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Saudi Cup an option on Real World’s radar

Real World may have the newly-installed Group One Saudi Cup among his options in the new year.

Saeed bin Suroor’s four-year-old has made giant strides this summer, having gone winless in four races at last year’s Dubai Carnival.

His winning run began in the Royal Hunt Cup, and he has steadily progressed with each outing – winning a Listed race, a Group Three and then a Group Two in France at the weekend, beating The Revenant in the hands of Frankie Dettori.

“It was too soft for him, and he’d never run on ground like that before, but the way he finished was good,” said Bin Suroor, whose stable stalwart Benbatl was third to Maximum Security in the inaugural running of the Saudi race.

“Now he can have a break, because he’s run in some big races so far this year all through the summer.

“We’ll take him back to Dubai and look at some big races for him.

“He’s run on dirt before – he finished second on it – but he was a little bit weak then. With time, he is much better now.

“We’ll see if he’s a horse for the World Cup. We’ll run him on turf first and see what happens – that should put him spot on for his next race and tell us where we go in future.

“There is the Dubai Duty Free on turf (nine furlongs), the World Cup on dirt – and there’s a chance we could take him to Saudi as well.”

Bin Suroor keeps ParisLongchamp options open for Real World

Saeed bin Suroor plans to make a late call on which race Real World will contest at ParisLongchamp on Arc weekend.

The Dark Angel colt is unbeaten in three starts in Britain this season – dominating his rivals in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot before impressing in Listed company at Newbury and in the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York.

Bin Suroor had the option of saddling the four-year-old in Friday’s Joel Stakes at Newmarket, but decided to rely on Benbatl – who duly regained his title in that Group Two contest.

Real World will instead line up for either the Prix Daniel Wildenstein or the Prix Dollar on Saturday.

“We have entered him in France in two races – one over a mile (Wildenstein) and one over a mile and a quarter (Dollar),” said the Newmarket trainer.

“They are both Group Twos, and closer to the race we will make a decision.”

Master Of The Seas heads Godolphin possibles for Joel Stakes

Master Of The Seas, Benbatl and Real World give the Godolphin team a strong hand in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket on Friday.

Winner of the Craven Stakes over the course and distance in the spring, the Charlie Appleby-trained Master Of The Seas could make his first competitive appearance since filling the runner-up spot in the 2000 Guineas.

The Dubawi colt was beaten just a short head by Poetic Flare in the Rowley Mile Classic – and while he has missed much of the season through injury, he appears to be closing in on a comeback.

Saeed bin Suroor has the choice of saddling Benbatl and/or Real World.

Benbatl would be running in the Group Two contest for a third time, having won impressively in 2019 and finished third behind Guineas hero Kameko in last year’s renewal.

The seven-year-old can be expected to improve from his narrow defeat in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood considering it was his first appearance in 11 months.

His stablemate Real World, meanwhile, is unbeaten in three starts this season and remains open to further improvement.

John and Thady Gosden’s Sovereign Stakes winner Megallan also features among 11 confirmations.

The other Group Two on Friday’s card is the Rockfel Stakes, for which 16 juvenile fillies have stood their ground.

Likely contenders include Andrew Balding’s Majestic Glory, who is on a hat-trick following successive wins on the July Course, and the unbeaten Jumbly from Roger Charlton’s yard.

The Ger Lyons-trained Juncture is a potential challenger from Ireland, while George Boughey’s tough-as-teak Oscula sets the standard on ratings after a busy campaign.

Older fillies and mares get their chance to shine over a mile and a half in the Group Three Princess Royal Stakes, in which Ralph Beckett’s Albaflora could bid to get back on the winning trail after filling the runner-up spot behind Snowfall in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Bin Suroor considering Wildenstein run for Real World

Real World could be heading to France for his next outing with Saeed bin Suroor considering the Prix Daniel Wildenstein on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend.

The improving four-year-old won the Royal Hunt Cup and has followed up in Listed company at Newbury and a Group Three at York.

He holds an entry in the Shadwell Joel Stakes at Newmarket but stablemate Benbatl looks likely to take in that race, ground permitting.

“It’s more likely that Benbatl will run in the Joel Stakes, while we’ll maybe take Real World to France for the Group Two over a mile, the Wildenstein,” said Bin Suroor.

“As for Ascot (Champions Day), we’ll have to see what the ground is like. It’s more likely for Benbatl. Real World is a horse for the future and he’ll be even better next season.

“Both of them are in good form and are working well.

“With Benbatl, we know he doesn’t want soft ground but he doesn’t want it too firm either. Good ground is what he wants.”

