RAIS­ING WIN­NERS

As world-renowned sta­ble Godol­phin takes cen­tre stage at to­mor­row’s Dubai World Cup, the horse race with the world’s big­gest prize money, Mri­nal Shekar meets some of the peo­ple who make it all hap­pen

Friday - - Leisure Charts -

It was never my sin­gle-minded in­ten­tion to find my­self at Al Quoz Sta­bles, head­quar­ters of the world’s largest and most pres­ti­gious sta­ble, Godol­phin. Truth be told, it’s just been a silly dream. One that cru­elly tan­ta­lised me ev­ery time I’d wait at the nearby Dubai Bowl­ing Cen­ter traf­fic sig­nal. And to know this silly dream had quite mag­i­cally man­i­fested into re­al­ity, al­most overnight, had me goose-bumped. I can as­sure you at that mo­ment goose-bumped felt like a valid term to ex­plain the state of my mind and body.

Founded by His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice-Pres­i­dent and Prime Min­is­ter of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Godol­phin is an in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion with op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia, USA and Europe as well. Al Quoz Sta­bles is home to trainer Saeed Bin Surour’s 30 price­less thor­ough­breds that travel from Saeed’s yard, Godol­phin Sta­bles in New­mar­ket, UK, to race in the Dubai World Cup Car­ni­val.

As I drove past the first of two se­cu­rity bar­ri­ers to­wards the all-steel-and-chrome of­fice, I re­alised I was about to get a glimpse of a world that merely a hand­ful had seen un­til now. To meet peo­ple who have played their part in Godol­phin’s me­te­oric rise to the top of the horse rac­ing world.

From Brian Pow­ell, as­sis­tant trainer, who thinks horses are like peo­ple; Luke Thomp­son, the far­rier to whom horses are sec­ond na­ture; Ric­cardo Corona, the se­nior barn man­ager for whom work­ing with horses was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion; to Emer Fal­lon, the rac­ing sec­re­tary who’s been rid­ing since she was five, Fri­day gets an ex­clu­sive peek into Godol­phin’s world.

By the way, the 2017 edi­tion of Dubai World Cup Car­ni­val con­cludes to­mor­row. The to­tal prize money for the day’s rac­ing is a whop­ping US$30 mil­lion.

PHO­TOS BY STE­FAN LIN­D­EQUE

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