Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Al Zarooni v/s Bin Suroor - a tale of 2 performances

Real Madrid are just running riot against overwhelmed Villareal, and unless the second half shows a change of cataclysmic proportions, this is going to be an easy good recommendation on the Los Blancos.

The general observation over the past years has been that many juveniles that showed great promise in grooming stables such as those of Mark Johnston and Andre Fabre, became flops when they joined the parent Godolphin operation. Many other potentially good 2-year olds that were outright acquired at a high price from other stables also did not do themselves justice once they joined the Dubai stable. Fingers were mainly pointed at trainer bin Suroor (BS) for not only failing to bring on the newcomers properly, but also for wrecking their careers as well.

This year, Sheikh Mo decided to go with 2 trainers and gave his confidence to Al Zarooni (AZ), who was attributed about half the stable and a load of new 2-year olds as well. The results so far are astonishing to say the least. I look at the trainer statistics on the Racing Post today and the numbers don't lie;

Mahmood Al Zarooni     78–389     20%     51     46     46     £1,455,771     £1,839,382     +131.61
Saeed Bin Suroor           48–343     14%     56     40     39     £418,305     £819,341     -112.66

Al Zarooni beats the bin Suroor in every single category. The story so far is that while AZ was winning prestigious Group 1's at Royal Ascot on high-class Rewilding, BS was tasting Group 1 glory in lesser-fancied places like Italy or Germany with old stalwarts like Campanologist! The likes of Blue Bunting and Rewilding that have carried the flag proud for Godolphin this year have all been under the care of AZ.

It is arguable that AZ's dominance can be attributed to the fact he was given the better crop of horses than bin Suroor this year. Only the insiders of the stable would know that for sure. But his better strike rate also demonstrates that he is more likely to get the horses spot-on when he readies them for a race, than his counter-part.

It is worth of note that Godolphin used to command a strong contingent running Stateside under the care of BS. This year, their incursions on that side of the point has been rather tepid relative to previous years. There is no doubt that bin Suroor's influence has diminished on that ground as well.

Whether these are the results of Godolphin politics or Sheihkh Mo's decisions, it will be interesting to see how all this folds out. The main interest for a punter is that when you look at a racing card, check the trainer first. In these current times, the odds are that an AZ-trained horse will give a better performance than a BS-trained one.

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