Benbatl (far side) was just edged out by Lavender's Blue at Goodwood (
Benbatl (far side) was just edged out by Lavender’s Blue at Goodwood (Adam Davy/PA)

Benbatl made his return to action at Goodwood in the Celebration Mile after almost a year off and was beaten in a photo finish by Lavender’s Blue after Oisin Murphy’s mount missed the break and then made ground around the outside of the field.

Bin Suroor added: “He missed the break at Goodwood and that cost him, Oisin said if you ran that race 10 more times he’d win it every time but he still ran well and showed he’s a good horse.

Benbatl in good shape following pleasing Goodwood return

Benbatl has the option of going for a second victory in Newmarket’s Joel Stakes following his pleasing return to action at Goodwood on Saturday.

Saeed bin Suroor’s triple Group One winner recorded a brilliant success in the 2019 running of the Group Two contest, while he finished a close third in last year’s renewal behind 2000 Guineas hero Kameko.

The seven-year-old made his first appearance since then in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and was beaten just a nose by Lavender’s Blue to suggest his ability remains very much intact.

Bin Suroor said: “He came back from the race very good – he’s happy and fresh.

“I think there is an option to run him in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.”

Benbatl is entered in both the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot in October, but ground conditions are likely to determine whether he makes an appearance on Champions Day.

“Usually the ground has gone soft by October time, so we will see. Good ground will be better for him,” Bin Suroor added.

Real World and Marco Ghiani winning the Strensall Stakes at York
Real World and Marco Ghiani winning the Strensall Stakes at York (Nigel French/PA)

Another potential Champions Day aspirant in the trainer’s care is Real World, who was last seen completing a hat-trick for the season the Group Three Strensall Stakes at York.

Bin Suroor said: “He’s doing very good. I’m very happy with him.

“The QEII will be an option and he will also be entered in the Joel Stakes (September 24).”

Real World rules in Strensall Stakes

Real World successfully graduated to Group Three class with an impressive verdict in the Sky Bet And Symphony Group Strensall Stakes at York.

An easy winner of the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot in June, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt had followed up with Listed glory at Newbury before switching up another level on the Knavesmire.

Partnered once again by Marco Ghiani, the evens favourite Real World took up a position on the heels of pace-setter El Drama in the nine-furlong heat, racing rather keenly in the early stages.

However, when Ghiani gave the signal with a couple of furlongs to run, Real World really started to engage top gear – and the Godolphin runner stretched clear in style.

Lord Glitters finished with a flourish from the back of the pack – but Real World had flown, coming home a length and a half clear as Ghiani saluted the crowd to celebrate his first Group-race victory.

Bin Suroor said: “He’s been a lovely horse all the time – and after he won at Ascot and at Newbury, we thought we would run him in this race.

“This horse has always looked class in the morning, the way he trains and the way he works. He ran a huge race today, and the jockey is happy with him and was happy to ride him.

“Marco is going to be one of the top jockeys in the future. He tries to copy Frankie (Dettori). That is his aim still, but he has a long way to go. He is good, and I’ve always liked him.

“I saw him ride, and then he came to work me for me in the mornings, and he looks one for the future.”

Real World is an 8-1 shot for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile at Ascot on Champions Day in October, and Bin Suroor confirmed that Group One as his end-of-season aim – although he may have another outing along the way.

He added: “We may take Real World to Newmarket first or to France, but the race for him at the end of the season is the QEII as we speak.

“He’s a nice horse, but he needs to improve more. We took him to Dubai this year, and he was still weak. When he came back here we gave him a chance.

“Every time he runs he has improved, and he is a horse for next year too.”

Bin Suroor plots patient rise for Real World

Saeed bin Suroor will continue to take small steps up the ladder with Real World – but he believes the potential is there for the son of Dark Angel to reach the top.

An eye-catching winner of the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot in June, Real World then stepped up in trip and class at Newbury to win a Listed race.

His rating of 116 puts him hot on the heels of the best around, although the Godolphin trainer is happy to take a steady approach.

“We’ll look for a Group Three for him next – he’s progressing,” said Bin Suroor.

“He was keen early on (over 10 furlongs at Newbury), but still finished well. He’s doing well and came out of his last race well – I’m happy with him.

“We’ll look after him, because he’s a horse with a big future now. He’s rated 116, he’s very good. He’ll be in some big races in the future.

“He ran in Dubai this year, and finished second and third on dirt, so he handles it. After he’s finished here, he’ll go back out to Dubai in the winter.

“Physically he’s better than before. He might be one for the World Cup – we’ll see.

