x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin ready for America

Godolphin, Dubai's racing operation, will send 10 horses to compete in New York races over 40 days.

Hibaayeb is one of 10 horses sent by Godolphin to compete in New York.
Hibaayeb is one of 10 horses sent by Godolphin to compete in New York.

Godolphin have lined up a strong team to make a concerted challenge at one of America's biggest race meetings.

Ten of the Dubai-based racing operation's horses have made the journey from the thoroughbred facility at Belmont Park to Saratoga ahead of the prestigious 40-day meeting at the New York course, which runs from Friday until September 5.

Saeed bin Suroor, the Godolphin trainer responsible for the 10 horses, said: "Saratoga is one of the biggest meetings in America and I am looking forward to having runners there again this year."

Godolphin are set to be represented on the opening day by Gayego in the Listed James Marvin Stakes over seven furlongs on dirt - a race won by stable companion Vineyard Haven in 2010.

Abtasaamah is also a potential first-day runner in a six-furlong allowance optional claimer, while Bank Merger, the runner-up in the Grade 1 NetJet King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga last year, has the six-furlong Grade 1 Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap on August 7 as a target.

Other horses to have made the trip include Vineyard Haven, who has excelled around Saratoga over the past three years, and dual Group/Grade 1 heroine Hibaayeb, who triumphed in the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont Park in May.

The Godolphin team is completed by Buffum, who is initially going for an August 6 allowance race over seven furlongs on dirt, Girolamo, Sangaree, aimed at an August 4 Listed race over nine furlongs, and Tahitian Warrior.

"We will hopefully start Gayego off in a Listed race on the first day, while Abtasaamah will be entered to run on the same card and Bank Merger will aimed at the Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap," bin Suroor said. "Vineyard Haven has won a Grade 1 at Saratoga and likes the course. He was unlucky not to win the NetJet King's Bishop Stakes in 2009 and was third in the Forego Stakes last year.

"We will decide where to aim him after he settles in at Saratoga and will also make plans for the other horses in due course."

Elsewhere, Nathaniel has been added to the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes field at Ascot on Saturday at a cost of £75,000 (Dh 443,358). Godolphin's Royal Ascot victor Rewilding and Coronation Cup winner St Nicholas Abbey and are among the other leading contenders. Rewilding's stablemate Debussy is a second potential runner for Mahmood Al Zarooni, the trainer.