Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer, is in bullish mood as he prepares to run Kieren Fallon's mount, Al Zir, in Saturday's Derby, the premier British Classic of the season. The imposing son of Medaglia D'Oro has always been held in high regard by the Dubai-based racing team and finished third in the Racing Post Trophy behind St Nicholas Abbey on his final start last season. He was disappointing in the 2,000 Guineas this season, but bin Suroor expects the step up in distance and the booking of Fallon to prove crucial.
"We're happy to use Kieren, he's a very good jockey. It's great to use him and he rides Epsom very well. He's won many races there," bin Suroor told At The Races television channel. "He's a great jockey and he's in good form now. We've talked to him and he's happy to ride for us. "I've liked this horse since last year. He's a good-looking animal and his work always showed some class. He won at Newmarket and Doncaster and was third in the Racing Post Trophy.
"I was disappointed with him in the Guineas, but he's come back from the race very well. "He has grown from last year and his last piece of work when Frankie [Dettori] rode him on the watered gallop was very good and I was really happy with him. A mile-and-a-half, I think, will suit him. "He didn't show in the Guineas what he had been showing us at home, he was working really well and improving all the time.
"He's the best he's ever been and if he's good enough, he'll win. I'm so happy with the horse, he's running over the right distance, is in good condition and good form and we are looking to see a good run from him. "He's a big horse. I'm hope he gets into a nice position and I think he will handle the course." * Agencies