Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

Godolphin’s Sir Fever is ready for top runners on Super Saturday

Stepping out in the Al Bastikiya, the first thoroughbred contest on the eight-race Super Saturday card at Meydan Racecourse, will be the strapping dark form of Sir Fever, reports Geoffrey Riddle.

The Meydan Racecourse dirt has not had a major headline international horse race on it, but all that is about to change.

Stepping out in the Al Bastikiya, the first thoroughbred contest on the eight-race Super Saturday card, will be the strapping dark form of Sir Fever, the Uruguayan Triple Crown winner who will carry William Buick in the royal blue silks of Godolphin.

Sir Fever arrived at Charlie Appleby’s Marmoom stables from Uruguay in January with a flawless reputation, having won all of his 10 starts at Maronas Racecourse.

The southern hemisphere three year old’s efforts last year ranged from running over 1,000 metres to winning the Gran Premio Nacional, the local Group 1 race over 2,500m in which Invasor, the subsequent 2007 Dubai World Cup winner, also secured the coveted hat-trick.

Such athleticism over various distances needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, as he is unlikely to have been running against horses that match the quality of Mubtaahij and Ajwad, the Mike de Kock pair that stands in his way today.

Yet Sir Fever’s race times were comparable to that of Invasor’s and, in addition to Buick, Sir Fever will have to shoulder a significant dose of expectation in the Listed event.

Until the third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge is run later this evening we will not know the true state of Godolphin’s World Cup pecking order, but with African Story and Prince Bishop looking some way off the level of American horse of the year California Chrome and UAE Derby winner Toast Of New York, Sir Fever’s run takes on an extra dimension.

Sir Fever is qualified to run in the Dubai World Cup, and there are many around the world who are hoping the son of Texas Fever will be aimed at the most valuable race on the planet on March 28, rather than the UAE Derby, for which the Al Bastikiya is a traditional lead-in race.

Wisely, Appleby is not getting carried away.

“Is he mature enough to take on older horses? Yes, he is,” Appleby said. “Is it right at this stage of his development to do so? Probably not.

“We will obviously learn a lot more about him in a race like this. Sure, if he wins by 15 lengths then we have to sit down and have a discussion.

“If he doesn’t win, then it is not all about Super Saturday. He has a long future ahead of him at Godolphin, so we are hardly going to go crash, bang, wallop in a Listed race at Meydan.”

Appleby’s record on the dirt at Meydan hardly makes appetising reading, with three placed horses from 25 runners, but he counters that by suggesting he simply has not had the stock.

“I haven’t really had a horse that either really went on it, or one that was good enough on it,” Appleby said.

“Put it this way, I haven’t had the right calibre of horse on it, and I’m not going away each Carnival meeting trying to work out what I have done wrong.”

Sir Fever has to concede 5.5 kilograms to Mubtaahij, who was denied in a magnificent set-to by Saeed bin Suroor’s Maftool in the UAE 2,000 Guineas three weeks ago.

It looks a tall order for Sir Fever on his first start, given the streetwise nature of Mubtaahij, and his superior fitness, but the suspicion is that Sir Fever could be really something special. Meydan holds its breath.

sports@thenational.ae

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Updated: March 6, 2015 04:00 AM

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