Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 5

Posted on: 21st Nov 2018

Foaad: in winning action at Newbury

There are three meetings in the UAE this week; with Meydan hosting its third card of the campaign on Thursday, followed by Al Ain on Friday and Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

The first race at Meydan is the Group 2 Bani Yas, for Purebred Arabians over seven furlongs. HH Sheikh Hamdan runs two, with Doug Watson’s Foaad looking the pick of them. The Madjani five-year-old was only ninth on seasonal debut at Abu Dhabi but is likely to have improved for that run as he drops down slightly in trip here.

In-form trainer Al Rashid Al Rayhi runs the mare Al Jazi, who hasn’t shown much of late but who tries Meydan’s dirt – a surface she trains on every day – for the first time under race conditions.

The six furlong Friday Handicap, race three, looks very competitive and Shadwell run five. It will be interesting to see how the progressive Ejaaby fares on his dirt debut for Watson. The four-year-old Helmet gelding was twice a winner on the turf track here last season but his pedigree suggests he will cope well with the surface switch. He is the pick of retained rider Dane O’Neill, who has overlooked four more who are tested on the dirt.

Thursday Card at Meydan view

Moosir was a non-runner two weeks ago, but takes his chance this time for Watson and Sam Hitchcott. The son of Daaher was a three-time winner here last season and has a good record second up, having been beaten into seventh three weeks’ ago.

The Watson pair are joined by three others in the race for Sheikh Hamdan, with Shajjy another one holding leading claims. Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s four-year-old tries drops back in trip and races off a 5lb lower mark than when fifth behind the exciting Taamol at Meydan last time. Al Mheiri also runs Sahaafy, who makes his seasonal return here under stable jockey Ben Curtis.

Al Rayhi runs Alraased, who was well-held at Jebel Ali on the first day of the season. Now rated 80, he may be a little high in the handicap but can still be effective, especially if allowed an easy lead, for which he is well-drawn in stall one.

The six furlong maiden has a mixture of two-year-olds and elders and Sheikh Hamdan runs one of the more likely winners in Kawasir.  The three-year-old son of Speightstown has joined Al Mheiri from Roger Varian and has four seconds to his name. Having his first run here, he looks likely to play a big part on this dirt debut.

The featured mile Gulfnews.com Rated Conditions race sees Listed winner Etijaah make his seasonal bow. Watson’s eight-year-old won was beaten on his first start last season, however, and may just need this run once again. Stablemate Nathr has had a run, however, but needs everything to go his way in order to win. That said, he scooted home by nearly 11 lengths over course and distance in March and a repeat of that effort would make him hard to beat here. 

Watson’s dual challenge is taken on by Taamol, the choice of O’Neill, who impressed when winning well over seven furlongs two weeks ago.  Now rated 96, Al Al Rayhi’s trainee needs to prove he is as effective over this extra distance from a less-than-ideal berth in nine.

Two go for the team in the ten furlong handicap, the final race on the card. Erwan Charpy sends out four-year-old Mujeeb, who steps up markedly in trip having had a pipe opener over six furlongs two weeks’ ago. He’s been dropped 5lbs by the handicapper, too, meaning he goes off 79 on Thursday.

It’s intriguing that Al Mheiri’s Mustahdaf returns to dirt, on which he ran respectably back in 2016. The seven-year-old son of Dynaformer is very much bred for the task and goes here off his dirt mark of just 74 (91 on dirt) which makes him very well-treated for this seasonal bow.

Abu Dhabi as usual stages just one Thoroughbred race on Sunday, and the seven furlong handicap looks wide open. Watson introduces local newcomer Fawaareq, who returns from a near 400-day break. Rated 90, top weight here will make things difficult. Azmaan, meanwhile, has his second run of the campaign and goes for Al Mheiri. Fifth at Jebel Ali last time, the son of Dark Angel is much more effective on turf and should is well-suited by conditions here, if the trip isn’t on the sharp side for him.

Similar comments apply to the Al Rayhi-trained Tafaakhor, who is rated 88 on turf and 74 on dirt and will be ridden by O’Neill. The four-year-old makes a quick return after finishing sixth at Meydan 11 days ago and shouldn’t be ruled out in what is a fiercely competitive race.

Laura King

Tags: uae; meydan; alain; abudhabi; lauraking,