Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 8, 2017

Posted on: 22nd Dec 2017

The steady stream of Shadwell success in the UAE continued over the weekend when the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Alraased collected his fourth career success, winning the 1000metre handicap at Al Ain.

The eight-year-old was ridden by Dane O’Neill, who commented: “He’s a genuine horse, if they were all as tough and consistent and gave us a much fun as he did, then the game would be a lot easier.”

Dane had five to choose from in Abu Dhabi’s Thoroughbred race a day later and had to settle for third on Ostaad, as another Shadwell runner, Mustahdaf, landed the 2400metre handicap in the hands of Fernando Jara.

It was a first win of the season for trainer Maria Ritchie and a first in the UAE for Mustahdaf, who’s revised mark of 91 leaves him just short of a Carnival run.

This week sees the best card of the season so far, when Meydan stages three Listed races on Thursday night. That action is preceded by the Madjani Stakes for Purebred Arabians, which produced a one-two for Sheikh Hamdan last year when Bon Baiser Du Faust led home stablemate Sauternes Al Maury. Both Doug Watson trainees are in again, but find themselves in a deep field. The team also run Al Zahir, who tries dirt for the first time, a surface that he is very much bred for, being a son of the eponymous Madjani. He is the pick of O’Neill, although he has a tough draw to contend with, being 16 of 16.

The Listed Entisar, over the same course and distance as the Dubai World Cup, has some high class runners, including Group 2 Godolphin Mile winner Second Summer. Stablemate Etijaah was seventh behind him on that occasion but comes here with the benefit of a run this season. He will also appreciate the return to this trip and must be respected. He will be partnered by O’Neill, who has chosen him over Khusoosy, who runs for the first time since February. A son of Hard Spun, the five-year-old is a dual Abu Dhabi winner on turf and tries dirt for the first time here, in the hands of Tadhg O’Shea.

The Listed Garhoud Sprint, over 1200metres, heralds the return of 2016 Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Muarrab, who was second in this race 12 months ago behind the re-opposing My Catch. Now with Al Rahyi, he no longer has to carry a penalty and, if back to his best, has a big chance. Al Rayhi also saddles Nawwaar, last seen winning at Meydan over this course and distance in January, who is the mount of Antonio Fresu.

The final race, a handicap over a mile, gives Ritchie two chances of more glory when she saddles Ajraam and Azmaam. The former, O’Neill’s pick, is yet to win over this trip in the UAE and may be vulnerable to some less-exposed sorts off top weight here. They include his stablemate, who runs at Meydan for just the second time and makes his fourth UAE start in total.

Sharjah hosts the second meeting of the weekend, on Saturday, and the feature race is the 1700metre HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup for Thoroughbreds.  Sheikh Hamdan is represented by Thaaqib, who is now with Erwan Charpy having previously been based in the UK with Charles Hills.  Having his first run since being gelded, the lightly-raced three-year-old is by Invincible Spirit, giving him a good chance of adapting to this dirt surface.

By Laura King

Tags: shadwellracing, uae, abudhabi, meydan,

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