Dubai: Shadwell Racing is hoping Mutasaabeq can score a sentimental victory in Saturday’s 2000 Guineas (Group 1) at Newmarket racecourse in the UK following the death of owner Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who was Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
Sheikh Hamdan, who had an extraordinary passion for racing and breeding top-class horses, has left behind a legacy that the entire team at Shadwell will be aiming to sustain and victory in this first Classic of the 2021 British racing season will go a long way to helping fuel those ambitions.
Trained by Charlie Hills, Mutasaabeq is out of Ghanaati, a 1000 Guineas winner who was one of Sheikh Hamdan’s favourite horses during his four-decade long career as one of horse racing’s most popular and influential owners.
Sheikh Hamdan won the Classic in 1989 with Nashwan and in 2004 Haafhd gave him a second success in a race that every horse owner, trainer and jockey aspires to win.
Mutasaabeq will be ridden by former British champion jockey Jim Crowley who as Sheikh Hamdan’s retained jockey helped him to win a seventh British owner’s championship last year.
The son of Invincible Spirit faces 14 rivals including a trio owned by Godolphin, the racing stable owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who is Sheikh Hamdan’s younger brother.
Shadwell’s racing manager Angus Gold, who had been associated with Sheikh Hamdan for over three decades, said that should Mutasaabeq win on Saturday, “it would be extraordinary”.
“Sheikh Hamdan wasn’t just a keen racing man. He was passionate about breeding and Ghanaati was one of his favourites,” Gold told Bloodhorse. “In my time with him he had favourites, such as Al Bahathri, Height of Fashion, Salsabil, Taghrooda, but this mare was right up there with them for her achievements on the track. It would be amazing if she could produce a star now he’s sadly no longer with us.”
Mutasaabeq was supplemented to the Guineas at a cost of £30,000, a decision made possible by the involvement of Sheikh Hamdan’s horse-loving daughter, Sheikha Hessa Bint Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“I’ve heard from Sheikh Hamdan’s family and they’re keen to see him run,” said Gold.
The ante-post favourite is impressive Dubai Dewhurst Stakes runner-up Thunder Moon who represents Ireland’s exciting young trainer Joseph O’Brien, with the Godolphin pair Master of The Seas and One Ruler also strongly fancied.
Trainer Charlie Appleby, who also sends out a third runner in Naval Crown, commented: “We have been delighted with how Master Of The Seas (William Buick) has come out of the Craven Stakes (the leading trial for the 2,000 Guineas) and he ticks a lot of boxes going into this. He looks great physically and continues to show us his wellness. One Ruler’s preparation has gone great and it’s an exciting ride for James (Doyle) to pick up. He is a course and distance winner and we are looking forward to getting him going as a three-year-old.”
One Ruler boasts a Group-level course and distance victory having comfortably beaten subsequent G1 winner Van Gogh in the Group 3 Emirates Autumn Stakes in October.
Day one of the Guineas meeting also features the Group 3 Palace House Stakes over five furlongs.
At A Glance
2000 Guineas (Group 1)
At Newmarket Racecourse, England
Live on Dubai Racing
2020 winner: Kameko, ridden by Oisin Murphy, trained by Andrew Balding
Odds: 10/3 Wembley, 9/2 Thunder Moon, 11/2 Mutasaabeq, 6/1 Battleground, 13/2 One Ruler, 7/1 Master Of The Seas, 10/1 Van Gogh, 12/1 Chindit, 14/1 Poetic Flare, 20/1 Lucky Vega, 50/1 Legion Of Honour, 50/1 Naval Crown, 100/1 Mystery Smiles, 100/1 Devilwala, 200/1 Albadri