Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Multiple UAE champion trainer Satish Seemar is hoping that a change in ‘scenery’ coupled with the perfect trip will help North America break his big-race jinx and come good in Saturday’s $20 million Saudi Cup at the King Abdulaziz Racecourse.
A strapping eight-year-old son of Dubai, North America was sent off as the favourite to win last year’s $12 million Dubai World Cup, but could only finish seventh behind Thunder Snow. On his season debut in Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge on January 9 he suffered an injury during the race but still finished a close third to Kimbear and stable companion Secret Ambition.
Seemar, who has always held the horse in high regard, believes that Saudi could be the place when he proves what a world champion he can be.
“If he hadn’t had his issue where he stepped on something sharp and bled, there’s no way he would have lost the race (Al Maktoum Challenge 2),” Seemar said. “I guarantee that, but unfortunately, he was bleeding afterward. In the end, it was superficial enough that it could be fixed and he came out of that good and returned to training.
“My biggest attraction for this race is the distance. This is his best trip. He has won at a mile, 1900m and 2000m and has a lot of speed, so 1800m around one turn is perfect for him.
“I have not had any luck with him on (Dubai World Cup day), so maybe a change of scenery could be what does it for him.”
North America, who is a 30-1 long-shot with British bookmakers, faces 13 rival in his bid for greatness.
But what must he do to overcome the odds to make history for his trainer, and regular jockey Richard Mullen?
North America is a special horse who is naturally speedy. He is a dominant galloper who wins in impressive fashion. He has a favourable draw in Stall 4 and should he break well he can quickly put into play his pacesetting style of running.
Perhaps only fellow Dubai rival Capezzano, who is drawn in Stall 13 and 2019 American Kentucky Derby scorer will have the pace to trouble him in the battle for the lead in what will be a fast-run 1,800m race.
To his advantage Mullen knows the horse very well and is sure to ride him positively, irrespective of the high-quality of his opponents.
Should everything go to plan, then he will be up there fighting out the finish, and who knows, might even put himself and his connections in the history books as the winner of the inaugural Saudi Cup.