With 18 winners in April, Saeed Bin Suroor has made a quicker start than usual and his team are firing on all cylinders as Guineas week looms large. The affable Dubaian-born trainer recently secured a ninth trainers championship in his homeland and featured amongst those triumphs was the victories in the Group 3 UEA 2000 Guineas and Group 2 UAE Derby with Thunder Snow.
This weekend, Bin Suroor casts his net far and wide in search of Classic success with Thunder Snow heading for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs and on the domestic front Dream Castle, Top Score and Very Special bidding for 2000 and 1000 Guineas success at Newmarket.
As per usual, there are plenty of progressive and untapped individuals that will be gracing the winner's enclosure in the coming months at all the top venues.
Bin Suroor is in upbeat mood as, remarkably, his 23rd season training for Godolphin gets under way in earnest and, not doubt, there will be plenty of top prizes winging their way to his Newmarket base.
Saeed kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR about some of his leading hopes for the months ahead.
5 b m New Approach - Mazuna
Winner of five of her 14 starts. Better than ever this year and successful in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy at Meydan (1m 6f) in February when scoring by a length and a half from Vazirabad before being beaten a neck by that rival in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan (2m) the following month.
"She is very tough and versatile and has flown the flag for us all around the world winning Group races in the UK, Australia and Dubai. She has had a little break since her last run in Dubai and will be aimed at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup."
CARRY ON DERYCK
5 b g Halling - Mullein
Winner of three of his 15 starts and currently rated 109. Finished runner-up, beaten two and a quarter lengths, to Spark Plug in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket (1m 1f) in September and second, beaten only a length and a half, to Muffri'Ha in the Group 3 Darley Stakes over the same course and distance in October on his final start.
"He had a strong finish to last season finishing second in the Cambridge and second in the Group 3 Darley Stakes at Newmarket. He is a very genuine honest horse who goes on any ground. He wintered in Dubai but had a minor training setback which, due to the short window for racing over there, ruled him out of running. He will be aimed at some of the major handicaps this season with a repeat attempt at the Cambridgeshire in mind."
4 b/br c Distorted Humor - Michita
Winner of two of his 6 starts and currently rated 102. Beaten only a length by Autocratic off a mark of 98 on his final start at York (1m 2 1/2f) in October.
"He is a big impressive looking horse and a solid performer. He has only finished out of the first three in one of his six starts. He is a horse with a ton of ability and we are hopeful he will progress through the ranks this coming season. He will be aimed at handicaps/ listed races later on."
4 b c Dubawi - Rosinka
Winner of five of his 10 starts and currently rated 115. Unplaced in two outings at Meydan this year but ended last season with a neck defeat of Arab Spring in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot (1m 4f) in October.
"He is a tough progressive type who enjoyed a good three-year-old campaign with wins in a handicap at Ascot in July and then Group race successes in Turkey and then back at Ascot in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes. He didn't handle the dirt in Dubai and his mid-Summer target will be the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot."
4 b f Dubawi - Argentina
Winner of four of her 10 starts and currently rated 103. Successful in her first two starts at Newcastle (1m 4 ½f and 2m 1/2f) this season and scored by two and a half lengths from London Prize off a mark of 95 in February.
"She is a very tough filly who can be keen in her races. However, stepping her up from ten furlongs to a mile and a half and then two miles has brought about significant improvement. She has had a solid start on the AW finishing with a run in the AW Marathon at Lingfield. Unfortunately, she was slowly away that day and got shuffled back and lost any chance of extending her winning sequence. She will have a break now and will be out again later in the season."
4 ch c Dubawi - Dash To The Front
Winner of two of his four starts and currently rated 96. Scored by a length and a half from Shaiyem off a mark of 90 on his only start last season at Newmarket (1m) last April.
"He is a lightly-raced four-year-old due to various training setbacks. However, he is a horse worth persevering with as he shows plenty of ability. We are hopeful off bigger things ahead and he goes for a handicap at the Guineas this weekend and then the Royal Hunt Cup."
4 b g Authorized - Dresden Doll
Winner of four of his 11 starts and currently rated 115. Improved performer this year and beat Postponed a neck in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold at Meydan (1m 4f) in March before finishing a creditable fourth, beaten four and a half lengths, to Jack Hobbs in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic over the same course and distance later that month.
"This horse went from strength to strength last season and has wintered well in Dubai. The key to him is that he has learnt to settle in his race and he progressed from handicaps to win the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold before finishing a creditable fourth in the Group 1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic."
