlongs in an exclusive telephone interview about the upcoming Dubai World Cup race meeting:
Q: What would winning on the night of the 25th anniversary of the Dubai World Cup mean to you?
A: For me, it will be a very big achievement to win this year. I have won the race nine-time and last two year consecutively with Thunder Snow.
Q: How is Benbatl doing and what are your plans for him after the Dubai World Cup?
A: Benbatl is doing well. He has raced twice in Dubai and once in Saudi. He is doing well and in good form. I am very happy with him.
After the Dubai World Cup, he will be sent to the UK for a short break and then we will resume his training. He is likely to race in the second half of the British season.
Q: Which is your favourite racecourse in the world?
A: I have a favourite racecourse in each country. I love Meydan in Dubai, Santa Anita in the US, Ascot in the UK and Longchamp in France.
Q: What did you think of the Saudi Racecourse?
A: It is a great racecourse with great tracks. The prize money is substantial which is very good for the industry.
Q: In your opinion, what is the long term impact of two iconic races being raced in the region?
A: More people will be interested in racing. It is very healthy for the industry. Now more people from the Gulf and also people from around the world will buy good quality Thoroughbreds in order to compete in these races.
Q: Do you go to the sales yourself?
A: Yes, I have been going to sales for twenty-six years with HH Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. We visit Ireland, England, America to buy horses. I look at the catalogues beforehand.
Q: Who is your racing leadership hero?
A: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His Highness supports horse racing and he has changed the course of racing history in the past forty years. He is the biggest owner in the world, and I doubt anyone will be able to replicate his contribution in this field.
Everyone is in love with him for his contribution to the racing industry.
Q: What was the first leadership lesson you learnt in racing?
A: The most important less one learns is patience. Patience with the horse and the sport. It takes years. You must give the horse time to develop into his potential. You should try to select the right people to work with. Choosing the best professionals and the best horses makes your life easy.
You win in the end if you give your horse time.
Q: Which is Dubai World Cup race you remember the most?
A: I think the best Dubai World Cup was the year when Dubai Millennium won.
Q: When you started racing your horses in the truly iconic races in this world, from those first events which one(s) do you remember the most?
A: I remember my first Group One very well in 1995 with a horse named Red Bishop at Santa Anita. (He has recorded over 2,000 race wins around the world, with 188 of these at Group One level.)
Q: How did you get involved with racing?
A: My family has been into horse breeding and racing for generations. Even now everyone in my family is involved in the racing, training and breeding industry. I am lucky because I have had the chance to work with the best horses in the world. Things look good.
Q: And finally, what would you like to achieve in the next five years?
A: There are just three major races (in the world) which I am yet to win. It is my goal, to find the right horses and to win these races in the near future.