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Friday, February 1, 2008


Trainer Saeed bin Suroor saddled an incredible four winners out of seven at the third meeting of the DUBAL-sponsored Dubai International Racing Carnival meeting at Nad Al Sheba.

The Godolphin trainer took his tally to eight winners from just 21 races at the Carnival so far, and looks to have a number of excellent prospects for the year.

Frankie Dettori, in the Godolphin blue silks, was on board Blackat Kitten and Igor Protti in the 1600m and 2000m dirt contests, while Willie Supple obliged on River Tiber in the first division of the 1600m turf handicap before Ted Durcan partnered Sentinelese in the closing second division.

The delighted trainer said: "It's been a great start and it's down to the fact that we have a much bigger string than in previous years, and the horses are simply better than last year.

"Since November we knew we had a much better string, and everything's going really well for us. The Carnival will help sort out our plans for Dubai World Cup night, and also for the start of the season in Europe."

Bin Suroor missed out on the feature race, the US$200,000 Al Rashidiya, which went to Lord Admiral, who carried the colours of his legendary father, former Irish trainer Vincent O'Brien, to a famous victory.

The Irish seven-year-old had registered some decent form in the UAE before, having finished runner-up at Group 2 level twice in 2006, and was second in a Listed race here last year.

Charles O'Brien, son of one of racing's most famous and influential figures, showed he also knows how to saddle a big-race winner, with this consistent sort winning easily in the end by three and three-quarter lengths.

"It's my first winner in Dubai, we've been close a couple of times with him before but we were nothing more than hopeful. We'll have a look at the Al Fahidi Fort or Jebel Hatta next," said O'Brien Jr.

The win was Ireland's second of the night after Mick Kinane had earlier coasted home on the John Oxx-trained Mourilyan in the 2400m turf race.

"With this type of horse, you don't know when he's going to stop improving, so he could be a pretty decent horse," said Kinane.

Adi Selvaratnam showed his uncanny knack of training winning sprinters by taking the opening 1000m DUBAL Ingot with New Freedom.

The UAE-based trainer also saddled the popular 10-year-old Conroy to finish fourth, and the result marked a change in fortunes for the winning rider, Tadhg O'Shea, who lost a race in the stewards' room here last week.

"It's a good feeling after last week but racing's full of ups and downs isn't it?" remarked O'Shea.

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