Godolphin trainer Saeed Bin Suroor knows well the pressures of Dubai World Cup night, but he is understandably proud of his record on the richest raceday on the planet.
Bin Suroor (pictured) has won seven Dubai World Cups, which surpasses the feats of a collection of the biggest names in the ranks of international trainers - and the relevance of that achievement for an Emirati is not lost on him.
“It’s great for a local person to win it,” Saeed told me. "The best trainers in the world, the best owners, best jockeys, all come to Dubai for this meeting, and to win the World Cup is something very special for us.”
But hand-in-hand with an impressive track record comes the burden of expectation. “There was pressure from the local fans. They were expecting us to win it every year. But these days they understand how tough the race is. Sometimes you have luck, sometimes not.
“We always produce the best we have for the World Cup, and this year, we have a horse, who has a chance - Move Up. He worked four days ago, and he worked really well. I am happy with him.”
Thunder Snow Godolphin’s best chance of the night
Last year the son of Dubawi won a G3 at Ascot and a G2 in Turkey. “We brought him to Dubai,” said Bin Suroor. “He needed the race last time [at Meydan] but he showed he has improved for the race.
“Of course, the quality of the horses running in the World Cup is completely different. The best quality horses are coming here for the race, and Arrogate, naturally, is the one everybody sees as the one to beat. But our horse has a big heart, he always tries, and I think he will do well, given a clear run.”
Move Up, who was fourth behind another UAE-trained Dubai World Cup outsider, Long River, in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 3) at Meydan earlier this month, is generally at 33-1 shot with British bookmakers for Saturday’s race, although he is available at 66-1 with some firms.
Bin Suroor’s best chance for the night is Thunder Snow in the G1 UAE Derby, another feature race he has won seven times.
“I think we have chances in every single race. But Thunder Snow is the best one, provided he stays the trip. He won a G1 in France at the end of last year, and then won the G3 UAE 2,000 Guineas on dirt at Meydan.”
He added: “Beautiful Romance in the Dubai Gold Cup also has a chance. She won a G2 in Melbourne off the back of an excellent run in the Melbourne Cup.”
All talk of Dubai World Cup night with Bin Suroor inevitably leads to mention of the great Dubai Millennium, who annihilated his rivals in a record-breaking World Cup triumph in 2000. “He was a superstar,” his trainer recalled. “He was so brilliant.”