Satish Seemar and North America chase Dubai World Cup dream

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Satish Seemar has high hopes for favourite North America in Saturday’s Dubai World Cup, with the Dubai-based trainer bidding to land a maiden triumph in the marquee race after falling short in 2018.

North America, the favourite last year, came up short after blowing his start and went on to finish last of the 10 runners.

But everything looks in place for the seven-year-old to go better in the $12 million race at Meydan during the richest day of the international racing calendar.

“Last year we were positive but it didn’t work out due to the gate problems,” said Seemar.

“We used to use ear plugs for him on his way to the gates and then we’d take them off.

“They have strong loudspeakers at Meydan and once the plugs had been removed the horse got nervous and that’s compromised his chances.

“He’s gotten used to the noise and he ran two races at Meydan, which he won impressively.”

The Zabeel Stables handler, who also trains Godolphin Mile runner Secret Ambition, has guided North America to an unbeaten record this season.

The sire of Duwabi won legs of the Al Maktoum Challenge by nine lengths and two and a quarter lengths respectively, and looks in solid shape ahead of Saturday.

Drawn in post three for the mile-and-a-quarter race, North America will need a more consistent start than last year’s race.

“This year we have gone up a little bit but three is a safe draw for him, and we were hoping to get three to five for him, or even six,” said Seemar.

“He’s done nothing wrong this season. He’s very good and fresh, just like we saw in leg one of the Al Maktoum Challenge. He’s a very impressive horse.

“He likes to be fresh and hopefully it works out perfectly.”

A staggering $35 million is on offer across the nine races on Saturday and the Dubai World Cup remains the jewel in the crown for its founder His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

While North America is a worthy star under jockey Richard Mullen, Capezzano is also in the form of his life.

He has registered three impressive victories this season, including a thrilling triumph against 2018 champion Thunder Snow at Super Saturday three weeks ago.

“He won two races over the mile very convincingly to give us the signal to try him over the extended trip. He was amazing and we hope he can replicate the same form on the big night,” said trainer Salem bin Ghadayer.

“He started his career in Dubai. He doesn’t have a lot of experience. But by races and time, he will improve.

“He’s a little bit of a moody horse. He’s better than before so I’m relaxed.”

Thunder Snow, ridden by jockey Christophe Soumillon, is Godolphin’s sole runner in the race as they go in search of a record-ninth World Cup victory.

The five-year-old, who was drawn in post 12 for the race, finished third at the Breeders’ Cup classic in November and followed that up with a sluggish second place finish at Meydan earlier this month.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “He won last year from gate No10 but is in 12 this time, it’s still good from our side. I know the horse has a good turn of foot to take a good position early.

“He’s doing very good. He worked well and I’m happy with him. The more you run him, he’ll come back good. I’m happy with his progress. He’s settled. It’ll be a tough race with horses from Japan, America, local horses. He’s a tough horse.”

A colt firmly in with a shout is Yoshida.

The handsome Japanese-bred son of Heart’s Cry arrived in the UAE off a sixth-place finish in the inaugural Group 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational at Gulfstream Park in January.

The five-year-old also boasts Grade 1 wins on turf and dirt, having captured the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs in May, as well as the prestigious Woodward at Saratoga last year.

William Mott said: “He had a lacklustre performance in the Pegasus, but came out of it well and we were happy with how he travelled.

“He always trains well. He thrives on the morning sessions in particular. He’s adaptable and with a world class jockey (Jose Ortiz), we are very confident.”

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