Switzerland Rolls in Dubai Golden Shaheen

Switzerland | Dubai Racing Club


RRR racing's Switzerland (Speightstown) showed that age is merely a number with an emphatic victory in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Meydan Saturday. Jockey Tadhg O'Shea wisely stationed the 8-year-old just behind a sharp pace, carved out by the American duo of Drain the Clock (Maclean's Music) and Wondrwherecraigis (Munnings) who were shadowed by Al Tariq (Fr) (Oasis Dream {GB}). Turning for home, Drain the Clock shook clear from the others as Switzerland began to pick up the tempo confidently while in the five path. Sat down for the stretch drive by O'Shea, the gelding turned on all boosters, catapulting himself to the front approaching the 200-metre marker and was given some encouragement late to fend off the Japanese invader Red Le Zele (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) by 1 3/4 lengths at the wire. The American-based Dr. Schivel (Violence), who was held in midpack in the early going, rallied to pick up third a half-length behind.

Bhupat Seemar, who is on track to this season's UAE training championship, said, “It's such a fantastic result. We've always really liked the horse. Tadgh and I spoke this morning and made a plan. I knew there would be plenty of pace in the race, so we wanted to pick up the pieces. Turning for home, Tadgh said, 'We'd just go with one kick.'”

O'Shea, who is on course for a 10th UAE champion jockey title, added, “There was a lot speed on and this horse excels in a truly run race. We were the outsider today and I said to Bhupat, 'Let's ride him accordingly.' There's no point putting him in the race and getting him in a speed duel, so we rode him like we did in the Al Garhoud Sprint [at Meydan on New Year's Day] and if he shows that turn of foot, he'd be competitive. Thankfully, it all worked and he's a horse who grew in confidence as the race went on. They were starting to stop and flounder and he was coming harder on the bridle–so it was fantastic.”

Yuga Kawada, aboard the runner-up in the last two renewals of the Shaheen, Red Le Zele, said “It was a good result. He likes to do his running at the back of the field in a 1200-metre race. That's just his style and he did the same here, and I had a very good feeling about him doing well going into this but there was too much ground to make up in the end. But, it was a good race and I'm happy with the way he went.”

A dual Grade III winner in the U.S. for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen during his sophomore year, Switzerland made a couple of trainer switches since, including a three-race stint with six-time champion trainer Satish Seemar for whom he won last year's G3 Dubawi S. at Meydan before transferring to his assistant and nephew for 2022. Kicking off the season an impressive winner in the Listed Al Garhoud Sprint, he was sixth under Adrie de Vries in his latest start in the G3 Riyadh Dirt Sprint Feb. 26.

“He came back from Saudi Arabia with a dirty scope and he was drawn bad there,” explained O'Shea. “It was a shame I couldn't go and ride him there, but he's come back better than ever–I'd say that's a career best. It's my first Group 1 winner and I'm in the 40 club! I have a good mate Adrian Nicholls who said 'don't give up, it'll come'.”

The gelding also gave his first-term trainer his initial Group 1 victory since taking out his license last fall following his uncle's suspension.

“We'll look to bring him back next year. And you never know, even at eight there could be some more improvement in him,” added Seemar. “It's a fantastic team we have behind us and I need to thank so many people, I'm in a very privileged position.”

Pedigree Notes:
A $170,000 KEENOV weanling and $175,000 KEESEP yearling purchase, Switzerland flourished into a $500,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile buy. Bred by Branch Family Trust, he is the third foal out of SW Czechers (Indian Charlie), who also hit the board in a trio of Grade III turf tests in the U.S. The 17-year-old mare is also responsible for an unraced 3-year-old filly by Connect and a juvenile filly by Speightstown. Her most recent live foal, a full-brother to Switzerland, brought $350,000 at last fall's Keeneland November sale. This represents the extended family of GI Travers S. winner Willow Hour (Bold Hour). The victory gives Speightstown his 23 Group 1/Grade I victory.

Saturday, Meydan, Dubai
DUBAI GOLDEN SHAHEEN SPONSORED BY ATLANTIS DUBAI-G1, $2,000,000, Meydan, 3-26, 3yo/up, 6f, 1:11.13, fs.
1–SWITZERLAND, 126, g, 8, by Speightstown
1st Dam: Czechers (MSW & MGSP-US, $298,349),
                                by Indian Charlie
2nd Dam: Pine Rob, by Pine Bluff
3rd Dam: Cherryrob, by Roberto
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. ($170,000 Wlg '14 KEENOV; $175,000 Ylg
'15 KEESEP; $500,000 2yo '16 FTMMAY). O-RRR Racing;
B-Branch Family Trust (KY); T-Bhupat Seemar; J-Tadhg O'Shea;
$1,160,000. Lifetime Record: MGSW-US, 27-8-3-4, $1,869,052.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A+.
2–Red Le Zele (Jpn), 126, h, 6, Lord Kanaloa (Jpn)–French Noir
(Jpn), by French Deputy. O-Tokyo Horse Racing Co Ltd;
B-Shadai Farm (JPN); T-Takayuki Yasuda. $400,000.
3–Dr. Schivel, 126, c, 4, Violence–Lil Nugget, by Mining For
Money. ($37,000 RNA Ylg '19 KEEJAN). O-Red Baron's Barn
LLC, Rancho Temescal et al; B-William A. Branch & Arnold R.
Hill (KY); T-Mark Glatt. $200,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, HF, HD.
Also Ran: Chain of Love (Jpn), Eastern World (Ire), Strongconstitution, Drain the Clock, Everfast, Manjeer (Ire), Wondrwherecraigis, Al Tariq (Fr), Mobaadel, Good Effort (Ire). Scratched: Meraas (GB). Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree

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