Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor will have six runners on Dubai World Cup night.
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor will have six runners on Dubai World Cup night.

Bin Suroor hopes to buck the Dubai Derby trend with his filly

No one has triumphed in the $2m race but the Godolphin trainer is confident Khawlah can set the record straight come Saturday night.

DUBAI // No filly has ever won the UAE Derby, but Saeed bin Suroor hopes to change that statistic on Saturday night when he lines up Khawlah against the colts.

Last year Mike De Kock's Raihana became the 13th filly to be defeated in the race when she came within a length-and-three-quarters of stablemate Musir in the 1,900m Classic.

Khawlah defied almost a five-month absence to grind down de Kock's Mahbooba in the UAE Oaks in February, and bin Suroor was bristling with confidence when asked whether he expected a repeat of something similar on Saturday.


Dubai World Cup favourite Twice Over will have to start wide
Sheikh Mohammed's reach spans all corners of horse racing
Al Zarooni looks to add to UAE delight for Emirati trainers

"Yes. When she ran first time out she was not 100 per cent when she won," he said.

"She's class and came back sound from that race. She beat the best fillies here in the UAE and she has the class to run with the colts."

The Godolphin trainer has previous form in this department having saddled the filly Folk to finish 10th behind Asiatic Boy in 2007. Cocoa Beach was third three years ago in Honour Devil's race.

He is famous for taking on the colts in the English Derby with Cape Verdi in 1999 and believes that the daughter of Cape Cross is cut from the same cloth.

"Cape Verdi, Moonshell, and other great fillies we have had in the past 17 years, she is one of them," he said. "It's a good result to win the Oaks, and now she takes on the colts we are looking for a better result. I'm really happy with her."

After the UAE Oaks it was announced that Khawlah would go for the Musidora Stakes in England before a tilt at the English Oaks, which bin Suroor has won twice and has two other entries, Rumh and White Moonstone.

"We kept our options open," bin Suroor said. "The plan was the Musidora at York but we saw she came back so well and now we have a chance to run her in the UAE Derby, which is a [US] $2 million (Dh7.34m) race. We will see how she runs in that and then prepare her for the English Oaks."

The prize money bin Suroor mentions has been a significant draw card for trainers in Europe as it dwarfs that of the Epsom Derby, as well as the Irish and French versions.

Aidan O'Brien has entered Master Of The Hounds and Alexander Hope, who is intriguingly ridden by Jamie Spencer, the former Ballydoyle stable jockey. Others include David Simcock's Ahlaain, John Gosden's Utley and Brian Meehan's Mantoba, as well as Laser Bullet, the Japanese raider.

Only bin Suroor and De Kock have won the UAE Derby in the decade of the contest's existence and the enduring success of the Emirati was highlighted in a nail-biting finish to the Carnival trainers' championship.

It took a treble on the final night of this year's Carnival season to clinch the spoils from his long-standing rival. Honour System's victory in the Dubai Duty Free Double Millionaire Handicap on March 10 saw the scores stand, in terms of winners, at 16 to 15, and bin Suroor was delighted at the result.

"It's great to win it for the fourth time," he said. "It wasn't easy. It's just great to have horses that are good enough to win these races."


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National