ZABEEL STABLES boss Satish Seemar will be hoping his partnership with one of his newest owners, Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, hits a successful note on the first time of asking with Gladiator King who makes his bow in the Dubawi Stakes on the opening night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Thursday. One of the more promising American 3yo sprinters, he won the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes and the Roar Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March and April respectively, and was a very close second in the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes on Preakness Stakes Day at Pimlico in May. Gladiator King was acquired over the summer from Thoroughbred Champions Training Centre LLC by Sheikh Rashid and is the first horse to be sent by the Ajman royal to Seemar’s beautiful Zabeel Stables.
Seemar appears the expert when it comes to winning the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes, having claimed four of the six editions of the race in its current guise, including three consecutive years with Reynaldothewizard, also winner of the equivalent race in 2013, from 2015 to 2017. And the UAE’s winningmost trainer certainly believes he has a potential winner on his hands. “He’s coming on well and he’s ready to run his race in the Dubawi,” said Seemar, who won the 1200m dirt dash last year too with Raven’s Corner. “Luckily we had him at the right time in the summer and he’s acclimatised well. The American horses take a while to come along and he’s enjoyed our program. We’re pleased with him because he was actually stuck in the quarantine a bit too long, but once he arrived at Zabeel, he started properly climbing our steps and getting better.
“He’s been working with some of our better sprinters, like fellow Dubawi probable Lavaspin and should only improve from this first race. Lavaspin has had his issues, but is doing well, so it will be interesting to run them both; Lavaspin is a ‘Zabeel made’ product and the other is brand new.” Seemar is also looking at forging a winning partnership with Sheikh Rashid and added: “This is my first horse for Sheikh Rashid. I met him at the last Dubai World Cup day and it went from there. Owners like him are really needed in this business. He’s keen, young, intelligent and mature. He really wants to be involved in racing and I hope we can win some races together.”
Gladiator King, a 4yo son of 2008 Dubai World Cup winner Curlin, was purchased at the Ocala sales for $195,000 and earned previous connections $258,740. Post the Dubawi Stakes, Seemar’s assistant trainer Bhupat Seemar is expecting further improvement from Gladiator King and said: “All I’ve seen is improvement, every week, but he will definitely improve from the race. “He’s about 95% fit and the race will bring him forward. We’re still getting to know the horse. We’ll see how he and Lavaspin break and let them do their thing.”