Dubai: As the final countdown for the resumption of flat racing in the UK moves into top gear, accomplished Godolphin handlers Saeed Bin Surour and Charlie Appleby are relishing the prospect of unleashing some of their star runners during the first week of action.
Newcastle Racecourse has the honour of getting things started at its all-weather Tapeta track, but it is next weekend’s Classic meeting at Newmarket that is of greater interest to Bin Surour and Appleby when it hosts the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas on Saturday and Sunday.
It’s the Group 1 Coronation Cup on Friday, June 5 that gets the Classic weekend going at Newmarket where Appleby rolls out his Grosser Preis von Baden (Group 1) hero Ghaiyyath.
Appleby will have history on his side as 18 from 18 winners has previously won a Group 1 or Group 2 race and 17 from 18 had won over 2,400m before.
Traditionally run at Epsom Racecourse on the first day of the two-day Derby Festival, the 2,400 metre contest has been shifted to Newmarket this year following the revised schedule of races and venues as a result of the disruption caused by the coronavirus lockdown.
Appleby is seeking a first win in the prestigious contest which has been won by some of racing’s greats, including Daylami (1999) and Mutafaweq (2001), who were trained by his Godolphin teammate Bin Surour.
Speaking to Jim McGrath via the Godolphin website, Appleby said: “Everybody at Godolphin has continued to work incredibly hard over the past months.
“Despite the inevitable anxiety many have felt because of the pandemic, morale is good and I would like to thank all at Moulton Paddocks for their dedication, which has helped all remain positive.”
Appleby’s strong team is headed by his 2019 stable star and 2,000 Guineas favourite, Pinatubo, who was unbeaten in six starts during his juvenile year but makes his three-year-old debut in one of the most challenging races for the generation.
“I think the mile is going to be his trip,” Appleby said. “I believe that because of his mental attitude.
“He is a relaxed character, and if he was later asked to step up in trip, I think he has the right mindset for it.
“As for his physical attributes, he won six races as a juvenile, and three of them were on three of Britain’s most challenging courses — Epsom, Goodwood and Newmarket. His athleticism is a key asset.
“He has pleased me in his work in preparation for the Guineas, and provided there are no hiccups, I think he will give a very good account of himself.”
One of Pinatubo’s main rivals is Bin Surour’s Military Attack, who the trainer believes is a Derby horse.
The son of New Approach was unbeaten in two starts as a juvenile and Bin Surour said: “My horses are ready to go, they have been for a long time.
“Military March is doing really well. He’s in good form and working well. Physically he looks better than last year.
“That’s the reason he only raced twice and had a gap between races, he was on the weak side. But now he is physically really good and has done well,” he added.
“His form is good and looking at him, from the horses we have had in the past, he’s a solid horse. He’s big and strong and everything has gone right so far – I’m really happy with him and we’re looking forward to running in the Guineas to start.”
Bin surour is also considering running Dubai Love and Final Song in the 1,000 Guineas.