Born in Dubai, Saeed Bin Suroor worked as a police officer before turning to the world of horse racing. He took out his licence to train in 1995 and not long after he began working for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Godolphin organisation. Nowadays, he is the longest-serving trainer for Godolphin, so it isn’t much of a surprise that he has won virtually everything there is to win in the world of flat racing.
Saying ‘in the world’ isn’t hyperbole either; he has trained winners in the United Kingdom, Germany, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America – just to name a few of the countries in which he has enjoyed success.
The fact that Saeed Bin Suroor works in flat racing means that he is able to split his time between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, basing himself at Al Quoz Stables in Dubai between November and April before moving over to the Godolphin Stables in Newmarket for the rest of the year. His association with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum began in 1992, but he didn’t get officially appointed to work with Godolphin for a further three years. He made an immediate impact in his new role, winning three of the British Classics in the form of the Derby, the Oaks and the St Leger in his first year.It wasn’t just a flash in the pan, however. He won the 2,000 Guineas with Mark of Esteem the following year and was named Champion Trainer four times in the years that followed. He is also known for nine wins in the Dubai World Cup between 1999 and 2019, which is an impressive record. When it comes to flat racing, there is barely a race that Saeed Bin Suroor hasn’t trained the winner in, which says a lot about his training ability as well as the quality of horses that he’s getting to work with. Between 1995 and 2023, Bin Suroor was responsible for 12 Classic winners, which no doubt will have pleased his employer immensely.
As mentioned, Saeed Bin Suroor has won virtually every race there is to win in the world of flat racing, with the following being just a few examples:
King George VI & Queen Victoria Stakes
Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe
Hong Kong Cup
Dubai World Cup
When you work for a stables like Godolphin, it is fair to assume that you’re going to get to work with quite a few incredibly talented horses. Names like Halling, Refuse to Bend and Fly to the Stars all spring to mind, but there are some other huge names that haver been trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, with the following being the most noteworthy:
The American-bred Lammtarra was trained by Saeed Bin Suroor in the United Kingdom, becoming one of just two horses to win all three of the Derby, the King George VI & Queen Victoria Stakes and the Prix de ‘Arc de Triomphe. That was a success that Bin Suroor led him to in 1995, having won the Washington Singer Stakes the year before. Sired by Nijinsky by Northern Dancer, he wasn’t originally with Bin Suroor but was instead training under Alex Scott at Newmarket. Scott was tragically shot, with Lammtarra being moved to Godolphin to carry on his training. He was 14/1 to win the race, but ended up winning by a length.
When you work for a company like Godolphin, it isn’t a shock that some of the horses that you end up working with are record breakers. Thunder Snow set a record in 2019 when he became the only horse to win the Dubai World Cup for a second time, having also won it the year before. The Irish-bred horse has numerous other victories to his name, including the UAE 2,000 Guineas and the Prix Jean Prat, but there is little question that entering the record books for successive wins in the Dubai World Cup is why he’ll be remembered. Unsurprisingly, he has won awards, being named the Top-rated British two-year-old in 2016.
Bred in Ireland, Cape Verdi was trained in England and Dubai during her career, which saw her run in eight races between 1997 and 1999. Given the fact that she was retired in 1999 after two unsuccessful races when four years old, you might wonder how she made our list. The answer comes in the form of the fact that she won the Lowther Stakes in 1997 and then followed that up with victory in the 1,000 Guineas the following year. She was also the favourite in the Derby but missed out. At the 1998 Cartier Racing Awards, Cape Verdi was named as the European Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, showing her talent as a runner.
If we’re honest, we could’ve picked countless horses that Saeed Bin Suroor has worked with over the years. In some ways, Marienbard is one of the least impressive, but that is more of a comment on the level of horses that he’s worked with than it is on the horse himself. You also shouldn’t think that that means that he hasn’t achieved much, given the fact that he won the Yorkshire Cup in 2001 and the Jockey Club Stakes a year later. It was on the continent where he really impressed, though, with 2002 being the year that he began to smash it. He won the Deutschland-Preis, followed it up with the Grosser Preis von Baden and then the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.