Dubai: The year 2013 was another monumental one for the UAE while racing at Meydan saw a new star in the form of Godolphin’s Sajjhaa, who won all her four starts at the track for trainer Saeed Bin Surour.
The Darley-bred daughter of King’s Best was in imperious form with all four of her victories coming at Group race level. She began her season with a thumping victory in the Group 2 Cape Verdi, followed it with an equally impressive effort in the Group 2 Balanchine which set her up perfectly for a crack at a Group 1 prize.
This duly came when Sajhaa landed the Jebel Hatta (G1) and en route to bagging the biggest prize of her career, the $6million Dubai Duty Free (G1) on Dubai World Cup night. Bin Surour hailed her as one of the best mares he had ever trained and who was suited to the all-weather track at Meydan.
She raced just once upon her return to the UK when fourth to Winsili in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes over 2000 metres on turf at Glorious Goodwood.
Meanwhile, 2012 Kentucky Derby star Animal Kingdom captured the Dubai World Cup. Shipped to the UAE to contest the Dubai World Cup alongside fellow American challengers Dullahan and Royal Delta, Animal Kingdom was rdden by Joel Rosario to hold off the late challenge of Red Cadeaux to win by two lengths.
He became the 10th American trained winner of the race and the first since it was switched from dirt to a synthetic surface in 2010.
Irishman Tadhg O’Shea won the jockey’s title in the UAE, but it was former two-time British champion jockey who dominated at Meydan riding 14 winners, just one more than Silvestre de Souza and Richard Mullen.
Saeed Bin Surour was the most successful trainer at the Dubai World Cup Carnival were he saddled 21 winners and 19 second-place horses with the ever-consistent Satish Seemar clinching 16 victories at UAE racing’s headquarters. Godolphin was the top owner with as many as 31 winners.