Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 12

Posted on: 9th Jan 2019

Etijaah: the nine-year-old will appreciate a strong gallop

HH Sheikh Hamdan enjoyed a super start to the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival, thanks to Faatinah, who scored in the five furlong turf handicap under jockey Jim Crowley.

Also a winner at last year’s Carnival, the gelding saw off top Irish sprinter Hit The Bid by more than two lengths and will now have the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint as his major aim, according to Ben Hayes, who trains Faatinah in partnership with his father David and Tom Dabernig.

“We were keen to run him over 1000m as he had perhaps not been seeing out the 1200m. He’s my favourite horse in the yard and we’ll now have to think about how to campaign him as he runs well fresh, so that might be the plan.”

Sheikh Hamdan and Crowley enjoyed a double over the weekend when Azmaam, trained by Mussabeh Al Mheiri, won for the first time in the UAE, taking a mile turf handicap at Meydan on Saturday.

Medan card

This week’s feature at Meydan is the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round 1, which sees Etijaah line up for Doug Watson. A good fourth in the Listed Entisar Stakes last month, the now nine-year-old drops in trip here and will be best-suited by a strong pace.

Watson also runs Muntazah, who is hugely exciting, having finished second over course and distance in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile back in March. Now six years old, the Dubawi gelding had a run at Abu Dhabi in December so should be fit for this second try on dirt. He’s the pick of Crowley.

The mile turf handicap, the final race, is a new test for Taamol, who tries this surface for just the second time since arriving in the UAE in 2017. A Listed winner at Newmarket over seven furlongs, it will be interesting to see how he fares on his return to the green stuff. The team has greater claims of a win with Zainhom, a good third, beaten just a quarter of a length, at Jebel Ali last time.

Hayes, successful with Faatinah last week, runs Eshtiraak, who has won his last two starts, both at this trip, in Australia. The four-year-old makes his UAE debut but should be ready for this, having last run as recently as November.

“The mile is his pet trip and he’s done really well since he got here,” Hayes said. “It looks competitive but we hope he’ll run well.”

The six furlong turf handicap, race four, heralds the local debut of Mujaafy, a dual winner in South Africa for Mike De Kock. Fourth, only beaten three and a quarter lengths, in a Group 2 at Kenilworth when last in action, he makes his handicap debut but may need this run after a year off the track due to quarantine restrictions.

In the same race, Waady makes a quick return after finishing sixth over five furlongs last week. Watson’s seven-year-old has never run over this distance on turf at Meydan and cannot be ruled out, having earned Group 3 honours when trained in the UK.

Taamol’s trainer Al Rayhi also runs Raafid, who finished fifth on dirt here on Saturday. Sixth over course and distance in February, he is still looking for his breakthrough success in the Emirates.

The opening Purebred Arabian Maktoum Challenge Round 1 is the only Group 1 on the card and Sheikh Hamdan relies on AF Mahshoum, a brother to his Kahayla Classic winner AF Mathmoon. A good second at Abu Dhabi last time, he should be in the mix in an open-looking race.

Jebel Ali races on Friday and Sheikh Hamdan runs four. Three clash in race two, a six furlong sprint, with Sahaafy shouldering top weight for Al Mheiri and Crowley. Fourth, not beaten far, over track and trip last time, he should be competitive again.

Jebel Ali card

Sahaafy’s stablemate Kidd Malibu is O’Neill’s mount and the six-year-old has been in good form this season, including a third over this trip last time out. Drawn well in five, he cannot be ruled out, and the same applies to Mutawakked, who ran some good races in defeat earlier on in the season. Back at the distance of his sole win to date, Ben Curtis’ mount has place claims at least.

The mile dirt handicap sees Jahaafel make his UAE debut for Al Mheiri. The winner of one of his five starts in the UK, it will be interesting to see how this four-year-old son of French Classic winner Style Vendome copes with the transition to dirt.

Abu Dhabi returns from a break and hosts a six-race card on Sunday night. The mile handicap has attracted AF Monsef, who was fourth over course and distance three weeks ago. On the same mark of 70, he is visored this time and should be in the prize money once again under Crowley.

Watson’s Foaad carries top weight in the 11 furlong handicap, race five. Just touched off at Jebel Ali last time, the Madjani gelding has had a break since and can go well on his return to the turf, although stall 11 makes things a little tricky.

By contrast, Mashaheer has bottom weight in the only Thoroughbred race, a mile and a half handicap. A good fourth on dirt at Sharjah last time, he runs on turf for the first time in the UAE and this son of Dutch Art should fare even better for the switch.

Laura King

Tags: lauraking; meydan; jebelali; abudhabi; sheikhhamdan; shadwell,

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