x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Saamidd out to reassert his credentials in Guineas test

Godolphin are still mystified by the colt's last performance and will be intrigued to see how he fairs against Frankel.

Saamidd will hope to recapture the form that saw him win the Champagne Stakes. Ian Crowhurst / Getty Images
Saamidd will hope to recapture the form that saw him win the Champagne Stakes. Ian Crowhurst / Getty Images

NEWMARKET // Godolphin embark on a fact-finding mission this afternoon at Newmarket, where the Dubai-based operation line up Casamento and Saamidd in the 2000 Guineas.

Both colts boast huge potential but have it all to prove when they take on 11 other hopefuls, including the much-vaunted Frankel, in the first British Classic of the season.

In October, Godolphin paid Dh122,000 in order to supplement Saamidd to the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes in the belief that the Darley-bred son of Street Cry could serve it up to Frankel, owned by Khalid Abdullah, the Saudi Prince.

Saamidd showed reluctance to enter the stalls and in finishing last, 17 lengths adrift of Frankel, he put in a performance so mystifying that even Hercule Poirot could not get to the bottom of it.

"We did all of the tests," said Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager.

"Nothing ever came to light. He had a difficult disposition on the day and we still don't know why.

"His attitude seemed to change, he didn't like the soft ground very much, and even going down to the start he was different.

"He bumped Frankel and he didn't run any type of race."

A week after Saamidd's flop, Casamento raised the spirits in the Godolphin camp when he carried the maroon and white silks of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to a fluid success in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy, a race for which he was also supplemented. The 1,600m contest has worked out remarkably well, with the third, Master Of Hounds, going on to finish second in the UAE Derby while the fifth, Dunboyne Express, won a Group 3 Trial in Ireland.

Native Khan, who finished fourth that day, won the Group 3 Craven Stakes two weeks ago and Dubawi Gold, who finished ninth, has also won two Listed races this season. Both of those colts take on Casamento once again this afternoon.

Three of the past ten winners of The Racing Post Trophy have gone on to Classic success, but High Chaparral, Motivator and Authorized all scored over the 2,400m trip in the Derby, rather than over 1,600m in the Guineas.

And therein lies the problem. Casamento has not been trained with today's race in mind.

The 2,000m Dante Stakes, at York, on May 12, is being toyed with ahead of a tilt at Epsom in the first week of June.

The colt's trainer, Mahmood al Zarooni, had hoped that Dubai Prince, Casamento's stablemate, would make the race but the unbeaten son of Shamardal was ruled out last week due to injury.

Sheikh Mohammed was delighted with Casamento's progress when watching him work on Monday and only on Wednesday was the half brother to Dubai Prince given the green light to tackle Frankel.

"We feel that when he gets over a mile and a half that will be his best trip," Crisford continued. "We think he has a great chance in the Derby. He has enough pace for a mile though, and has plenty of speed. Mahmood's stable is in cracking good form and sometimes you have to go when everything is in good order."

Al Zarooni has saddled 20 runners since his string touched down in Britain three weeks ago and he has recorded six winners, including Genius Beast, who won the Group 3 Classic Trial over 2000m at Sandown last weekend.

Due to their late arrival here, Godolphin have often attacked the Guineas meeting with all the fervour of someone who has just got out of bed.

Since they last won the 2000 Guineas with Island Sands in 1999, they have saddled 22 runners in the race with only one placed horse to show for it.

For one of the leading racing operations in the world it is a poor return, but one that only highlights the global priorities that drive the organisation.

Last season, al Zarooni saddled Buzzword to finish 14th in the 2000 Guineas, and yet two months later the Pivotal colt won the Group 1 Deutsches Derby in Hamburg.

With Frankel in opposition it may be a step too far to expect Casamento or Saamidd to win the 203rd running of the Guineas, but the blow out will certainly provide Godolphin with food for thought ahead of another very busy summer.

 

sports@thenational.ae