Dubaian Saeed bin Suroor was the original trainer for the Godolphin operation, founded by Sheikh Mohammed, and first started training in Britain in 1995. In his inaugural season, he saddled just 17 domestic winners, but they included Moonshell in the Oaks, Lammtara in the Derby and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, Halling in the Juddmonte International Stakes and Classic Cliché in the St. Leger.
Unsurprisingly, after such a stellar start to his career, in 1996, in only his second season in charge at Godolphin Stables – formerly Stanley House Stables – in Newmarket, bin Suroor became Champion Trainer for the first time. That year, he saddled 48 winners from 158 runners in Britain, at a strike rate of 30%, and amassed £1.96 million in prize money. Domestic highlights include notable doubles for Mark Of Esteem, in the 2,000 Guineas and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Halling in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and the Juddmonte International Stakes and Classic Cliché in the Yorkshire Cup and the Gold Cup, while top-class juvenile Medaaly also won the Racing Post Trophy.
Saeed bin Suroor was Champion Trainer again in 1998, and again in 1999, with 38 winners from 115 runners and 40 winners from 121 runners, respectively, at the astonishing strike rate of 33% on both occasions, and £2.3 million and £2.7 million in total prize money.
In 1998, he won the 1,000 Guineas with Cape Verdi and the St. Leger with Nedawi, while other high-profile victories in Britain included Swain in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes and the Champion Stakes, Cape Cross in the Lockinge Stakes, Daylami in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes and Kayf Tara in the Gold Cup. In 1999, he won the 2,000 Guineas with Island Sands, the St. Leger (again) with Mutafaweq, the Lockinge Stakes (again) with Fly To The Stars, the Coronation Cup, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (again) and the Champion Stakes (again) with Daylami – who also won the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Gulfstream Park, Florida – the Haydock Sprint Cup with Diktat and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes with Dubai Millenium.
By 2004, bin Suroor was firmly established at the top of his profession; his 115 domestic winners that year included half a dozen at the highest level, headed by Doyen, who won the Hardwicke Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes, and Refuse To Bend, who won the Queen Anne Stakes and the Coral-Eclipse Stakes. Collectively, those four victories alone contributed just short of £900,000 to his seasonal total of £4.3 million, which gave him his fourth trainers’ title.