The Maktoum Brothers of Dubai weren't on the Keeneland grounds the morning of Sept. 8 in Lexington looking at September sale yearlings, but other major racing figures from the Middle East were shopping hard. Saleh Al Homeizi and Imad Al Sagar, who race this year's Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Authorized, and their key advisor, Tony Nerses, were checking out the available stock in the selection portion of the September auction.
Following Authorized's Derby win, Homeizi and Sagar sold him to Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation as a future stallion, and Darley leased him back to the two Kuwait residents. In his most recent outing, Authorized captured the Juddmonte International Stakes (Eng-I) Aug. 21.
"We bought here last year for the first time," Homeizi said. "I like this sale. It's the best I've seen, and that's what attracted me to come back. The horses I bought last year, the trainers think are quite useful, and it encouraged me to come back and try to find some more. We've just begun looking at some of the horses here now, and we'll decide (what to buy) a little later."
Homeizi races in Europe, as well as this country.
"I have 15 horses in training with Peter Chapple-Hyam, Brian Meehan, and Jeremy Noseda," Homeizi said. "I have one horse in training here. He's with Patrick Biancone, and I'll probably buy more (to race in the United States)."
According to Nerses, who lives in England, teamwork is the reason for Homeizi and Sagar's success.
"We work well together as a team, and that's why we are successful -- the teamwork and dedication," Nerses said. "We don't buy horses just for the sake of buying horses. Sometimes I go to a sale and I don't even buy a horse. So there is that element of teamwork, and we don't buy just for the sake of numbers. I think that makes a difference."
Nerses agreed with Homeizi that last year's purchases at the September sale were good ones.
"We are very pleased, even though they haven't run, but we are hopeful that they are going to successful," Nerses said. "There is a big selection here to pick from --in England there is lesser selection-- and the quality here is excellent. I learned last year that there is more to buying bloodstock than just Tattersalls."