“I don’t think we’ll go over a mile and a half, because he’s showing more speed now, (so) I think we’ll keep him to a mile and a mile and a quarter. We’ll see in Dubai if we want to try him over further.”

Live Your Dream (white hat) is heading for the Ebor
Live Your Dream (white cap) is heading for the Ebor (David Davies/PA)

Bin Suroor also has one of the favourites for the Sky Bet Ebor in Live Your Dream, winner of four of his seven starts to date and set to be joined on the Knavesmire by the yard’s Newmarket winner Untold Story.

Bin Suroor said of Live Your Dream: “The Ebor looks the race for him. He’s improving – he came out of his last race nicely and he’s in good form.

“He’s probably a Group Three horse at the moment, but I think you need a Group horse for the Ebor, so we’ll take it from there.

“Good ground would be what he wants.”

He added of Untold Story: “The trip was too far for him (two and a half miles) at Ascot. He is tough and he tries hard.

“Having juice in the ground helps him. I think he is best on good or good to soft ground.

“We will take him to the Ebor now, with Live Your Dream, and I think a mile and six will be better for him.”

Top apprentice Marco Ghiani savouring super summer

Life in 2021 just keeps getting better and better for Marco Ghiani.

This is proving to be a landmark year for the 22-year-old Italian, who is setting a strong pace in the race to be champion apprentice.

Not only has he ridden out his claim, but he had his first Royal Ascot winner this summer on Real World and opened his Listed account on the same horse at Newbury.

His first ever treble at Newmarket on Saturday extended his advantage over closest pursuer Mark Crehan to 18.

“Yes it’s going really well. I’m ahead in the apprentice title race, but there’s a long way to go,” he said.

“Mark has obviously now got a ban for 28 days so it gives me a good chance to get a bit further clear, but you never know anything could happen.

“I could break a leg or get banned for a long time. I’ve just got to try to keep going how I am.”

Ghiani may only be 22 and not from a racing background, but he has been driven to be a jockey since the age of 14 and sat on a racehorse for the first time at 15.

He was noticed by Dario Vargiu, multiple champion jockey in Italy, who contacted him and encouraged him to take the route his heart was telling him.

“I was riding in the Sartiglia in Sardinia. It was a carnival thing with the horses. The champion jockey in Italy texted me and it went from there,” said Ghiani.

He took the brave decision to leave home in Sardinia and enrolled at the British Racing School at 16 and joined Luca Cumani’s stable in Newmarket.

 Marco Ghiani spent his formative years with Luca Cumani
Marco Ghiani spent his formative years with Luca Cumani (Nigel French/PA)

He said: “I was with Luca Cumani for three and a half years. He was helpful and it was exciting.”

Ghiani followed in the footsteps of Frankie Dettori, who was mentored by Cumani, while Andrea Atzeni is a fellow Sardinian who has made his mark in racing here and abroad.

After Cumani retired in October 2018, Ghiani rode out for another Newmarket trainer Stuart Williams.

“He wanted someone to ride out and then I started to ride for him,” he said.

Ghiani had his first ride in June 2018 and his first winner in March the following year. He rode out his claim on July 1 on Surprise Picture for trainer Hugo Palmer at Yarmouth.

The horse who thrust him into the limelight was Real World when the pair took the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot.

“It was just amazing. I can’t describe it,” he said.

Then earlier this month Ghiani gained his first Pattern-race success on the Saeed bin Suroor-trained four-year-old in the bet365 Steventon Stakes at Newbury.

“As soon as he saw daylight he just took off. He is some horse,” he said.

“Riding for Saeed bin Suroor is a good experience and everything. I’m quite grateful.

Marco Ghiani drives Real World (blue) to victory in the Steventon Stakes at Newbury
Marco Ghiani drives Real World (blue) to victory in the Steventon Stakes at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“It’s the Goodwood Festival so hopefully I can get a winner next week.”

Ghiani has also had plenty to celebrate on a personal front with his partner Brooke Brown giving birth to a boy, Louis, in May.

The baby was just 15 days old when he was taken to his first race meeting at Brighton and Ghiani promptly rode a double to mark the occasion.

“It has changed my life a lot. I feel more grown up quite a lot,” he said.

Being a jockey can involve long hours away from home but Ghiani is taking that in is stride.

“I get up at about five o’clock and I can be late getting home to Newmarket. Hopefully I can keep going from strength to strength,” he said.

**Marco Ghiani is currently in first place in the 2021 Apprentice Jockeys’ Championship. For more info please visit greatbritishracing.com.

