North America
North America, ridden by Richard Mullen wins ARound 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on March 9 at Meydan. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Consider this. In athletics, it is said that if you have a right muscle power to weight ratio then you’d be able to run faster than others. It was proved when Usain Bolt used this science to become the fastest man on the planet.

Perhaps the same can be said of North America, trainer Satish Seemar’s big (literally) Dubai World Cup (Group 1) hope, who is a horse of outstanding ability, power and energy.

Richard Mullen, his regular jockey and three-time UAE champion jockey, even describes him as a powerhouse, a horse with a “stride that just kills (rival) horses off with it.”

He’s such a bigstriding horse. People don’t ealise how fast he is really going, because he looks like he’s halfpacing it while he’s actually moving along quickly.

- Richard Mullen | Jockey

The ultimate equine athlete, he has won three of his last four races and seven overall, ever since he was astutely purchased from a Racing In Dubai Sale in 2017 by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

Three days from now he will bid to scale the summit and win a race that both Seemar and Mullen have been dreaming about for a long time.

The dream began last season but North America would miss the break at the start of the 2,000-metre contest on the Meydan dirt and run a troubled race to finish at the back of the field, way behind the winner Thunder Snow.

He’s a proper Dubai product. He’s a very impressive horse. But a horse like him is always a challenge he’s not easy to train. But when he’s right, he’s right.

- Satish Seemar | trainer

This year the scenario is no different and North America, Seemar and Mullen will be seeking redemption to prove that he is one of the best dirt horses in the world.

Seemar explains: “We figured out what went wrong that night. We used earplugs on him and took it off before the start of the race. They have powerful loudspeakers at Meydan and once the plugs had been removed the horse got nervous and that’s compromised his chances.

“This year, we won’t be using the earplugs,” Seemar added. “He’s gotten used to the noise and he ran two races at Meydan, which he won impressively.”

Seemar also revealed that he will be employing the service of a handler at the gate to take care of any problems.

“Whatever flaws he had, hopefully, we’ve sorted them out,” the Zabeel Stables boss said. “Any little thing that we may have missed we have set right. You never stop learning in this business.”

Seemar, who has sampled success on the big night previously with star sprinter Reynaldothewizard, believes that North America, who was previous trained by Charlie Appleby for the powerful Godolphin stable, is a ‘proper Dubai product.’

“He won his maiden here,” said Seemar. “He’s a very impressive horse.

“But a horse like him is always a challenge he’s not an easy horse to train. But when he’s right, he’s right.”

North America was right on song when winning the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge, a prep series that builds to the Dubai World Cup.

After this Seemar opted to take North America straight to the March 30 showpiece where he hopes his stable flag-bearer will get a good start and go on to dominate the running, “which he does all the time.”

“Everybody knows he runs well when fresh, so we are banking on that,” said Seemar, who believes that this year’s renewal of the Dubai World Cup is a very open race.

“If you really think about it, there are no hot favourites in the race. Horses like Gunnevera, Yoshida and Seeking The Soul, they are nice horses, but not superstars.

Mullen, who said that he was really looking forward to riding North America in Saturday’s showpiece, explained the aura around the awesome galloper. “He’s such a big-striding horse,” he said, “People don’t really realise how fast he is really going, because he looks like he’s half-pacing it while he’s actually moving along quickly.

“He’s a powerhouse and his stride, he just kills horses off with it.”