Monday 1 January 2018

Saeed bin Suroor: The Thin Blue Line

Saeed bin Suroor is the longest serving trainer for Godolphin, the international horseracing operation founded by Sheikh Mohammed in 1992. Formerly a member of the Dubai Police Force, he was first appointed in 1995 and, nowadays, splits his year between Al Quoz Stables on the outskirts of Dubai and Goldolphin Stables in Newmarket Suffolk.

Bin Suroor made a dream start to his training career, saddling Lammtara to win the Derby, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Moonshell to win the Oaks and Classic Cliché to win the St. Leger in his first season. In 1996, he collected the 2,000 Guineas with Mark Of Esteem and, in 1998, completed the full set of British Classics, with Cape Verdi in the 1,000 Guineas.

Fast forward two decades and Saeed bin Suroor, 39, has saddled over 2,100 winners worldwide. He has won the British trainers’ championships four times – in 1996, 1988, 1989 and 2004 – and his 180 Group 1 winners include 12 British Classic winners and seven Dubai World Cup winners. He has also won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (three times), the Breeders’ Cup Turf (twice) and the Arlington Million.

In 2010, out of the blue, Godolphin appointed a second Newmarket-based trainer, Mahmood Al Zarooni, to share responsibilities with Saeed bin Suroor. Despite assurances that Al Zarooni did not “pose a threat” to Bin Suroor, the former did enjoy far and away the better season in 2011. The following season, Al Zarooni won the Dubai World Cup with Monterosso and the St. Leger with Encke but, in 2013, was found guilty of administering anabolic steroids to 11 horses and subsequently “warned off” for eight years.

Meanwhile, Bin Suroor saddled Colour Vision to win the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2012 and Farhh – who’d been placed in Group 1 company five times in 2012 – to win the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury and, on his return from injury, the Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2013.

At the time of writing, Saeed bin Suroor is enjoying a successful time at the Meydan Carnival, with seven winners from his 21 runners in the last 14 days. His recent successes include Thunder Snow in the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and Promising Run in the Balanchine, both Group 2 events. Domestically, he’s also saddled three winners from seven runners, so far, in 2018 and has plenty to which to look forward when he returns to Newmarket in April.

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