Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 12, 2018

Posted on: 17th Jan 2018

Muarrab: has strong claims at Meydan on Thursday

The Carnival started in the best possible way for the Shadwell team when Ertijaal won the 1000-metre handicap for the third year in a row.

The Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained seven-year-old defied top weight in galloping to an all-the-way success under Jim Crowley, who was impressed, saying: “my horse was giving away a lot of weight on his first run of the season and the runner up [Hit The Bid] is a very useful sprinter. The front two have pulled well clear, so we have to be very pleased with that.”
Crowley pulled off a sprint double over the weekend, also taking the following day’s 1000m handicap at Jebel Ali onboard the exciting Farook, trained by Erwan Charpy, who is now two from two in the UAE.

There are four more meetings this weekend, and HH Sheikh Hamdan has 30 runners spread among the three tracks which are in action, beginning with day two of the Dubai World Cup Carnival, at Meydan on Thursday.

The feature this week is the 1200metre Dubawi Stakes, which has been upgraded to a Group 3. It welcomes back four-time winner Reynaldothewizard, who could make history as the world’s oldest Stakes winner if successful at the age of 12. He won’t have it easy, however, as Sheikh Hamdan runs Muarrab, impressive winner of the Listed Garhoud Sprint over course and distance in December. Second in this race last season, he has a good chance of going one better this time under Crowley and has drawn well, in four.

Nawwaar, also trained by Al Rayhi, is also in the race but must find 16 lengths with Muarrab from their December clash.

The second race on the card is a non-Carnival handicap, over 2000metres, a trip which suits Ostaad, although both his wins on the Meydan grass have come over slightly shorter. He takes on Mustadhaf, winner of a very competitive Abu Dhabi handicap for Maria Ritchie last time, and also four-year-old Distorted Humor gelding Mudaarab, who has joined Charpy from Sir Michael Stoute and who is the winner of two of his four starts to date. He is the pick of Crowley, leaving O’Neill on Mustadhaf and Fernando Jara on Ostaad.

The 1200metre Turf handicap has a cosmopolitan set of four Shadwell runners, with Faatinah, trained in Australia, topping the weights for trainer David Hayes.  The consistent Group 2 winner impressed in a piece of work on the grass last week and looks the one to beat here. His preparation in Dubai has been supervised by Hayes’ son Ben, who is delighted with the five-year-old’s progress, saying: “He’s a multiple Group 2 winner at home and he’s taken the travel here really well. He has good gate speed, so we hope he’ll go well.”

Click here for Thursday's cards

The same race also sees Mike De Kock run an exciting Dubai newcomer in Janoobi, ridden by Dane O’Neill, who is also a Group 2 winner, having landed the Daisy Guineas in South Africa.

There are also some locally-trained runners in the race for the team; Listed winner Eqtiraan having joined Al Rayhi from Richard Hannon, while the same trainer’s Taamol was a huge eye-catcher on dirt last week in the G2 Maktoum Challenge and takes a drop down in grade here under apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei.

The mile turf handicap, race seven, sees Mastermind, formerly with Mike De Kock, make his debut for Charpy. The six-year-old won the Meydan Classic trial over 1400metres in 2015 and steps up to 1600metres for the first time here.

Al Ain races on Friday and the Shadwell team run maiden Al Abyad in the 1000metre handicap. He will be ridden by Connor Beasley for trainer Ahmad bin Harmash.  

The action returns for a domestic card at Meydan on Saturday and Sheikh Hamdan runs Al Whaad in the opening 1900metre maiden. Bin Harmash’s charge steps up in trip after finishing ninth at Jebel Ali in December and will be ridden by the in-form Anas Al Siyabi.

The 1200metre dirt handicap, sponsored by Al Naboodah Goodyear, has four Shadwell runners, including Doug Watson’s Moosir, who goes for a third win in a row, having scored over this trip and also over 1400metres. He’s been overlooked, however, by Jim Crowley, who partners stablemate Almanaara, a good third last time but again poorly-drawn in 11. The red cap will be carried by the De Kock-trained Alareef, a winner over course and distance last season but top weight here, while the quartet is completed by eight-year-old Ajraam, twice a winner over track and trip.

The turf races on the card look competitive and Mushaakis switches onto it in the 1200metre handicap, in which Sheikh Hamdan runs seven. Something of a Jebel Ali specialist, the eight-year-old hasn’t won on turf since landing a Ripon handicap in 2013, but may well enjoy a change of surface.

The pick of the blue and white team, and of Crowley, might well be Mukhmal, who ran an excellent race when third over 1400metres two weeks ago, and the drop down in trip should play to his strengths. He is joined by stablemate Munshid, who has run down the field at Abu Dhabi twice this season, and also Ejaaby, who had a pipe-opener on dirt in December. Ritchie runs Zararee, who returns after more than three years off the track, and Sahaafy, while the team is completed by bottom weight Alraased, who is likely to try and blaze a trail under Royston Ffrench.

The penultimate race is a 2200metre dirt handicap and Jaaref, the only Shadwell runner, should be able to set the pace from stall two, although he must bounce back from a couple of below-par runs.

Three run for the team in the closing mile turf handicap, with the grey Tafaakhor carrying the stripy cap. The well-bred four-year-old was a close sixth over 1400metres last time and can definitely make the frame here. Estikmaal, for Watson, is another to consider back on dirt after his good third at Jebel Ali on Friday, while Ijmaaly comes down in trip after being beaten six lengths over 2400metres at Abu Dhabi last time.

Speaking of the Capital, the team run three there on Sunday. Thoroughbred Mutawakked returns to his preferred turf after finishing down the field on his local debut on dirt at Jebel Ali last week, while Sauternes Al Maury takes on 11 smart rivals in the President Cup Prep, the pick of the Arabian action. Lastly, the useful filly Aljazi looks to have a good chance in the mares’ conditions events, although Crowley will have to ease a passage from stall 11.

By Laura King

Tags: uae; meydan; sheikhhamdan,

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