4 b f Hard Spun - Aviacion
Winner of four of her 15 starts and currently rated 107. Successful in the Group 3 Istanbul Trophy at Veliefendi (1m) in September and scored by half a length from Light The Lights in a Group 2 contest at Meydan (1m 1f) in January.
She is another tough and solid performer for the stable . She has run consistently in Group 2 and Group 3 company but just lacks a bit of class to be able to step up to Group 1 level. She ran three times during the winter and is currently having a break. She will be in action during the second half of the season and will head back to Turkey in September."
5 b h Pivotal - Gonbarda
Winner of three of his 7 starts and currently rated 115. Better effort last season when runner-up, beaten a length and three quarters, to Guignol in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern at Munich (1m 4f) in November.
"He is a proper Group 1 performer but has had various issue hence his first start in 2016 being in the Champion Stakes at Ascot where he finished a creditable sixth to Almanzor. He is a horse we are looking forward to this season and he needs soft ground. He will be aimed at the Champion Stakes and long term could be a horse for the Dubai World Cup."
5 ch m Lope De Vega - Daniella
Winner of five of her 12 starts and currently rated 110. Gained latest success in a Group 2 at Meydan (1m) in January when scoring by half a length from Opal Tiara.
"She is a relatively lightly-raced mare with definite ability. She runs well when fresh and her best run to date was when she was a good second in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket last year. She is on a break and may start off in the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket in July."
4 b c Invincible Spirit - Crystal House
Winner of one of his 6 starts and currently rated 99. Finished third, beaten three and three quarter length, to Spark Plug in the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket (1m 1f) last September.
"He is a nice scopey type who finished last season with a third in the Cambridgeshire. He has wintered well and looks big and stronger this year. We are hoping he will progress through the season and he will be aimed at all the big handicaps including the Betfred Mile at Goodwood in July."
4 b g New Approach - Tanzania
Winner of three of his 8 starts and currently rated 108. Returned to winning form when beating Watersmeet a length and three quarters in the AW Marathon at Lingfield (2m) in April.
"He is a nice staying type and we campaigned him on the AW this Winter. We stepped him up to two miles last time in the AW Marathon at Lingfied when he returned to winning ways. He could go for the Group 3 Ormonde Stakes over a mile and five furlongs or the Chester Cup over two miles and two furlongs this month."
b c Dubawi - Nahrain
Winner of one of 2 starts. Scored by seven lengths from Made Of Honour on his debut at Doncaster (7f) in April and a creditable third, beaten only two lengths, to Eminent in the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket (1m) later in the month.
"He was unraced at two as he was a bit backward but strengthened up well through the Winter and was showing ability at home before winning his maiden at Doncaster in good style. He then finished a good third in the Craven over a mile on ground faster than he would like and we are confident he will stay further. He hold entries in the Dante at York, the Epsom Derby and the St James's Palace Stakes."
b c Kodiac - Al Andalyya
Winner of two of his 8 starts and currently rated 113. Unplaced in two outings at Meydan this Spring and last success in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket (1m) in October when beating Zainhom two lengths.
"He was very tough and progressive during his two-year-old career which culminated with a second to Waldgeist in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud. He started this season in Dubai with a run in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial and the 2000 Guineas but he didn't act on the dirt. We are looking forward to getting him back on the grass and he could start his campaign here in the Listed Dee Stakes at Chester on May 12."
b c Kyllachy - Welsh Angel
Winner of two of his 4 starts and currently rated 106. Last seen out at Wolverhampton (1m 1/2f) in November when beating Masham Star two and a quarter lengths off a mark of 94.
"He made a very encouraging start as a two-year-old at Sandown last September before disappointing at Nottingham in his next start but we stepped him up in trip for his next two starts at Newcastle and Wolverhampton and he showed significant improvement. He travelled to Dubai for the Winter where he suffered a minor setback but he is back in full work now and will be back in the second half of the season."
b c Dark Angel - Layla Jamil
"He is a nice horse who shows plenty of potential and he is set to make his debut at Doncaster on Saturday."
b f Sepoy - Baheeja
Winner of one of her 2 starts and currently rated 84. Scored by a length and a half from Counterweight on her debut at Nottingham (1m 1/2f) in September.
"She is a nice big filly who ran twice as a two-year-old and was impressive when winning her maiden at Nottingham first time out. She ran in a listed race at Pontefract where she was disappointing but she hated the soft ground. She is a filly we hope has a bright future and she holds an entry in the Oaks."
b c Frankel - Sand Vixen
Winner of one of his 2 starts and currently rated 110. Impressive three and a half length victor from To Dibba on his debut at Doncaster (7f) in April and ran a highly creditable race in defeat when second, beaten two lengths, to Barney Roy in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury (7f) later in the month.
