Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 11

Posted on: 3rd Jan 2019

Ibn Malik: the talented runner is reverting back to the turf at Meydan

The Dubai World Cup Carnival launches at Meydan on Thursday, with a strong six-race card promising some thrilling racing.

There are two Group 3s this week; the first of which is the Dubawi Stakes over six furlongs on dirt, followed by the nine furlong Singspiel Stakes. HH Sheikh Hamdan isn’t represented in either of these but runs nine elsewhere on the card. 

Ali Al Rayhi’s Jaaref starts things off in the opening mile and a half turf handicap and the Sea The Stars gelding has been in excellent form this season, winning in Abu Dhabi before finishing second there in the Listed National Day Cup last time. This is a step up in trip, but he’s a versatile, tough, horse who is likely to try and make the running. First retained jockey Jim Crowley, riding in Dubai for the first time this season, takes the mount.

Jim rides Jaaref in preference to Basateen, who has only won once in the UAE, on debut back in February 2016, but also arrives in good heart, having been a strong-finishing second over this trip at Abu Dhabi two weeks ago.

View the Meydan card here

The five furlong turf handicap is extremely competitive and Faatinah tops the weights. Trained in Australia by David Hayes, the gelding won over six furlongs at last year’s Carnival and has been in good heart since, including winning a Listed race over this trip at Moonee Valley. If arriving in the same form, he could well be too good for his 11 rivals, which include three others for Shadwell.

With Crowley on Faatinah, second jockey Dane O’Neill has chosen to partner Ibn Malik, who was an excellent second on his dirt debut in the Listed Garhoud Sprint last time. Back on turf here, Mussabeh Al Mheiri’s charge tries this distance for just the second time in his career.

The red cap will be carried by Alfolk, who is trained by Mike De Kock and who makes his local debut, having won over this trip at Group 3 level in South Africa. Off the track for 11 months, having endured a prolonged quarantine process, he is likely to need this first outing, but is reportedly training well.

Waady, also a Group 3 winner, but in the UK, has the white cap. Trained by Doug Watson, he has been running well on dirt so far this season but will be much more at home over this track and trip, having finished third on it during last year’s Carnival.

There are three runners for Sheikh Hamdan in the ultra-competitive seven furlong turf handicap, the final race. De Kock runs Janoobi and Suyoof, the former carrying top weight and Jim Crowley. 

Winner of the Group 2 Zabeel Mile last season, Janoobi is a tenacious frontrunner who could prove hard to pass, assuming he settles early on in the race and can overcome a wide draw in 14.

Suyoof, meanwhile, is something of a seven-furlong specialist, having won over this trip at the 2017 Carnival. He only managed two starts last season, but cannot be dismissed on the pick of his form.

The Shadwell challenge is completed by Ekhtiyaar, who makes his local debut for Watson, having been in the care of Roger Varian in the UK. Off since July, he has his first run since being gelded. 

Al Ain hosts a seven-race card on Friday, and Purebred Arabian Ashraaf is the sole runner in the blue and white. Al Mheiri’s chestnut needs to bounce back from a below-par run last time but merits consideration on the best of his form. 

Meydan returns for a seven-race domestic fixture on Saturday afternoon and Sheikh Hamdan runs 11, four of whom clash in the six furlong dirt sprint. Crowley rides Farook for Erwan Charpy, who has been in good form this season and who was third over this trip last time out. 

O’Neill rides Kawasir, who broke his maiden on his local debut over this course and distance last time out. Trained by Al Mheiri, the four-year-old faces a much tougher task this time and it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Ali Al Rayhi runs a pair of seasoned sprinters in Raafid and Alraased, with one of his stable jockeys, Fernando Jara, opting to ride the former. Alraased, meanwhile, makes a quick return, having finished sixth at Jebel Ali last Friday.

Five go for the team in the mile turf handicap, with Crowley riding Azmaam for Al Mheiri. Second over seven furlongs at Abu Dhabi last time, this looks a presentable opportunity for him to add to his sole career win so far.

O’Neill rides Tafaakhor who has been put up three pounds to a mark of 89 after winning at Abu Dhabi last time. This looks a better race, but he still can’t be ruled out, which also applies to Mujeeb, one of two in the race for Erwan Charpy. Fourth behind Tafaakhor last time, he is steadily improving for his second season in the UAE.

Charpy’s other runner is Moqarrar, who makes his local debut, having been trained by Sir Michael Stoute in the UK. By Exchange Rate, he should appreciate the dirt surface and is another having his first run since a gelding operation. The Shadwell team in this race is completed by the Watson-trained Fawaareq, who has his second local start 41 days after running well in defeat at Abu Dhabi.

The finale is a ten furlong grass handicap in which Crowley rides Mudaarab for Charpy. Drawn well in three, the five-year-old ran a good race in third at Abu Dhabi last time out. This is only his second start on this surface at Meydan and he has plenty of things in his favour. He should be race-fit, whereas Muzdawaj, trained by Al Mheiri, is having his first start since March. Second twice on Meydan’s turf, he still can’t be ruled out in what looks an open race.

Laura King

Tags: meydan; shadwell; dubaiworldcupcarnival; lauraking,

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