Photo Credit: Erika Rasmussen
He is not yet a household name on the UAE flat racing scene, but Sheikh Hasher bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Chiefdom may make short work of that if his impressive form continues. A good-looking grey son of ace sprinter The Factor, he has proven a force in two consecutive 1600m races at Jebel Ali this season. The high-energy charge won a maiden by 8½ lengths over well-regarded Doug Watson trainee Dark Thunder on Nov. 15 and then easily smashed handicap foes by 6½ lengths 14 days later under Royston Ffrench.
Left in his wake that day were six horses rated 85 or above, hoisting his official rating a massive 12 pounds to 87 and putting him on the brink of the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s 90 minimum. The inspired new form came after a 224-day layoff after two unsuccessful races at Meydan over 1900m and 2000m. The 4-year-old raced once in England for trainer John Gosden as a juvenile in 2018, finishing seventh of 10 at Nottingham, and was subsequently gelded and sold.
“He’s a good horse,” Bin Ghadayer said. “We got him at the sale and we worked against time in the beginning, working too hard to break his maiden and it was mistake from us. Over the summer, he just started to acclimatise and started to show his ability.
“He is a nervous horse and you must take care of him and try not to annoy him,” Bin Ghadayer continued. “We try to give him what he wants and make him happy. He’s a good horse and has shown that in just these two races.”
Originally a $300,000 Keeneland September 2017 yearling, he is a blueblood son of Sultana, a daughter of Storm Cat and full-sister to Shadwell Stud’s champion 2-year-old of 1998,Aljabr, who won G1 affairs for three consecutive seasons, including the Sussex (G1) and Lockinge (G1) at three and four. Next will likely be a return to Meydan on Dec. 19 over the same 1600m distance as his first two runs this season—a race that could put him in position to be a major player in the DWC Carnival.
“We won’t put pressure on him—just go step-by-step,” Bin Ghadayer concluded. “He’s not so far from a Carnival horse, but he must improve, so we will see. I think he will probably run on the 19th in the mile handicap. He has options and we need one more race. I know he’s good and it’s not the quality I am concerned about, it’s his mind.”