"He is a very smart looking Frankel cot who is not the biggest but shows plenty of speed at home. He has run twice, winning a Doncaster maiden and then finishing second in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury. He is in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket this weekend and he has all the big entries in the Dante, Derby and St James's Palace Stakes and looks a colt with a very bright future."
b g Poet's Voice - Chibola
Winner of one of his 3 starts. Runner-up in his first two starts and off the mark in good style on his reappearance at Lingfield (1m 2f) in April when beating Impact Point three lengths.
"He ran twice as a two-year-old finishing second on both occasions and he was gelded after his final start. He filled out over the Winter and won well on his reappearance at Lingfield. He is a horse with definite potential and he run in a handicap at Guineas weekend and then in a handicap at Royal Ascot."
ch f Exceed And Excel - Dresden Doll
Winner of four of her 8 starts and currently rated 92. Last success at Wolverhampton (6f) in March when beating King Robert a neck off a mark of 88.
"She is a filly with bags of speed and very consistent on the All Weather. She has run seven times on the AW and only once finished out of the first two. She runs in a handicap at the Guineas meeting."
b f Shamardal - Rumh
Winner of three of his 5 starts and currently rated 101. Finished a creditable third, beaten three quarters of a length, to stable mate Top Score when last seen out in a Listed event at Meydan (7f) in February.
"She is a nice, tall filly who won her first three starts and was slowly away and wouldn't face the kickback when fifth in the UAE 1000 Guineas. She finished third on her latest start in the Listed Meydan Classic over seven furlongs on the grass and we will now step her up in trip. She will run in the 1000 Guineas and then she may have a break."
gr g Dark Angel - Admire The View
Winner of one of his 6 starts. Beaten only three and three quarter lengths when fifth to Pleaseletmewin in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury (7f) on his final start last October.
"He is a horse with plenty of speed who goes on any ground. He ran six times as a two-year-old and has wintered well. He is a horse with potential and we don't think we have seen the best of him yet. He is a fast horse who will be suited by five or six furlongs and he will have entries at Royal Ascot in the King's Stand Stakes and the Commonwealth Cup."
b/br c Hard Spun - Tafaneen
Winner of one of his 2 starts. Off the mark on his reappearance at Newmarket (1m 2f) in April when beating Mafaaheem four lengths.
"He is a nice big colt with a great attitude. He ran once as two-year-old, finishing third and he won on his reappearance at the Craven meeting. He looks a horse with potential and he will go for the Lingfield Derby Trial next."
b c Helmet - Eastern Joy
Winner of four of his 8 starts and currently rated 118. Has won both of his races at Meydan this Spring taking the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas by five and three quarter lengths from Bee Jersey in February and following up with a short head defeat of Epicharis in the Group 2 UAE Derby (1m 1 1/2f) in March.
"He progressed well throughout this two-year-old career culminating with a victory in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in October. He was the top two-year-old trained in the UK in 2016 and he travelled to Dubai for the Winter where he thrived and won both the UAE Guineas and UAE Derby. He is entered in the English and Irish 2000 Guineas and is also in the Kentucky Derby. He will probably head to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby and then could go for the Epsom Derby."
b c Dubawi - Ever Love
Runner-up in both of his start over seven furlongs at Newmarket. Beaten a length and three quarters by Makkar in October and by the same margin by Jewel House in April.
"He has run twice, once as a two-year-old and once this year, both times at Newmarket and both times finishing second. He ran green on both occasions and is learning all the time. He is a horse we like a lot and we should soon find a maiden for him before progressing further."
br c Hard Spun - Windsor County
Winner of three of his 11 starts. Last success when beating Fly At Dawn half a length in the Listed Meydan Classic at Meydan (7f) in February.
"He is a very tough and consistent performer and has run the majority of his races over 6-7f but will stay further. He wintered in Dubai where he went from strength to strength when winning two of his three starts and he take his chance in the 2000 Guineas and then could go for the German 2000 Guineas on May 21."
BEAUTIFUL ROMANCE - tough and classy mare who has plenty more to offer at the top table.
GREAT ORDER - the sort to go higher up the ladder this term.
PRIZE MONEY - another progressive individual who will win more races this term.
BENBATL - looks a very interesting prospect who will win plenty of races.
DREAM CASTLE - lovely son of Frankel who has any amount of untapped potential.
THUNDER SNOW - classy colt who will be adding to his CV throughout the season.