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Saeed Bin Suroor Bids For Ninth Al Maktoum Challenge Round II Success

Emotif Could Give Mike De Kock Second UAE 1000 Guineas

Godolphin trainer, Saeed Bin Suroor could capture a record ninth Al Maktoum Challenge Round II victory tomorrow (Thursday) as he saddles four of the twelve declared runners in the Group 2, US $250,000 contest.

The fifth meeting of the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival, sponsored by Gulf News, looks the best of the year so far with the middle rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge providing the highlights. Also on the seven race card is the first Classic of the season, the UAE 1,000 Guineas.

Bin Suroor’s runners in the 1900m Thoroughbred feature include last year’s winner, Mendip who goes to post under Kieren Fallon as he did 12 months ago. Silvestre De Sousa rides Hunter’s Light on whom he was a Group1 winner in Italy last November. William Buick on Alpha, who dead-heated in year’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes, and Prince Bishop under Ryan Moore, complete the trainer’s quartet.

“They are four nice horses,” said Bin Suroor. “This is the obvious race to start them in and Mendip has been given a nice break over the summer with this race in mind as he tries to win it again.

“Prince Bishop has been a bit disappointing when tried in these good races but conditions are ideal for him. Hunter’s Light has been working well at Al Quoz and Alpha is improving with each gallop but those two may just need the run more than the other pair.”

Fellow Godolphin handler, Mahmoud Al Zarooni relies on Saint Baudolino, who will be having his first start for the yard. He was runner-up in last year’s French Derby and was also a Group 2 winner in France when trained by Andre Fabre.

South African Mike De Kock was in treble form last week and saddles both Mushreq, one of those winners, and Await The Dawn who will be having his first start for the trainer and since Dubai World Cup night last season.

De Kock explained: “Mushreq deserved that win last week as things had not gone to plan in his first two starts. I think he will be fine on the surface and he deserves this step up in class.

“Await The Dawn is a horse we really like and this has been the first target to get him back on the track. He works well on the all-weather so should handle it but he will certainly improve for the run.”

Al Zarooni won the UAE 1,000 Guineas last year with Gamilati who had previously won the trial race and the trainer will be hoping Music Chart can emulate her stable companion having won the trial three weeks ago from the Bin Suroor-trained Shuruq.

It could be that De Kock supplies the main danger in the shape of Emotif, winner of her only start but forced to miss the trial after a setback.

The meeting opens with the Group 1 Purebred Arabian version of Al Maktoum Challenge, also on the all-weather but over 2400m and we are guaranteed a new winner of the race. Last year’s second, Albar Lotois, third, Fryvolous and fourth, Paris Gagner are all back but trainer Majed Al Jahouri has been scooping all the big Purebred Arabian prizes so far this season and saddles four.

Of these, Ahmad Ajtebi rides Aakif and Harry Bentley is aboard Awam and both jockeys have ridden Group 1 winners this season for the trainer and his main patron, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

It would be no surprise to see them, Godolphin and Mike De Kock dominating the headlines at a meeting generously sponsored by Gulf News.