News

Seemar Relishes Prospects For 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival Season

Photo: Cedric Lane (UAEracingpics@gmail.com)

Surfer and Reynaldothewizard To Fly Zabeel Racing International Flag

Reynaldothewizard’s Group 1 victory in the 2013 Dubai Golden Shaheen has gone down in trainer, Satish Seemar’s books as his biggest career victory to date.

Seemar, who has been a fixture of racing in Dubai since the very first days of racing under rules in the desert, is the master of Zabeel Stables, home to HH Sheikh Rashid Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Zabeel Racing International string.

“Last season was one of our most exciting,” says Seemar from behind his desk at the spectacular Zabeel yard. “Probably it was my career best win with Reynaldothewizard and we also had some great results with Surfer.

“Of course we have had quieter and more successful seasons, but I can’t say that I have been disappointed with any season that we’ve had at Zabeel.”

The “quieter” season that Seemar refers to is the 2011-12 term, when he saddled just 17 winners. Compared to his 2012-13 tally of 32, which saw him finish third in the UAE Trainers’ Championship, just two victories behind Champion, Ernst Oertel, the figure is low by Seemar’s own high standards.

“Every season has been great as far as I’m concerned,” says the trainer who benefits from a long-standing team that includes stable jockey, Richard Mullen and assistant, Bhupat Seemar, a nephew of the trainer. “Patience is one of the most important attributes in this game and sometimes the horses need time to come into themselves, or they are injured, or sometimes you have to view a season as a foundation year,” said Seemar.

And it was at the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival that Seemar’s patience really paid off.

First up Surfer, a winner on seasonal debut in a Conditions race at Meydan on December 19, finally shed his maiden tag. The son of Distorted Humor must have held the dubious record of being one of the highest-rated maidens in the world when he rounded off his 2011-12 season with second-place in the Listed Super Saturday Al Bastakiya, a race worth US$250,000.

The runner was gelded in the closed season and promptly stormed to his first win in a maiden on seasonal return last November, scoring a four-length victory over Interpret, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi.

Surfer then landed second place in the 2013 Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2, finishing behind the in-form Hunter’s Light. He was later fourth in the Group 1 third round of the same series where once again, Godolphin’s Hunter’s Light came out on top. Surfer ended his season with a seventh in the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup day.

“We were very bullish for both Surfer and Reynaldothewizard on Dubai World Cup day,” recalls Seemar. “But we fancied Surfer a little more. Sadly he didn’t find his ground because the weather can be pretty warm for the first few races on the big day which can make the all-weather a little slower.

“It was great to see him come back into form the other night at Meydan,” says the trainer. “It may not have been the greatest race, but he did it well.”

Reynaldothewizard was to make up for any disappointment in Surfer’s World Cup-day performance when he landed one of the world’s biggest sprint prizes, the Group 1 US$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen, part of the Global Sprint Challenge.

“He’s a seven-year-old and he is the type of horse where everything has to be perfect for him to win,” says Seemar. “He needs at least five weeks between races, even four weeks is a little bit short for him. We know that we can’t take any short cuts with him. After the Golden Shaheen we had invites all over the world and it was very tempting, but we had to do what was best for the horse and we knew he just wouldn’t be suited to travelling.”

Yet Seemar has trained horses for foreign races. Indeed, he holds the distinction of preparing the first UK winner saddled by a UAE-based trainer. It was in 1993, before the world-renowned Godolphin racing operation was the global force that it is now, that Seemar campaigned HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s filly, Dayflower to victory in the Middleton Stakes at York.

“It’s been an honour to train for the Royal family for so many years and to be part of this incredible transformation of racing in Dubai,” says Seemar, who was first recruited to train for the Al Maktoum family when he met Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at the Keeneland Sales while he was working in the USA.

“When I first started training for Sheikh Mohammed I was a real rookie, I’d never trained a horse before, it was nerve-wracking. But when an owner like Sheikh Mohammed has faith in you and has such a strong vision for where he is going, it inspires you with confidence and you find that you are doing things that you never thought would have been possible.”

These days Zabeel Racing International horses make up the bulk of Seemar’s large string, but he does boast some interesting runners for private owners.

One of these is Dubai-based Jimmy Long, the man behind Thistle Bloodstock. Long enjoyed a satisfying win at Meydan on December 19, when his home-bred Ralston Road, the 2013 St Leger seventh, was a winner by a nose in a photo from Izaaj in a 2000m Conditions race.

Ralston Road is one of seven for Thistle Bloodstock including Janna’s Jingle, Scotland Forever, Across The Rhine, Hold The Line, Letterfromamerica and Bethany Bay.

“It’s great to have Jimmy’s horses,” says Seemar. “He is an incredibly knowledgeable and positive owner and Ralston Road is definitely Carnival material.”

Seemar also trains Seachantach, owned by Hamad Abdullah Al Muhairi, a winner in Dubai last season and the former David Brown-trained Temple Meads, winner of the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes in 2010, owned by Ali Haddad.

“Seachantach went to England and he’s come back and I think we should be seeing him on the racecourse soon,” says Seemar of the runner who was trained by Marco Botti during the summer. “Temple Meads has had some problems, he’s a good horse but it’s a waiting game with him.
“I have plenty of little treasures out in the barns but they are not proven here yet so we will see how they do when they are ready to run.”

One of these is Conveyance, a Grade 3 winner over 1600m in the USA. He was second to Bankable in the 2011 Mahab Al Shimal and then eighth in the Godolphin Mile to Godolphin’s Skysurfers but has not been on the racecourse since.

“He’s had soundness problems but he is a lovely horse and if you ever see him come out on a race day then keep an eye on him,” says Seemar.