Shadwell UAE Season Preview, Week 16

Posted on: 14th Feb 2018

Al Zahir: struck at the highest level on Sunday under Jim Crowley

Shadwell’s week in the UAE started in the best possible fashion, when Al Zahir won the team a third Arabian Group I of the season, coasting to victory in the valuable HH The President’s Cup in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s chestnut entire was ridden by Jim Crowley, who was delighted, saying; “The draw [one] was kind and my only concern was the other horses coming back to me, which is why I took the gap when it appeared. I’m really pleased to have won this race, for the horse and for the boss.”

There are four meetings once again this week, with 24 Shadwell runners spread among them.  The Arabians get Meydan underway on Thursday, and the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah has attracted a select field of eight, including three for HH Sheikh Hamdan. Foaad  has joined Doug Watson from Francois Rohaut in France and tries dirt for the first time here, while exciting new acquisition AF Mahshoum, the choice of Jim Crowley, drops in trip having won over 2200metres at Abu Dhabi last month. Lastly, Maria Ritchie’s Munbaher returns quickly having finished sixth in a Group 3 sprint at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

View Thursday's card here

View Saturday's card here

View Sunday's card here

Jaaref, who ran well last time out, before fading, takes his chance in the mile and a half handicap and he has been given two pounds back by the handicapper, resuming here off a mark of 95.

A strong field has assembled for the six furlong sprint, including two for Shadwell, both in the care of Al Rayhi. Tadhg O’Shea rides Raafid, who  has been off since going close at Jebel Ali in December, because Crowley has elected to ride Eqtiraan, who was fourth over a furlong shorter than this last week.

There are two staying turf contests on the card, and Zamaam runs for Erwan Charpy in the two mile race. Seventh last time over a trip just short of this, he stays well and can’t be discounted if he runs to his best.

The finale on Thursday is the Jaguar E-Pace handicap, over a mile on turf, which looks very competitive, and Sheikh Hamdan runs Suyoof, trained by Mike De Kock, who has top weight. He missed the break on his seasonal debut last time, running on into fifth, and is likely to be suited by the return to this trip. Ritchie runs Tashweeq, another who should be better suited by conditions, having been well-held on the dirt last time out.

Shadwell sponsors the entire card at Ali Ain on Friday and are represented by Ainhoa Topchef, who goes in the 1600metre handicap for Charpy. The five-year-old has been well-held since winning an Abu Dhabi maiden in November and switches to the dirt for the first time here.

Meydan returns for a second Carnival card on Saturday evening, and there are few more exciting runners on the card than Faatinah, who lines up in the 1200metre turf dash, race one. David Hayes’ five-year-old registered an impressive success over course and distance a month ago and faces a few of the same horses here, although he has scared off all bar five rivals and is very much the one to catch.

The domestic race on the card is on turf, over 1800metres and sees Muzdawaj, just beaten by the re-opposing Good Trip over course and distance last time, take his chance again for Maria Ritchie. He is half a kilo better off with that rival this time, and is very much respected here. Stablemate Azmaam, further back in sixth in the same race, also returns, as does Tafaakhor, who finished fifth for Ali Rayhi. He is the pick of Crowley although they have a tricky draw to overcome, breaking from 14. Lastly, we have a local debutant in Mujeeb, who has joined Charpy from Freddy Head and who runs for the first time since a gelding operation.

There is also a six furlong dirt handicap, and it will be the first time that Hayes’ Shaf, who was fifth on turf last week, has tried that surface. He will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, with Crowley opting for Taamol, who has been kept busy since joining Ali Al Rahyi.  He has adapted well to the sand and finished fourth on it in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint last week.

Jaaref’s sole win in the Emirates came at Abu Dhabi, but he is effective at Meydan and lines up over 1800metres on turf. He has a good draw and is likely to press forward, with a light weight of 55 kilos also to his advantage.

The team have a strong hand in the 1400m turf handicap which wraps up the card. Muntazah, a new recruit to Doug Watson, has been exciting the trainer at home and can go well on his first start since being gelded and since leaving Owen Burrows. He will be ridden by Crowley, with Fernando Jara onboard Ibn Malik, who returns to his preferred trip after finishing fifth over 1000metres three weeks’ ago. 

After the excitement of last weekend, Abu Dhabi hosts a more low-key card this Sunday but there is a hotly-contested 2400metre handicap for Thoroughbreds, in which five run for Shadwell. Khusoosy, who won the 2016 Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship over a trip just short of this, aims for his first win since, while Ritchie’s Mustadhaf tries to build on his good third at Meydan last time. He is the choice of Crowley, with Sam Hitchcott on the quirky Ostaad, who steps up markedly in trip, while Mudaarab, has just his second local start and first at Abu Dhabi. Finally, Tadhg O’Shea rides Ijmaaly, who is yet to win in the UAE and who may once again find things tricky from stall 15.

By Laura King

Tags: uae, shadwell, arabian, meydan, dubai,

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