ABU DHABI // Trainer Rod Simpson could not hold back the tears when his charge, Fryvolous, won the Group One Dubai Kahayla Classic for purebred Arabians on Dubai World Cup night in March. Since that victory, held over the same distance as the Dubai World Cup for thoroughbreds, he must have risked serious dehydration when the horse owned by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, also won the Group Two Abu Dhabi International Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.
Fryvolous, ably piloted by Irish jockey, Daragh O'Donohoe, did not seem overly troubled by a spirited challenge from Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's French-bred El Rigoletto and British runner, Noble Athlete, to claim the honours. The six-year-old now has 13 wins from 18 International Federation for Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) accredited races and seven Group One victories under his belt. With that form in mind, Simpson should now be hydrating in preparation for a tilt at the Sheikh Hamdan-sponsored Dubai International Arabian Raceday at Newbury on Sunday.
And on July 25 the trainer will saddle more runners in the The President of the UAE Cup Series, which - though in its 15th year - makes a historic debut at Ascot just after the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes thoroughbred contest. But Sunday will see top-rated Fryvolous take on some of the best in the business in the Group One Shadwell Dubai International Stakes over 1m 2f. "Is he top-rated?" asked Simpson yesterday. "I knew he was up there but I don't want to think about that in case it's bad luck. All I know is he's doing us proud."
That is something of an understatement. The gelding has now won over distances ranging between five furlongs and 1m 2f. And the fact he won in England, on his European debut, makes him a great poster boy in the drive to promote Arabian racing. "We have found Fryvolous brought his fans with him," said Simpson. "Newmarket was great and we are looking forward to Newbury where they are expecting a big crowd and there is another really big one at Ascot.
"Some people ask me why I train the Arabians when I've had good success with thoroughbreds but involvement with these horses is very satisfying and the people are real enthusiasts - very passionate and committed to the sport. "Someone said Fryvolous didn't have much to beat at Newmarket but I say to them you can only beat what's there in the field. "He ran well and a Group win is a Group win. I don't think we've seen the best of him either," he warned.