Sheikh Mohammed is grooming rookie conditioner Mahmood Al Zarooni for the plum position as head trainer for Godolphin.
Al Zarooni was entrusted to prepare the stable’s second-string early last year and began with a famous G2 Godolphin Mile victory courtesy of Calming Influence (King’s Best).
He rose to the next level in June when Sheikh Mohammed’s stayer Rewilding (Tiger Hill) defeated So You Think in a thrilling renewal of the G1 Prince Of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Now Al Zarooni has been given G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud winner Mandaean to prepare for the 2012 classics.
“Becoming a Godolphin trainer is a great honour,” Al Zarooni said after Rewilding upstaged Coolmore’s NZ bred champion. “Sheikh Mohammed has given me so much support and is responsible for providing me with this fantastic opportunity.”
Al Zarooni was born in Dubai and developed a passion for horses when he started riding in the desert. He joined the stables of Emirati trainer Ali Al Raihe and is now seen as the successor to Saeed bin Suror.
Al Zarooni received another leg up with the news Mandaean is about to arrive from Andre Fabre. It was a vote of confidence in the 35 year-old rookie in light of Fabre’s record in the classics.
The French master trained Peintre Celebre (1997) and Lope de Vega (2010) to victory in the Prix du Jockey Club and he guided Pour Moi to victory in this year’s English Derby.
And there’s also the small matter of multiple triumphs in the Arc de Triomphe (7), Coronation Cup (6) and Grand Prix de Paris (11).
Fabre knows Mandaean’s family well having trained his sire Manduro. He also prepared his dam Summertime Legacy to a G2 at Deauville for Sheikh Maktoum.
In addition, Fabre sent out his older half-sister Wavering to land the G1 Prix Saint-Alary in May.
Further success for the family is sure to follow and Fabre agreed when waving good-bye to Mandaean. “He’s a nice horse and has done well,” he said. “He’s still a bit green and will surely improve with age.”
Two other Godolphin horses trained by Andre Fabre have moved to Newmarket. Be Fabulous, who captured the G1 Prix Royal-Oak, is also going to Al Zarooni while G3 Prix Gladiateur winner Ley Hunter has joined bin Suroor.