Dubai Racing Carnival week 7 - Shadwell preview

Posted on: 14th Feb 2017

ERTIJAAL (IRE) the favourite to with the Gr.3 Meydan Sprint this week

Not long after that Meydan success, Sheikh Hamdan welcomed another top tier victory in the States, when Almanaar took the Grade I Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Ridden by Joel Rosario, the homebred Chad Brown trainee won by three-quarters of a length; securing his first American win and a first Thoroughbred Group I of 2017 for the operation.

This week sees just two meetings in the Emirates; Meydan staging its seventh Carnival fixture on Thursday, ahead of a big day at Jebel Ali on Friday. The team are well represented at both, with nine taking their chance at Meydan.

First up is the seven furlong domestic handicap, which sees Alareef take his chance for trainer Mike De Kock, along with Estidraak for Ali Al Rayhi. Retained jockey Jim Crowley rides the former, who did well to win here over six furlongs last time. Resuming off a 3lb higher mark, he has a good chance again if able to overcome a wide draw in 11. Estidraak, the mount of Dane O’Neill, is drawn just inside him in 10 but is yet to really show his best form in the Emirates.

Four go in the seven furlong dirt handicap, including Fannaan, who wasn’t disgraced when eighth in his local debut on turf last week. By Speightstown out of a Red Ransom mare, he is very much bred for this dirt test, but will need to break better than he managed last time. O’Neill rides him, with Crowley picking Shaishee. The seven-year-old ran well over six furlongs last week, has been dropped a pound and can go close if in the same vein of form. He faces stablemate Sahaafy, who may well appreciate the return to dirt after finishing well back in a turf handicap last week, while newcomer Raafid has joined Ali Al Rayhi from France.  The son of Shamardal picked up two wins from five starts there and it will be interesting to see how he fares here, trying dirt for the first time.

The team’s best chance of a winner on the night has to be Ertijaal (IRE) who will be the hot favourite in the Group 3 Meydan Sprint, over five furlongs. Flawless on his return over course and distance in February, he is rate 6lbs clear of the field and will be extremely hard to beat under Jim Crowley, who has a good draw in eight and ten rivals to beat.

The dirt handicap, over a mile, sees Nathr bid to follow up an impressive win over course and distance last time. Given a rise of 8lbs for that, he competes off a career-high mark but looks among the best here. 


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