Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 18

Posted on: 27th Feb 2018

BARNAMAJ: victorious in round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge looks to add round three to his list of successes

HH Sheikh Hamdan enjoyed a fantastic week in the UAE, picking up a pair of Group 2 successes at Meydan. First up was sprinting sensation Ertijaal, who won his second straight Meydan Sprint, holding on close home from Godolphin’s Blue Point. He was ridden by Jim Crowley, who later on partnered Janoobi to success in the Zabeel Mile. The Mike De Kock trainee beat defending champion Championship by three-quarters of a length and now has a slot on World Cup night, in the Dubai Turf or Godolphin Mile; should the team which to switch him to dirt.

Two days later, the Shadwell team also scored a notable victory in the final meeting of the season at Sharjah, when The Secret won the course’s 2700metre ‘Marathon’ race for the third time. Ridden by Sam Hitchcott, Doug Watson’s son of Madjani won by 11 and a half lengths.

The final meeting, apart from Super Saturday, of the Carnival takes place on Thursday and the team have some strong chances across the card – one of four in the UAE this weekend.

Sheikh Hamdan has won three of the four Purebred Arabian Group Is so far this season, and Barnamaj returns to try and add leg three of the Maktoum Challenge to his win in round two. Ali Al Rayhi’s charge renews rivalry with Paddy’s Day here, and the drop down to 2000metres could be crucial, Barnamaj only just getting there last time. Stablemate AF Mahshoum, a new recruit from Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda’s ownership, also takes his chance for returning trainer Mussabeh Al Mheiri, who puts up stable jockey Fernando Jara.

The Listed Meydan Classic, race two, on turf, sees David Hayes’ Australian raider Mutamayel step up to a mile after running down the field in the prep race for this over a furlong shorter. The extra trip should suit him but he again concedes weight, due to being Southern Hemisphere-born.

Doug Watson’s Etijaah won the Listed Curlin Handicap, beating subsequent Grade I winner Mubtaahij, last year, and the Red Stables team have kept him fresh for a defence of the title. However, this time he has to give upwards of three kilos to his rivals, which makes it a much tougher task. He does have the benefit of stall one, however, and faces eight rivals.

Al Ain hosts its penultimate meeting of the season on Friday, with seven races on the card. The team are represented in the Thoroughbred event, a 1000metre dash, by Al Abyad, who has his first run since finishing fifth over course and distance in January.

Eight run for the team at Meydan’s domestic fixture on Saturday, with Almanaara leading the charge in the 1200metre dirt handicap. The well-bred five-year-old, a half-brother to top stallion Dark Angel, won well on his local debut and has had a nice break since finishing fourth over the same trip in January. He’s drawn in ten, but looks a major player under Crowley.
Al Mheiri runs Ajraam, a reliable sort, in the same race and the eight-year-old resumes off a three pound lower mark here, while stablemate Zaraee switches back to dirt, having been unplaced on the turf last time out.

There are two 2000metre dirt handicaps, and the first of them, for horses rated 76-98, sees Nathr make a quick return after finishing fifth over 1400metres last week. He is the mount of Crowley and looks well-handicapped off 85.

The evening’s feature is the 1600metre turf handicap and it features Ejaaby, one of the most exciting horses of the domestic season. Another trained by Watson, the chestnut has won both his Meydan starts, over 1200metres and 1400metres, and steps up further here. He is joined in the race by Muzdawaj, who has been second on his last two starts here, but drops down a furlong this time.

Muzdawaj’s trainer Al Mheiri also has a live chance in the 1600metre dirt handicap, where Mutawakked lines up under Jara. A good second at Abu Dhabi last time, he nevertheless has to prove he handles this surface. That won’t be a problem for the admirable Moosir, who goes for his third win of the season here, although this distance might stretch him a little.

Sheikh Hamdan runs a UAE debutante in race seven, a 1200metre turf event, when Shajjy lines up for Al Mheiri. The Invincible Spirit four-year-old was a three-time winner in France for Francois Rohaut and looks interesting here, on his first start since August. However, Crowley prefers to partner Farook, who has his first local run on turf and reappears just eight days after a good fifth in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint. Greeb, yet to win in nine starts in the Emirates, completes the team, breaking from stall seven under Sam Hitchcott.

The Listed President’s Cup for Thoroughbreds takes place at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and Shadwell run three. Crowley has elected to ride the Dubawi gelding Muntazah for Doug Watson; the five-year-old being likely to improve for his run at Meydan two weeks ago. The race looks open, however, and Al Mheiri’s Ibn Malik, a specialist at this trip, also has a chance under Jara, while Mutamakkin makes his Abu Dhabi debut under Pat Dobbs, but has drawn badly in 12.

The team also run three in the Group 2 Liwa Oasis, for Thoroughbreds, and both Bon Baiser du Faust and Foaad will appreciate being back on turf after struggling on dirt at Meydan last time. They are joined in the race by the talented Group 1 winner Sivit Al Maury, having his first start since December of 2015 and making his debut here for Erwan Charpy.

Charpy is also responsible for the team’s final runner of the weekend; his Ainhoa Topchef returning to the scene of his maiden triumph in the closing mile handicap.

By Laura King



Tags: duabi, racing, uae, shadwell, al maktoum, arabian, thoroughbred,

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