Salem bin Ghadayer wasn’t a name anybody was familiar with when sending out his first runners in the 2015 Carnival.
Five winners that season were followed by just three in 2015/16 but it is fair to say that things have taken off more recently with 10 winners and 9 seconds from 77 runners this campaign, and the figures could have been better but for multiple runners in several races.
Salem looks forward to this carnival with his most exciting bunch of horses yet, and took time out from his busy schedule to talk Stephen Molyneux through some of his contenders.
“One of many we have from Mark Johnston and we know he will have a tough constitution. He has settled in well and we hope to get him going in the first week but he will improve a lot for the run. He was a smart 2-y-o and can hopefully get back to that sort of level.”
“The unluckiest horse in the yard but we love him, and he will take us to all the Group races over 1800m/2000m again. We will start him in the Singspiel on the opening night and given he was beaten less than two lengths by the likes of Zarak and Decorated Knight last season you would have to be confident he can win one when everything goes his way.”
“I don’t think we have had him in a better place since he joined us, and in that time, he has already won a Group 2. Yes he has had his issues, but I am so happy with him, he has improved a lot for his win at Jebel Ali and he will head to the first round of the Maktoum Challenge. We could have as many as three in that, and they all like to make the running but these are the races we want to have runners in.”
“It wasn’t a case of him improving last year but simply a case of him getting back to the sort of form he was capable of as 2-y-o when with Mark Johnston, so no one should really have been that surprised. I guess for him to do it on dirt as well as turf is where he stands out. He is full of quality and his ability to show it all on the race track is down to the fact he doesn’t do a lot at home. We should see him in all the 1m Group races on dirt throughout the Carnival.”
HIGH ON LIFE
“We prefer him on turf but off his mark of 95 he will struggle to get in those races, so we will probably have to persevere with him on dirt. He wasn’t totally disgraced in the Dubai Golden Shaheen but we will give him entries between 1000m and 1400m on grass in the hope he can get a run and get his rating up. If not we will have to revert to Jebel Ali.”
“We may see him more towards the end of the Carnival with the Curlin Handicap his likely first assignment. He has only just started cantering having been off since winning last January.”
“He is ready, and I am happy with him but with so many options in the first round of the Maktoum Challenge Round 1, I am yet to decide if he runs there – there is also a handicap for him on the opening night but would carry a big weight. He won’t go down as the greatest ever winner of a Group 1 (2017 Maktoum Challenge Round 3), but he was my first and is a horse I love just for that.”
“I like this horse a lot and I feel he can improve his rating by 10 lb if not more during the Carnival. I have been very pleased with him since he came from France where he won two of his six starts and I can’t wait to get him going. He is my dark horse.”
“Did very well for Roger Charlton towards the end of 2017, and was purchased at Tattersalls to run at the Carnival. His form took off after he was gelded, and whilst a turn of foot was his main attribute in winning his three races on polytrack at Kempton, he is by Dubawi so should hopefully handle dirt. We may have no option but to run him on dirt anyway and his rating of 96 could be too low to get in the turf race. He has settled in well.”
REMBRANDT VAN RIJN
“He did well last year hitting the frame on four occasions, but I feel he is a different horse this year, certainly in his homework he is. Like Earnshaw he will always need a bit of luck but I feel he will be very competitive in the 2400m turf races and all being well will be out in the first week.”
“Has only been here two weeks but John Gosden kindly kept him ticking over back in England so he arrived a fairly fit horse anyway. We are still finding out about him but obviously as a Group 2 winner he has plenty of quality and it is now my job to get the best out of him again. He has worked on dirt and I am happy with him so far.”
“Had a small issue when he arrived so we probably won’t see him out until later in the Carnival. He was a nice horse for Mark Johnston and I don’t want to rush him.”
“I feel he could be one of the best sprinters in the UAE, and I know Ertijaal is very good! Seriously he has impressed me so far and I will be happy to keep him on dirt or switch him back to turf. I feel I can get him back to the sort of form he showed when winning at Goodwood as a juvenile.”
DARK HORSE – “Do not give up on LINGUISTIC. I know he was beaten 44 lengths on his debut for me but he won’t be a dirt horse. He needed to race and that run will have served a purpose. He has some smart form for John Gosden over 2000m but he looks more of a stayer to me and he could well surprise a few people”.
ONE TO WATCH – “Certainly MANAHIR, not many people have heard of him but hopefully will have by the end of the Carnival. He can improve a lot on his current rating and has the right profile being lightly raced to do well here”.