Real World in motion for Bin Suroor and Ghiani

Real World produced a decisive turn of foot to follow up his Royal Hunt Cup success in the bet365 Stakes – registered as the Steventon Stakes – at Newbury.

The Godolphin colt, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, was stuck in a pocket over a furlong out – but once he got out he quickly put the race to bed in the hands of leading apprentice Marco Ghiani, who recently rode out his claim.

Real World travelled well in the early stages as Solid Stone made the running, but the 15-8 favourite needed a gap and when it came he flew to storm past Derab and land the Listed contest by a length and a quarter.

The first two drew three and three-quarter lengths ahead of Solid Stone in third.

The victory was quick compensation for the Bin Suroor stable after Home City was demoted to second behind Tropez Power, having been first past the post in the bet365 Novice Stakes under Louis Steward. Bin Suroor missed both races as he was stuck in traffic.

A jubilant Ghiani celebrated as he passed the line, and said afterwards: “I hope I made him (Bin Suroor) happy. After I rode five lots on the gallops, I left to make sure I go here to ride this amazing horse.

“I was boxed in and had nowhere to go two furlongs out, but I think that was a good thing because it was his first time over that trip.

“He just showed what he can do and I think he did it pretty easily. That’s my first Listed winner and I tried to do the same celebration I did at Royal Ascot!

“He’s an improving horse and I think he can take another step up – wherever he goes I hope to keep the ride on him. I think this is his trip now.”

He added: “To become a good jockey you need a good horse. I think I’ve found a nice one and hopefully I can keep going. He’s my favourite horse, no doubt.”

Bin Suroor said by telephone: “He’s a nice horse and he did very well after Ascot.

“The other day he worked on the Limekilns and he was flying. He’s improving all the time.

“Anything over a mile or 10 furlongs we’ll look at, but it will be Group races – no more handicaps for him now, he won’t go for the Golden Mile (at Goodwood).”

Bin Suroor famously enjoyed a fruitful partnership with certain other Italian for the best part of 20 years and can see similarities with Ghiani and Frankie Dettori.

“I had been watching Marco for a while before I asked him to ride for me and before Ascot he had ridden a couple of winners for me,” said Bin Suroor.

“But I said to him before Ascot, ‘if you want to be a famous jockey you have to have a winner at Royal Ascot!’.

“He’s going to be one of the best, I’ve thought that for a long time and he has a good record for me (six winners from 11 rides). I had a long relationship with another Italian, though, so he’s got a long way to go yet!”

It was a sharp change in fortune for Bin Suroor after Home City in the opener.

Having his third run, the Richard Hannon-trained Tropez Power youngster crossed the line a neck behind Home City.

However, the first past the post drifted from the centre of the track over to the far rail under a right-hand drive from Steward inside the final furlong, carrying Tropez Power and Silvestre de Sousa with him. The winning distance was a neck, while Steward was given a four-day suspension for careless riding.

Hannon said after the amended result: “I wasn’t surprised and I feel for the first and Saeed. It’s lovely to win races, but not necessarily like that, although it looked like we were carried across the course a bit.

“Tropez Power came on massively for his run at Salisbury, which was a good run. I was disappointed with him at Haydock first time because I knew he was better than that. He kept trying and running on today and I think he’ll get a mile in time.”

De Sousa later registered another slightly fortunate winner when he was the beneficiary of Hayley Turner’s traffic troubles.

Silvestre De Sousa and Scaramanga (left) hold off Rodrigo Diaz
Silvestre De Sousa and Scaramanga (left) hold off Rodrigo Diaz (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Turner was due to ride the Paul Nicholls-trained Scaramanga (13-2) in the Bahrain Turf Series Handicap but got stranded, and when De Sousa’s original intended mount Call My Bluff was a non-runner, the champion National Hunt trainer called on the former champion jockey.

De Sousa kicked on two out and stole a march on the favourite Rodrigo Diaz, with Jamie Spencer meeting his own traffic from the rear and failing to get there by half a length.

“He was a nice spare to pick him, Hayley was stuck in traffic,” said De Sousa.

“He’s a horse that stays well, I was in the right place and he put the race to bed when I wanted to.”

Nicholls indicated the winner would be heading to Goodwood.

Real World to switch up in class after Ascot success

Impressive Royal Hunt Cup winner Real World is to be stepped up in class following his Ascot romp.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, the four-year-old was having just his sixth start – and first over a mile – in one of the most competitive handicaps of the season.

However, ridden confidently by leading apprentice Marco Ghiani, sponsored by geegeez.co.uk, Real World was prominent on the far side throughout before pulling almost five lengths clear.

“We’ll keep the options open for him. Maybe we’ll take him to Newbury for a Listed or a Group race,” said Bin Suroor.

