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North America’s success under Seemar should work wonders for the Racing in Dubai Sale

Author: Duane Fonseca


I T’S FINALLY here: On Saturday, nine races that make up the Dubai World Cup card, which boasts of a staggering $30million in prize money, will be contested by horses for connections far and wide. As ever, it’s going to be brilliant. There’s no doubt about that. And even racing connections arriving from the different corners of the planet rate Dubai World Cup night racing as one of the best days, if not THE best perhaps, for the sport worldwide. The world’s sights will be trained on Dubai Saturday evening when there are some truly prestigious races to be fought over including the Group 1 Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians where the spotlight is bound to be on the top class American raider Paddy’s Day, who stayed back in the UAE after his 13th place finish in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown which, at a massive €1.2million, offers the richest Purebred Arabian prize purse in the world. Paddy’s Day has adapted well to life in Dubai and has shown a particular affinity for the Meydan dirt where he won the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah and the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1, while placing second and third in Round Two and Three.

But there’s a lot he’ll have to do considering the quality of the field that has assembled for a shot at the $1 million on offer with Ziyadd, Barnamaj and Al Zahir all seemingly in fine form among many other likely candidates. American horses seem to be dominating headlines in nearly all of the races with West Coast and Forever Unbridled labelled as two of the top prospects to land the feature $10m Dubai World Cup. But what a story it would be if, somehow, North America’s fairytale were to include a Dubai World Cup success in it. Can you imagine what it would do for the Racing in Dubai Sale (RDS) from which the Godolphin offering was snapped up for a bargain Dh140,000 in April 2016. Trained by Satish Seemar and whose ownership changed hands on the eve of this race last year, North America’s success has been unparalleled in recent memory.

A total of four RDS horses have received nods for races during the course of the night and North America will be joined on the trip to Meydan by stablemates Raven’s Corner and Secret Ambition, who will both bid for the Godolphin Mile and Shillong, who is trained by Helal Al Alawi and competes for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. But the success of North America stands out by far. The now 6yo son of Dubawi was bought as a 4yo in the April 2016 sale and his rise has been phenomenal as he went from shedding his maiden status to getting the nod for the Godolphin Mile in a single season under conditioning from Satish Seemar, who perhaps thought he was nurturing a natural miler. North America placed tenth in sodden conditions on a rainy track in that Godolphin Mile, his first World Cup night experience, but Seemar was happy to write it off as bad luck on account of the weather.

This term a calculated experiment appears to have brought about the best in the now Ramzan Kadyrov-owned horse, who went from a distant third in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 over 1600m to a close second in the second leg, run over 1800m to winning the Group One third version of the race, which acts as a track and trip test for the showpiece Dubai World Cup. It was brilliant reward for the handler who notched up what was only the second Group One success of a long career here in the Emirates. How North America fares in the Dubai World Cup against some truly outstanding competitors on 31 March is something only fate knows at this point of time, but his seasoned conditioner and his team at Zabeel Stables must be lauded for their effort at turning three of the RDS horses into Dubai World Cup day runners. Seemar ended the domestic campaign in fourth place with a fantastic end of season run that saw him climb up the rung and nothing might be more pleasing than to watch him step up to accept a gong on DWC night.

He’s been there in the past when Reynaldothewizard won him his only Group One success when winning the 2013 running of the Dubai Golden Shaheen. The gelding, now 12, returns to the race in perhaps what appears a final bid to recapture the title. He’ll be up against some really tough US sprinters in Roy H, X Y Jet and Mind Your Biscuits, last year’s winner. Seemar believes Reynaldothewizard still has the heart to compete. “It’s always up to him. I thought he was signaling retirement during the Dubawi Stakes, but then he suddenly picked up and was third, so we just let him decide,” Seemar said of his stable star during his rendezvous with the media a few days back. Maybe for his part Reynaldothewizard’s ‘apple man’ (Seemar by his own admission said so) should dangle a basket of the fruit at the end of the wire in a bid to entice the 12yo to cross over it first.

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27 Sep 2018
Issue Number: Issue 648
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Dubai playing a key role in British racing, says Jockey Club boss
Busybody Tadhg looks to scale mountains after climbing Hills
Nass’ trial and error style seems to be working wonders for him
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