Haafaguinea Carries Bin Suroor Hopes of Fourth Dubai Millennium Stakes Success

Haafaguinea wins on debut
Photo: Cedric Lane (

The Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes sponsored by Al Tayer Motors highlights the seventh Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting tomorrow (Thursday) and Godolphin trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor bids for a fourth victory in the 2000m turf contest.

The last three Dubai Millennium Stakes went Bin Suroor’s way courtesy of Quick Wit, Tasaday and Hunter’s Light and the Emirati handler relies on Haafaguinea for the 2016 renewal.

The mount of Freddy Tylicki and winner of his only start so far this year over 2400m on turf four weeks ago, Haafaguinea was also a dual course and distance winner at the 2015 Dubai World Cup Carnival and looks certain to run another big race.
“We were very pleased with his winning return,” said Bin Suroor. “That was a good performance under a big weight and his work since has been very good.

“He is a horse who always tries his best and we thought he merited a step up in grade so this looked a good opportunity.
“Obviously he will be facing stronger opposition but he really likes Meydan and we are hoping for a good run.”

Among the ten horses declared for the US$200,000 race is the Charlie Appleby-trained Tryster. An interesting runner for the Godolphin operation, Tryster was in imperious form this time last year, having strung together five winning runs between January and April in the UK.

The Group 3 Winter Derby and the valuable Easter Classic were the icing on the cake, yet those victories were achieved on the all-weather surface.

When switched to turf he was last of five in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes and was then given a break and won his only subsequent start, in September and back on the all-weather.

“I have been very pleased with him since he arrived in Dubai,” said Appleby. “His work has been very good and he looks superb. We were toying with the idea of running him on dirt but have decided the turf was a better option.

“He won his maiden on firm ground at Brighton and the Brigadier Gerard just did not pan out to suit him. It was a small field and a steady gallop whereas he prefers more runners and a better pace to aim at.

“This will tell us whether he can be a good turf performer or if we should campaign him as an all-weather specialist.”
There are few Dubai World Cup Carnival features, especially on turf, yet to be won by South African Mike de Kock and he is double handed trying to win this one for the first time.

Course and distance winner, Sanshaawes, the mount of Christophe Soumillon, looks the yard’s main hope.

“He is ultra-consistent and does not know how to run a bad race,” said De Kock. “He has three good efforts to his name this year and should run his usual, solid race. Whether that will be enough in this company remains to be seen but he remains in good heart.”

Wayne Smith rides stable companion, Tellina yet to fire in his two UAE outings but who should be cherry ripe for this third outing of the campaign.

Earnshaw, trained by Salem bin Ghadayer and ridden by Mickael Barzalona and Doug Watson’s Meadow Creek who will be partnered by Pat Dobbs are others to consider in a tricky contest.

Fourteen have been declared for the 1900m Land Rover Discovery Sport Handicap on the dirt, with the weights headed by Ertijaal (AUS), owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Trained by De Kock, Ertijaal is a Group 1 winner in South Africa making his dirt debut.

“He ran very well on his local debut when second in the Al Rashidiya,” said De Kock. “Sheikh Hamdan is keen to try him on dirt as his pedigree suggests it will suit him and this looks a good option.”

His opponents include Godolphin’s Cat O’Mountain, trained by Appleby who was third in the 2014 Dubai World Cup on the all-weather surface.

Cat O’Mountain missed the whole of 2015 and was well beaten on his dirt debut four weeks ago.

“He needed that run badly,” said Appleby. “His work has been good and we are hoping for a much better effort this time.”

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