Seemar Adds Depth To Desirable Roster

DRC Notes Vol. 41 | Dubai Racing Club News & Features | November 19, 2019

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While plans are not yet secure for impressive Satish Seemar-trained opening night 2-year-old debut winner Barack Beach, much of the remainder of Team Zabeel’s enviable 100-plus roster appears to be ramping up for a strong December, including some notable new acquisitions.

“You normally want to build up a 2-year-old from six-to-seven furlongs and then a mile, but we don’t have that option with him, so we’re not sure what we’re going to do with him yet,” Seemar said. “The programme is difficult for a horse like him, who is very fast and needs that seven-furlong race and the mile race is on December 5.”

Meanwhile, one horse who is squarely pointing toward a mile race is the biggest star galloping under the DIFC skyline behind Zabeel: imposing Group 1 winner North America. The 7-year-old gelded son of Dubawi has started stretching his legs as he prepares for the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

“He’s going very well right now,” Seemar said. “(Group 2 $350,000 Al Maktoum Challenge) Round 1 (on Jan. 9 over 1600m) is always our aim with him and so far he is training the right way and on the right track. Horses go bad overnight, so the closer we get to the race, the more we’ll know, but as of now, he’s training well and is up to galloping (breezing) 600m. With a horse like him, he’s an old pro. He teaching us sometimes instead of the other way around.”

North America dismantled last year’s Maktoum Challenge R1 in stunning gate-to-wire fashion. In the process, he defeated subsequently beaten Godolphin Mile (G2) favourite Muntazah, defending Godolphin Mile champ Heavy Metal and G3 winner Kimbear. The millionaire and 118-rated luminary was last seen finishing seventh of 12 in the Dubai World Cup (G1) as the morning-line favourite and 3-1 second-choice at post time on the international market.

North America may not be the only big horse this season, as Seemar’s impressive 30+ rolodex of private owners have provided some fresh blood in the form of Hutcheson Stakes (G3) winner Gladiator King, Uruguayan and Argentine G1 winner and 2018 Pacific Classic (G1) fourth Roman Rosso and G3-placed Zulfikhar, a $750,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2017 2-year-old purchase with a pair of wins from five tries. Both Roman Rosso and Zulfikhar were trained by Bob Baffert before coming to Zabeel.

“Gladiator King is a fast horse and he’s coming on well,” Seemar said. “We’re still on the rise with him, but these American horses sometimes take a year to adapt here. Zulfikhar is an exciting one. Also, Roman Rosso, who—like Zulfikhar—was with Baffert, is coming on well.”

One ex-American to watch this year in what will be his second season is Behavioral Bias, who was G3-placed last year for Seemar in his initial UAE foray. The same can be said for Touch Gold Racing’s Pop the Hood, who changed yards from Red Stables to Zabeel this season, but enters his second UAE year in good form, as seen when a solid second on Nov. 7 to 100-rated Waady.

“This is going to be Behavioral Bias’s season, I think,” Seemar said. “We’re excited for horses like him and Yulong Warrior, who went to America after we won (the Listed Al Bastakiya) with him and is now back with us. He’s doing well.”

X Y JET FIRES WARNING SHOT FOR 2020 RETURN

No stranger to Dubai racing fans and Meydan Racecourse, in particular, reigning $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1) winner X Y Jet (pictured above) has returned to serious training in South Florida and signalled his fervour and fitness with a sharp 800m breeze in a best-of-20 46.70 seconds on Nov. 15 at Palm Meadows Training Center. The son of Kantharos has put in five breezes since returning from a break and this was easily his most serious to date; nearly four seconds faster than his last breeze on Nov. 6.

“He is doing great,” said Jorge Navarro, trainer of the three-time Dubai World Cup night alum. “I’m very happy with the way he is coming out (of the work).”

