x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Seven-strong UAE contingent could face Owen's Brown Panther

Doncaster's St Leger is attracting the attention of many UAE horses. Seven of the 36 entries for the race are from UAE-based groups or owners, with Godolphin claiming five of the seven.


The chances of a UAE-owned horse winning the world's oldest Classic were boosted yesterday when seven with Dubai connections were named among the 36 entries.

The St Leger at Doncaster, England has attracted five entries for Godolphin, the Dubai-based racing operation founded by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Mahmood Al Zarooni, the Emirati trainer, could saddle Blue Bunting, the filly who won the 1000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket in May and added to her Classic haul with success in the 12-furlong Darley Irish Oaks at the Curragh last week. Al Zarooni could also be represented by Casamento, the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy hero, Genius Beast and French Navy.

Saeed bin Suroor, his fellow Godolphin trainer, has engaged Laatafreet, a recent Leicester maiden winner as he looks for a sixth St Leger winner. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed has entered Dordogne, a Group 3 Lingfield Derby Trial winner, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid has thrust Thimaar, the promising maiden trained by John Gosden, into contention. In seeking a fourth St Leger victory Gosden will saddle the smart Buthelezi, who is owned by Princess Haya, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed.

The UAE contingent could be up against, among others, Brown Panther, the King George V Handicap winner at Royal Ascot who is owned by Michael Owen, the Manchester United and England footballer.