It has been nothing short of a fairytale for Bhupat Seemar. Emerging out of the shadows and becoming the head trainer at Zabeel Stables, Seemar has sewn up the UAE Trainer’s Championship in his first season. He splashed a sumptuous dollop of icing on the cake, landing one of the biggest races on Dubai World Cup night.
Bhupat, who had a string of eight runners on the night, was filled with glee after witnessing Switzerland, ridden expertly by record nine-time UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, coast to victory in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen.
A total of 13 runners took to the starting gates with Meraas being a non-runner and Switzerland, the eight-year-old from Speightstown, kept Japan’s Red Le Zele, last year’s runner-up at bay, to win the six-furlong contest by 1.75 lengths.
Dr. Schivel, one of the American favourites in this race, finished half length behind Red Le Zele.
“It’s such a fantastic result. We’ve always really liked the horse,” an elated Bhupat said after the race.
“Tadgh and I spoke this morning and came up with a plan. Knew there’d be plenty of pace in the race so wanted to pick up the pieces. Turning for home Tadgh said we’d just go with one kick. We’ll look to bring him back next year and you never know, even at eight there could be some more improvement in him. It’s a fantastic team we have behind us, and I need to thank so many people, I’m in a very privileged position,” he added.
O’Shea, who has already left an indelible mark in UAE horse racing, said it was a fantastic victory.
“There was a lot of speed on, and this horse excels in a truly run race,” said O’Shea.
“We were the outsider today and I said to Bhupat let’s ride him accordingly. There’s no point putting him in the race and getting him in a speed duel, so we rode him like we did in the Al Garhoud Sprint [at Meydan on New Year’s Day] and if he shows that turn of foot, he’d be competitive. Thankfully, it all worked and he’s a horse who grew in confidence as the race went on. They were starting to stop and flounder, and he was coming harder on the bridle – so it was fantastic.
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“He came back from Saudi Arabia with a dirty scope, and he was drawn badly there. It was a shame I couldn’t go and ride him there, but he’s come back better than ever, I’d say that’s a career best. It’s my first Group 1 winner and I’m in the 40 club! I have a good mate Adrian Nicholls who said, ‘don’t give up, it’ll come’.” added the Irishman.
It was a second success for Zabeel Stables in the Golden Shaheen after the illustrious Reynaldothewizard had won the race in 2013, under Richard Mullen.
Yuga Kawada, Red Le Zele’s jockey, was pleased despite finishing second again.
“It was a good result. He likes to do his running at the back of the field in a 1200-metre race. That’s just his style and he did the same here, and I had a very good feeling about him doing well going into this but there was too much ground to make up in the end. But it was a good race and I’m happy with the way he went,” said Kawada.