Dubai: It may still be early days but high-achieving Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour has already found himself a pair of prospective contenders for two of the big races on Dubai World Cup night, March 30.
Bin Battuta and Dream Castle, hugely impressive winners on the opening night of the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting sponsored by luxury Swiss watchmaker and Meydan Pillar Partner, Longines, will now be prepared with an eye on the Group 3 $1 million Dubai Gold Cup (3,200m) and Group 1 $6 million Dubai Turf (1,800m).
Bin Surour has won the former on four occasions and the Turf five times, but neither since Sajjhaa and Cavalryman completed the double in 2013.
It was only the second victory in 11 starts for Dream Castle, a five-year-old son of the great Frankel, and first since he won his maiden at Doncaster in April 2017, but he has got his trainer thinking of bigger things.
“We thought of running him over longer trips than what he had previously raced (mile or seven furlongs),” said Bin Surour. “And it paid off!
“I liked the way he finished his race and the plan is to step him up to a Group race and then, all going well, the Dubai Turf will be his ultimate target for the season.”
Big-race jockey Christophe Soumillon who was on board concurred with Bin Surour, said: “The big race for him will probably be the Turf over this distance, but I am sure that he can run between seven and nine furlongs without a problem.
“It just depends on the pace — we didn’t go very fast today and Dream Castle’s strong turn of foot helped.
“I am sure he will be much better with one or two more races under his belt.”
Bin Surour was also licking his lips at the prospect of campaigning Bin Battuta who showed no signs whatsoever of rustiness when coming out of a 495-day break to win the opening race of the Carnival in assertive fashion from stable companion Racing History.
“He hasn’t been showing us a lot at home, but that was very impressive,” said the Emirati handler, an eight-time champion trainer at the Carnival.
“He’s not 100 per cent, so I would like to believe that he has an awful lot of improvement left in him. He’s by Dubawi, whose progeny are very versatile, so we could have a lot of options for him. But given the fact that he stay till the cows come home, the obvious choice is the 3,200 metre Dubai Gold Cup on March 30,” he added.
“We will not over race him but just keep him at this distance or thereabouts as the Carnival progresses.
“But, yes, it’s a great feeling to come back to Dubai after a long summer and to win some nice races with some very nice horses. I could be happier.”
On a truly international night there were victories for horses trained in Australia and England, courtesy the David Hayes-trained Faatinnah in the Longines Ladies Record Collection and Another Batt, raced by George Scott, in the Longines Master Collection Moon Phase,