Friday, November 15, 2019
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Bin Surour delighted with good draws

Dubai Five-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winning trainer Saeed Bin Surour said he was “thrilled” with the inside draw both his horses, African Story and Prince Bishop, received because of the tactical options it presented.

Prince Bishop, winner of two legs of the prestigious Al Maktoum Challenge series this season will break from gate one, while his stable companion and 2013 Godolphin Mile victory African Story, starts in gate six.

Hong Kong have their strongest representation yet in the race with both Akeed Mofeed and Military Attack challenging Irish hope Ruler of the World for favouritism and both connections were bullish of their chances in the big race.

Talking up his chances of winning a sixth World Cup Bin Surour said: “Prince Bishop has a really good turn of foot and the plan will be to take a good early position. Physically the horse has improved from last year and we are hoping for a good run.

“Kieren Fallon is one of the best jockeys in the world and he knows the horse well and gets on very well with him.

“I think six is a good draw for African Story. It will help him settle early and somewhere handy. Just off the pace perhaps in third or fourth place,” he added.

“I think that the pace will be fast with horses like Mukhadram and Ruler of the World in the race. If both my horses can sit handy for most of the trip, that will help them launch their effort in the straight.

“I’m confident overall and have a good feeling.”

A record 16 horses will compete for a staggering purse of $10 million on Saturday and several connections were fancying their chances after drawing favourable positions at Wednesday’s official Post Position draw ceremony at Meydan’s Imax Theatre.

Hong Kong have their strongest representation yet in the race with both Akeed Mofeed and Military Attack challenging Irish hope Ruler of the World for favouritism and both connections were bullish of their chances in the big race,

Englishman Richard Gibson, who trains the former, winner of the Hong Kong Derby (G1) last March and the Hong Kong Cup (G1) in December, said: “I’m thrilled with barrier four. Statistically it’s the best draw in the race which I didn’t know, so we can’t be disappointed with that.”

Military Attack was drawn in stall eight, and Australian John Moore commented: “I’m very pleased, {that’s} xactly where I wanted to be. He’s tactically versatile, so being drawn in the middle gives us options and we can watch the race form around us.

“There’s a lot of Hong Kong interest in the race with two horses in the Dubai World Cup – the world’s greatest race. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Veteran Japanese handler Kunihide Matsuda believes being drawn in gate two has presented Belshazzar, winner of the Japan Dirt Cup (G1) last season, with a gloden chance to show the world how good he is by winning the Dubai World Cup.

“He usually doesn’t jump quickly from the gate so he will get the favorable position from the number two (draw),” he said. “It is the best position for the jockey {Christophe Lemaire} can make the most of his technique and it will be a victory draw for us.”

Thirteen has a long history as an unlucky number and the often dreaded post went to the William Haggas-trained Mukhadram.

“It’s not the ideal position. Obviously I’d have preferred a lower draw,” said the former Epsom Derby-winning handler.

“This together with the new surface {Tapeta}. will make the jockey’s {Paul Hanagan} task more difficult, but there’s nothing you can do about the draw or the weather – so you just get on with it. It’s unfortunate.”

The wide outside post was dealt to Saudi Arabian hope Ron The Greek, and his trainer Frenchman Nicholas Bachalard said: “The horse has been training very well. Not much we can do about it (the draw). (Jose) Lezcano has his work cut out for him. It’s a long way around (from the outside).

“We’ll look at it, talk about it and figure out a strategy.”

Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby saddles his first Dubai World Cup runners, Vancouverite and Cap O’Mountain, who drew posts three and 15. The handler said he was looking forward to having two exciting horses to run in the race: “It has been a great build up to the race. I was delighted to draw stall three for Vancouverite. He’s got natural speed and will be sitting handy, so the draw is no problem at all.”

“Mickael Barzalona is a bit disappointed with stall 15 but all the good horses are drawn out there. It is not ideal, but it is not the end of the world.

We will have to play the brave man’s route, drop in along the inside and see whether luck is with us,” Appleby added.

– With inputs from Ashley Hammond, Staff Reporter