x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Gloria de Campeao will not return but owner has

Stefan Friborg, the ambitious owner of last year's Dubai World Cup winner, has relocated part of his growing operation to Dubai.

Gloria de Campeao won in Dubai last year.
Gloria de Campeao won in Dubai last year.

The ambitious owner of last year's Dubai World Cup winner has relocated part of his growing operation to Dubai.

Gloria de Campeao won the world's richest horse race last year, landing owner Stefan Friborg, who bred him at Haras Santarem stud farm in Brazil, US$10 million (Dh36.7m).

The seven-year-old, who was eighth in 2008, second in 2009 and won the Group One $1m Singapore Cup in 2009, has since been retired after injuring a tendon in training.

"We probably could have raced him again, but why risk maybe destroying him?" Friborg said. "He is a great horse and he deserves his retirement. If he hadn't been injured he would of course have come back to Dubai to try and win the World Cup again."

While Gloria de Campeao will now stand at stud, Friborg and Eduardo Martins, his new trainer, will embark on establishing 12 of their Brazilian horses in Dubai.

Martins has been in Dubai before, with John Hyde at Dubai Stable before becoming assistant to Cintra Pereira, who saddled Carnival winners last term.

Now, handling his own string for the first time, but he has big boots to fill after Friborg transferred all but a handful of his horses from the Chantilly yard of Pascal Bary, the French trainer, to Martins at the International Stables at Meydan Racecourse.

They celebrated a win at Sharjah Racecourse earlier this season with Energia Cintilante, and have high hopes for Tequila Heights, third in his first Tapeta outing over the World Cup distance, and Energia Colonial, who could turn out to be a UAE Guineas horse.

Martins is very aware that the hopes of his patron's 12 horses rest on his shoulders.

"These horses are very special to us because they are mainly home bred," Martins said.

"Of course I would love to win every race, but that is impossible. As long as my horses are fit enough to put up a good fight I am happy. They are horses and not machines and you have to remember that."

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid takes Friborg seriously. His Shadwell Stud purchased Natagora, an English 1,000 Guineas winner, and she recently delivered a filly by Nayef.

Asked why he did not keep the mare to complement his own lines Friborg said: "When Sheikh Hamdan was interested in Natagora I decided it would be better because Shadwell is an established stud with an excellent infrastructure to develop the offspring. And anyway, I have Natagora's sister who will hopefully deliver her first foal in August by the Aga Khan's stallion, Sinndar, so it will be fun to see their offspring competing."

Although he lives in Brazil, where he trains around 80 horses at his Energia Estrella facility, Friborg is a regular in the Emirates after establishing two energy companies in Dubai.

The rapid development of his racing operation is made all the more remarkable because eight years ago Friborg had not bought his first thoroughbred.

A cavalryman during his national service in Sweden, Friborg had always been passionate about horses but did not contemplate racing until his wife, Dalva, bought four racehorses at auction in Rio de Janeiro, and he set about finding the best place to train them.

"I came back and told my wife that with only four horses it doesn't make sense because we need to buy stables and a barn and train them, so we went to another auction and bought more horses," Friborg said.

sports@thenational.ae