Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 8

Posted on: 11th Dec 2018

Nathr: should strip fitter for his run three weeks ago

It’s the busiest weekend of the season so far in the UAE, with four meetings taking place this weekend.

HH Sheikh Hamdan has just one runner at Al Ain on Thursday, when Purebred Arabian Ashraaf lines up in the ten furlong feature race, for trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri. The seven-year-old was a good third over course and distance last weekend and is likely to go well again as he searches for his first win in the Emirates.

Shadwell and Irish arm Derrinstown sponsor three of the races at Jebel Ali on Friday and the team will be represented on the track as well, with four runners across the seven races.

Two carry the famous blue and white in the third race, a mile handicap, in which Dane O’Neill rides Thaaqib. The four-year-old has his fifth start of the campaign here and should prefer being back at Jebel Ali, where he has twice run well this season, including finishing third over nine furlongs a month ago. Thaaqib is trained by Erwan Charpy, as is Mujeeb, the mount of Erwan’s stable jockey Antonio Fresu. He tries Jebel Ali for the second time and is now rated 15lbs lower than when well-beaten at the track in March.

The penultimate seven furlong handicap is very competitive and Tadbir runs here for Charpy and O’Neill. The three-year-old shaped well when fifth over this trip at Meydan last week and he is likely to prefer the more ‘turf-style’ Jebel Ali track.

Sharjah hosts its biggest race of the year on Saturday, and it is named in honour of Shadwell’s boss. The second running of the HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, the only Thoroughbred race on the card, has attracted a full field of 16, including two for the team.

Takatul, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, has been a good second on both of his local starts to date. They have both come at Jebel Ali and the return to a flatter track here will suit him, although stall 16 will make things difficult for O’Neill.

The retained rider partners Takatul instead of Doug Watson’s Nathr, who is the top weight here. The seven-year-old will be fitter for a run at Meydan three weeks’ ago and this trip of an extended mile looks perfect for him. Drawn in seven under Sam Hitchcott, he is one of the leading players in an open race.

Abu Dhabi hosts a good-quality card on Sunday, with one Thoroughbred race sitting last on the card. Shadwell run two, and Mudaarab, the choice of O’Neill, should be happier being back on turf, having run down the field at Jebel Ali last month. A winner at Goodwood when trained in the UK, Abu Dhabi’s tight track won’t be a worry and he looks interesting here.

Mudaarab should be fitter after his run last time and the same applied to Basateen, who is yet to add to his debut win in the UAE; at the Dubai World Cup Carnival back in February 2016. He carries top weight from stall eight, with Sam Hitchcott taking the ride.

Laura King

Tags: shadwell; lauraking; uae; alain; jebelali; abudhabi,