“He’s a nice horse, definitely one for the future. He’s come back good, happy and fresh.

“Not many win the Hunt Cup by five lengths, he’s a class horse and the way he finished his race bodes well for the future. Also I want to mention the jockey, Marco, he gave him a good ride.

“That was his first race over a mile, we know he stays further, so races over a mile or a mile and a quarter are fine.”

Bin Suroor fancied his chances of a second winner at the meeting with Stunning Beauty in the Kensington Palace Stakes – but the stalls opened before Silvestre de Sousa could take her blindfold off.

“You could hear Silvestre saying he wasn’t ready, but she got left,” said the trainer.

“It’s happened, accidents happen in racing. She’s back, she’ll have a stalls test and will be fine. We’ll have to see what the BHA say about it.

“She was third-favourite, she had a good chance. We’ll look for a nice race for her now.”

Stable stalwart Benbatl is back in training with an end-of-season campaign mooted, as is the promising Military March, who had been briefly one of the favourites for last year’s Derby having finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas.

Benbatl has been a grand servant for Godolphin
Benbatl has been a grand servant for Godolphin (Nigel French/PA)

Benbatl has been absent since September and was favourite for the Dubai World Cup before it was announced he would not be heading to Meydan.

“Benbatl is good, he’s in full training, in good condition and looks really well,” said Bin Suroor.

“So far, if all goes to plan, he might be back by the end of August.

“We’ll see if we end up travelling with him after he has had a run or two in Europe, then we’ll decide. The Summer Mile might be an option.

“Military March is also back in full training, but it might be September time before he is back in a race. Meydan will be his aim after he’s had one or two races here first.”

Real deal Marco Ghiani celebrates first Royal Ascot winner

Rising star Marco Ghiani gave a jubilant celebration as he stormed to victory aboard Real World for Saeed bin Suroor in the Royal Hunt Cup.

The talented apprentice had fellow Godolphin runner Eastern World from Charlie Appleby’s yard for company as the pair blazed along on the far rail – but once Ghiani hit top gear on the 18-1 winner he shot clear.

It was all over from there, and even though 11-2 favourite Astro King tried to make late gains he was still four and three-quarter lengths adrift. Grove Ferry and Ouzo took third and fourth respectively.

Ghiani said: “He often misses the break, but to avoid that he was blindfolded and went in late.

“I managed to stay next to William Buick and at the two he was quickening away while looking at the crowd.

“He’s a bit of a baby and an improving horse with few races under his belt.

“I walked the track and hoped we would stay on the rail.

“He is an improving horse, he is still a bit of a baby.”

He added: “I want to say thank you to Stuart Williams (boss) and Mr Bin Suroor and Sheikh Mohammed.

“Thank you very much everyone.”

Real World was first - with daylight second...
Real World was first – with daylight second… (Steven Paston/PA)

Bin Suroor said: “When Marco came in to ride him I said if you want to be famous you must win on him at Royal Ascot.

“I liked him last year when we looked after him, but this year he’s started to show us something.

“He can miss the jump, but not today, and when I saw him on the bridle at halfway I thought he could win.

“He handled the ground well and I shall look at Listed or Group Three options for him.”

Chipotle sparked scenes of delight in the winner’s enclosure with victory in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes.

Starting at 22-1, the Eve Johnson Houghton-trained youngster – winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster at the start of the season – travelled at the rear of the group on the far side of the track in the hands of Charlie Bishop, who timed it to perfection in picking off his rivals.

Dig Two was two and a quarter lengths back in second, with Boonie another head away in third. But it was another disappointing race for American trainer Wesley Ward, with his Frankie Dettori-ridden favourite Ruthin ultimately well beaten having led for a long way.

Bishop said: “I was quite keen to get a level break, but he bunny hopped when the stalls opened and I had to be patient. But I got a dream run through.

“We’ve always liked him and we never pressed any buttons when he won the Brocklesby and that race here, but at Sandown he didn’t like the soft and I didn’t give him the best of rides.

Charlie Bishop with Chipotle
Charlie Bishop with Chipotle (Steven Paston/PA)

“Eve’s a brilliant trainer and I feel quite emotional that she’s kept the faith with me.”

Johnson Houghton said: “He’s a horse that trains himself. He travels and when you ask him off he goes. He’s an absolute dude of a horse and he didn’t enjoy the soft ground at Sandown.

“All through the day I felt we couldn’t win from stall one, but then after the Hunt Cup I thought we did have a chance. Charlie had the courage to stay on the far side, and off a rattling fast pace he really picked up.”