Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 2 July 2020

Salem bin Ghadayer: Emirati trainer relies on teamwork and passion to deliver champion horses

Fazza Stables trainer once again takes aim at the Dubai World Cup with Matterhorn and last year's runner-up Gronkowski

It is all in the details for Salem bin Ghadayer. The Emirati trainer is quick to grasp the smallest minutiae from discussions with his staff and takes note of their feedback.

It is a process that has produced numerous winners from his Fazza Stables.

Bin Ghadayer has only around 10 per cent vision. “I was born with it and I know how to deal with it,” he told The National .

“I have been with horses from my growing up days and always wanted to be with them. It is my passion and when work is your passion, you give everything for it.

“Many people may be wondering how I work with horses, but I’m comfortable with what I do. The results are there for everyone to see. At the end of the day, this is my work and I have to do it.”

To be successful, the Emirati has to go into every detail of each horse with all his stable staff, from the groom to the assistant trainers.

“I don’t leave anything for luck,” Bin Ghadayer said. “I believe in achieving my objectives through hard work. For me, everything is teamwork. I need to listen to everyone for their feedback and I make the final call.”

Bin Ghadayer’s rise as a trainer has been remarkable. He has saddled multiple Group winners and narrowly missed claiming the Dubai World Cup last year when Gronkowski was edged by Godolphin’s Thunder Snow in a photo finish.

His Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 winner, Matterhorn, spearheads his challenge for the $12 million race along with Gronkowski in the silver jubilee meeting at Meydan on March 28.

“If you ask me, Matterhorn and Gronkowski are my preferences for the Dubai World Cup,” the Emirati said. “I would prefer to run Capezzano and Axelrod [last year’s Dubai World Cup entries] in the Godolphin Mile. That’s my idea but it’s the owners who will make the final decision.

“Matterhorn is my first choice for the Dubai World Cup and I have a lot of faith in Gronkowski to run a big race. He’s a horse with a lot of ability. He’s run three times this season and going to improve.”

Gronkowski finished third behind Military Law and Saltarin Dubai in the Listed Entisar and occupied the same spot behind Godolphin’s Dubai World Cup hopeful Bengal and Military Law in the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2.

He was unplaced in the $20m Saudi Cup in his most recent start won by American raider Maximum Security with Benbatl in third.

Bin Ghadayer, 43, is an established endurance rider and trainer. The high point of his riding career in long distance races came at the 2007 Pan Arab Games in Egypt where he won silver and team gold.

The Emirati also managed the Millennium Stables from 2002/03 for two years when Mazen Al Kurdi was the trainer. At that time, he rode horses for Satish Seemar, Erwan Charpy and Paddy Rudkin before switching to endurance as a rider and trainer.

Bin Ghadayer received his flat trainer’s licence in 2014 and still oversees the endurance stable with a couple of assistant trainers.

“I started learning about them from that time and I had a fairly good idea of horses from an early age,” he said. “Now I spend 90 per cent of my time with the flat racing horses. My staff and I work hard. We give 200 per cent of effort to achieve success.”

Bin Ghadayer was helped by both Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

“They have faith in me and for this reason I have to work 200 per cent to return them the favours they have done to me,” Bin Ghadayer said.

Having produced many stable stars, Bin Ghadayer admits the one that is still close to his heart if Frankyfourfingers, won the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 in Bin Ghadayer’s second year as a trainer but suffered a fatal fall in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile in January 2018.

“He was one of our first horses with me and he provided me the best possible start when as a new trainer,” he said. “He was special horse for me and will always remain in my heart. He arrived at the stable as a handicapper. He laid down his life for me.”

Updated: March 18, 2020 03:05 PM

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