Owned by Rockingham Ranch and Gelfenstein Farm, the nearly white luminary has not raced since his Mar. 30 victory at Meydan, which came one year after he was pipped into second on the line by two-time Shaheen champion Mind Your Biscuits. The son of Kantharos has 12 wins from 25 starts, including eight stakes wins. A total of $2,300,000 of his $3,095,513 has come from his three starts in the Shaheen, including another second, as the favourite in 2016 behind Muarrab.

STARS OF TOMORROW WATCH: BIN HARMASH DUO, RUTHERIENNE SIBLING DEBUT THURSDAY

A half-brother to Grade 1 winner Rutherienne, who won or placed in 17 graded stakes, as well as a pair of well-bred Ahmad bin Harmash trainees lead a dynamic dozen 2-year-olds on Thursday at Meydan Racecourse. Over 1400m, it will be the first time that 10 of these have tried as far as said trip and the career debuts of seven runners. From a pedigree perspective, few stand out more than Musabbeh Al Mheiri-conditioned Zoyuz, a dark bay Ghostzapper colt who races for Nasir Askar. Out of the Rahy mare Ruthian, he is a half or full to 13 winners from 14 to race, including Rutherienne and G3 winner Ruthenia.

Al Rashid Stables’ Ababil and Phoenix Ladies Syndicate’s Jukebox King also jump off the page on a bloodline basis. Ababil, who breezed 10 seconds flat for 200m at the OBS April sale, sold for $150,000 and was bred by top USA-based owner-breeder Charles Fipke. Out of a Seeking the Gold mare, he is a grandson to a full-sister to G1-winning Perfect Soul.

Claiborne Farm-bred Jukebox King (pictured above), on the other hand, comes from pure Claiborne stock, being by the famed American stud’s stallion First Samurai out of Juke, by Mr. Prospector. Also purchased by his conditioner at Ocala, the bay colt breezed the same distance in 10.1 seconds, while appearing slightly more green than his stablemate. He was sold for $105,000, which is impressive considering his sire’s average for 2-year-olds in training this year was $62,307.

“Ababil is doing very well in training,” Bin Harmash said. “He doesn’t have the right distance for his first meeting, but we are training him for longer ones. We buy our 2-year-olds with a focus on the UAE Derby at 1900m, so this is just a start. Every meeting we have two more 2-year-olds race and don’t want to run them all at the same time. He has a lot of speed, but we will see how much he has in the race. He looks (like) a serious horse in his training.

Jukebox King is doing very well, as well, but, like with our other horses, 1400m is not what he wants, but we will start here. This is the distance you have and they need to run, because we are pointing them to the UAE Derby.

“Normally, I like to see all my horses all showing a good speed in the race and to (try) in the end,” Bin Harmash continued. “We have seen that so far with our horses, so that’s good. We are buying for class racing, so we look down the road to the UAE 2000 Guineas, UAE Oaks and UAE Derby when I buy them as 2-year-olds.”

Three juveniles who will get ample support from pick-6 players all exit the same Oct. 24 maiden: Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Nicholas Bachalard-trained Laa Baas (second), H and B’s Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Al Modayar (fourth) and Kildare Stud’s pace-setting Doug Watson trainee Cosmo Kramer (fifth), who is sure to be “outta control” in all the right ways if he pleases ‘Seinfeld’ fans with a victory.

Watson also starts Racing in Dubai Sale graduate Welcome Surprise, who will give owner EIB (Empire International Bloodstock) its Dubai debut. The son of Exceed and Excel out of a Street Cry half-sister to DWC Carnival winner Bin Battuta and champion Dream Ahead had four starts in England for Saeed bin Suroor over turf and all-weather, but managed a sole placing. A switch to dirt may be in his favour, as Godolphin Mile (G2) winner Heavy Metal was bred on a similar cross.

The field is completed by Helal Al Alawi-trained Al Khwaneeg, well-regarded Attribution, who disappointed on Oct. 24 (seventh) and looks to rebound for Salem bin Ghadayer, Al Rayhi-trained UK import Coast of Dubai, Askar-owned and Satish Seemar-trained Commanding and Mujeeb Rahman trainee Major Cinnamon.