x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Mahmoud Al Zarooni downbeat as Certify preparations take a step up

UAE horse trainer Mahmoud Al Zarooni is hardly upbeat about his unbeaten super filly ahead of the English 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Certify, left, ridden by Michael Barzalona beats Purr Along to win the Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes during the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse.
Certify, left, ridden by Michael Barzalona beats Purr Along to win the Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes during the Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster Racecourse.

Mahmoud Al Zarooni offered up a downbeat report on Certify last night as the training programme for the fancied English 1,000 Guineas runner takes a step up ahead of her proposed engagement at Newmarket in two weeks.

Al Zarooni was speaking in the Newmarket winners' enclosure after he sent out Improvisation, an English Derby entrant, to win a maiden race over 10 furlongs under Mickael Barzalona.

It was the Godolphin trainer's only runner on the eight-race card but despite the success he was hardly jubilant when discussing the chances of the unbeaten filly.

"She's not bigger than last year and, training-wise, she is pretty similar to last year," Al Zarooni said.

Certify remained in Britain instead of travelling to Dubai for the World Cup Carnival and endured a harsh winter in Newmarket. She has yet to train on turf and is likely to run on grass for the first time when she lines up at Newmarket on May 5.

"We have not decided whether she will have a racecourse gallop but I would have thought it was unlikely," Al Zarooni added.

Certify did a sparkling piece of work on Saturday, however, and will undergo another serious gallop this Saturday in order for Al Zarooni to better assess where his filly stands, so close to the first British classic of the season.

Certify registered four wins for Barzalona last season in a campaign which culminated in victory in the Group 1 Shadwell Fillies' Mile, also staged at Newmarket.

Earlier, Sir Henry Cecil provided an upset in the feature Nell Gwyn Stakes when Tom Queally rode Hot Snap from last place to secure the Group 3 contest. It was the eighth time Cecil had won the seven-furlong event and added much-needed momentum to his season following the retirement of Frankel.

Hot Snap is now regarded as the most likely winner of the English 1,000 Guineas.

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