Following a season that raced by at breakneck speed, and one in which he scaled the summit of UAE racing, Bhupat Seemar today finds himself viewing things much more clearly as he prepares his team for next Saturday’s $30.5 million Dubai World Cup extravaganza.
Twelve months ago, Seemar, who had only just taken over as head trainer at the immaculate Zabeel Stables in the heart of Dubai, discovered fame almost instantaneously when he won the UAE’s Trainer’s Championship and also landed his first Group 1 victory in the $2million Dubai Golden Shaheen.
He remains ‘excited and undaunted’ at what lies ahead when Meydan Racecourse hosts its flagship meeting next Saturday which features nine glittering races that have attracted some of the world’s best equine athletes.
“These are the Oscars, the Olympics of horse racing,” Seemar told Khaleej Times. “This is what we work for, buy horses for and live for.
“This is the highest pedestal in the sport. These horses are not easy to get and when you do get them you hope that they will someday make it to events like the Dubai World Cup.”
Ever the consummate professional, Seemar has willingly rolled up his sleeves and put in the extra hours that it takes to run an enterprise like Zabeel Stables which is overflowing with equine athletes of high calibre.
“You don’t get opportunities like this very often, the privilege to train high-class horses at such a fantastic facility as we have in Dubai,” he said. “But I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve got really good people supporting me — the owners, jockeys, and stable hands.
“We’ve all worked very hard through the season to get to this point where you have some good runners at a meeting like the Dubai World Cup.”
Success tastes good, especially the very first time and Seemar experienced that last March when Switzerland and his jockey Tadhg O’Shea won the Golden Shaheen.
“That was so special,” he said. “It will be hard to top that, but we’ll try. Nine of our horses have received invitations and they all deserve to be there.
“I’ll be happy with whatever happens on the big day, I’ll take whatever is in my destiny. We can only do our best and hope it’s good enough to get the rewards. The rest is not in my hands.”
Seemar’s Zabeel Stables has enjoyed another prolific season and although he says it is important to defend the trainer’s title he won last year, it was not his overwhelming passion.
“It’s always nice to be a champion at what you do in sport, but for us, the priority has not been quantity but more on quality,” he said. “All year long you spend hours, weeks, and sometimes months looking after the horses in your care hoping that they improve with every outing and arrive at a place where they can compete for top prizes.
“We are very fortunate to be going into Saturday’s meeting with a good team of horses led by Remorse, who was a good fourth in the Dubai World Cup last season, and the very promising Bendoog, who is a horse we think a lot of,” Seemar added.
“I’m really excited about the Golden Shaheen with Switzerland hoping to defend the title he won last year. The plan was to give him just one run in the Dubawi Stakes, which he won impressively before we put him away for the Shaheen.
“We also have two other nice sprinters in the race, Sound Money, who won his prep, the Mahab Al Shimaal very nicely, and Tuz who has been a revelation when we brought him back in distance,” he said.
“Discovery Island and Royal Mews also head to the Godolphin Mile in good order. James Doyle will ride Discovery Island, which goes well with him as he showed on Super Saturday when he won the Burj Nahar.
“We’re just hoping for a better draw so that he can avoid the kickback because he’s a horse that’s a bit slow out of the gates but finishes his races well.”
Given the depth of talent in his team and the amazing journey that he has been on ever since he took over the reins at Zabeel, it would not be surprising if he does win a couple of racing Oscars next Saturday.
You can also expect the fashion-conscious Seemar to be at his Sunday best because dressing helps you to make a positive impression at events like the Dubai World Cup, which like Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup, has become a unique tradition in the UAE.
$12m Dubai World Cup
Remorse / Tadhg O’Shea
Bendoog / Christophe Soumillon
$2m Golden Shaheen
Switzerland / Tadhg O’Shea
Tux /Jose Da Silva
Sound Money / Mickael Barzalona
$1m Al Quoz Sprint
Logo Hunter / Tadhg O’Shea
$1m Godolphin Mile
Discovery Island / James Doyle
Royal Mews / Tadhg O’Shea
Law of Peace / Antonio Fresu
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