ong-serv­ing Godol­phin han­dler Saeed Bin Surour has had more than his fair share of mo­ments in the win­ner’s en­clo­sure at Mey­dan Race­course.

Nonethe­less, it looked, to some ex­tent, un­usual to see him col­lect­ing the sil­ver on the open­ing night’s rac­ing at the UAE’s flag­ship race­course on Thurs­day night.

Bin Surour tra­di­tion­ally sends out his first run­ners of the sea­son on the first day of the Dubai World Cup Car­ni­val, in early Jan­uary, but he broke out of rou­tine to sad­dle three run­ners, in­clud­ing Naaeebb, a smart win­ner of the Emi­rates A380 Hand­i­cap.

A three-year-old son of Dar­ley stal­lion Lonhro, Naaeebb looked a nice horse for the fu­ture, and the dirt track at Mey­dan, when post­ing a cosy vic­tory un­der a con­fi­dent Pat Cos­grave.

Ex­plain­ing the de­ci­sion to start his sea­son ear­lier than nor­mal Bin Surour said: We thought it would be a good idea to bring some horses who have yet to ful­fil their po­ten­tial over to Dubai ear­lier than nor­mal, to see how they fare on the dirt.

“I wouldn’t say they’re good horses at this point, but yes they are nice horses. The plan is to run them early and should they per­form well we can think of run­ning them in the Car­ni­val, pro­vided their rat­ing im­proves as well.

“My main string will ar­rive later, but for the time be­ing we’ll con­cen­trate on the ten that we’ve brought over early.

“Naaeebb has al­ways struck me as a horse wait­ing to show his real abil­ity and I like how he ran to­day,” added Bin Surour, an eight time cham­pion trainer at the Dubai World Cup Car­ni­val.

“He handed the dirt pretty well and will ob­vi­ously come on for this run. He’s the kind of horse that we se­lected as part of this ex­per­i­ment and it’s pay­ing off and we couldn’t be hap­pier to have our first win­ner so early in the sea­son.”

Cos­grave also pos­i­tive things to Naaeebb.

“We had a bad draw but he was al­ways go­ing well and took me into the race ef­fort­lessly,” he said.

“Re­mem­ber, he is only three and hav­ing his first start on dirt, tak­ing on some sea­soned per­form­ers. I thought I was go­ing to win eas­ily but he did not had say some about re­ally know what to do. “He has won now and is a horse for the fu­ture; he is only go­ing to im­prove with rac­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence.”

All ex­cited

Mean­while, Bin Surour’s two other run­ners, Desert Moun­tain and Dowayla, may need some more time to find their feet af­ter sixth and eight in their re­spec­tive races.

The for­mer, rid­den by Ital­ian An­to­nio Fresu did not make much of im­pres­sion in the Emi­rates Hol­i­days Hand­i­cap over 1400 me­tres, but the win­ner, Rothen­burg did af­ter over­com­ing a wide draw to record a length and a quar­ter vic­tory over Street of Dreams, rep­re­sent­ing cham­pion trainer Doug Wat­son.

“He ex­cited us from the mo­ment we bought him,” said Al Alawi. “We were very con­fi­dent he would run well, de­spite the draw and, as you saw, he was very green and re­mains a big

Godol­phin trainer

baby. “Hope­fully, with that ex­pe­ri­ence un­der his belt, he will im­prove and we think he is a nice horse.”

Wat­son, who was just off the mark with two sec­onds early in the night, closed out the seven race­card by win­ning the con­clud­ing two races.

The emi­rates.com hand­i­cap was won by Sam Hitch­cott aboard Al­manaara who was hav­ing only his sec­ond start in the UAE and first at Mey­dan.

The fea­ture race of the evening, the Emi­rates Air­line hand­i­cap, was won by Tadhg O’Shea aboard the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Trin­ity Force, who pre­vailed by a neck from Mizbah, the mount of Pat Dobbs.

“I was pretty con­fi­dent com­ing into the race with our nice low weight,” ex­plained O’Shea. “We knew there was go­ing to be a fast gal­lop and that suits this horse so from our low draw, I was in the ideal po­si­tion to stalk the speed.”

Viren­dra Sak­lani/Gulf News

Trainer Saeed Bin Surour and his as­sis­tant Bryan Brown with Naaeebb, win­ner of the Emi­rates A380 Hand­i­cap on the open­ing night of new rac­ing sea­son 2017-18 at Mey­dan Race­course on Thurs­day night.

Cour­tesy: Or­gan­is­ers

The Gulf Elite Tour Am­bas­sadors show their sup­port for the Shaikh Ham­dan Fit­ness Chal­lenge 30x30.

Viren­dra Sak­lani/Gulf News

Trin­ity Force, rid­den by Tadhg O’Shea, wins the fea­tured Emi­rates Air­lines Hand­i­cap at Mey­dan.

Viren­dra Sak­lani/Gulf News

Khalid Bel Jaflah (sec­ond from left) Emi­rates Di­vi­sional VP presents the tro­phies for the Emi­rates Air­lines Hand­i­cap.

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