DRC Carnival Week 3 - Shadwell Preview

Posted on: 18th Jan 2017

AL BAREZ, who won his maiden at Meydan two starts ago will run in the 1600metre event on Thursday.

Week three of the Dubai World Cup Carnival sees the Shadwell team concentrate largely on the handicap division, with 12 declared on Thursday night at Meydan.

A domestic handicap over a mile starts off proceedings, in which Nathr shoulders top weight for Doug Watson. Twice a winner at the track, including over course and distance, a repeat of one of those efforts would see him take all the beating under Jim Crowley. Dane O’Neill rides Alareef for Mike De Kock. The six-year-old will be much fitter for his comeback run three weeks’ ago and is another with strong claims, although this trip might stretch his stamina.

The UAE 1000 Guineas Trial, race two, is a stronger contest than in recent years and Ahmad Bin Harmash’s Dont Lie Kitten faces a tough task. A winner on debut, she was well held against older horses in handicap company after that, so will appreciate being back in her own age group.

On to the 1000metre turf sprint, in which Mussabeh Al Mheiri saddles an interesting new recruit to UAE racing in Maljaa. Useful when trained in the UK by Roger Varian, the son of Paco Boy is a specialist over this trip and is a genuine contender here. Mubtaghaa, well-held on dirt in the Listed Dubawi Stakes last week, also takes his chance for the same yard.

Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s durable Munaaser had a choice of engagements over the weekend, and his trainer has opted for the 2000metre dirt handicap, race four. Seventh behind stablemate Le Bernardin in Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round I last time, he is better than he showed then and can have a say now dropped in grade. Etijaah, a winner on the first day of the Meydan season, has been given a break since running down the field in Listed company in December. He goes well fresh and has conditions to suit him here.

Sheikh Hamdan has a strong sprinting team at the moment, and three clash in the 1200metre dirt event. Group 3 winner Shaishee, returning from an unsuccessful spin on the turf, has a good chance on his best form, while The Taj looked exciting before an enforced absence due to injury and is the pick of Jim Crowley. Mashaaref heads the weights but usually saves his best for Jebel Ali. He will be the ride of multiple Group 1-winning jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe, who rides for Al Mheiri for the first time.

Mike De Kock’s Whistle Stop has been kept busy and makes his third start in three weeks in the 2000metre turf handicap. Yet to win in Dubai, he is a South African Grade 3 winner and wasn’t beaten far over course and distance last week. Another good run could see him in the placings. He faces Mutasayyid, who scrapes in off a low weight. Well-regarded by trainer Doug Watson, he looks progressive and can bounce back from a disappointing run in good company at Abu Dhabi last time out.

Shadwell have ten runners at Jebel Ali on Friday. The ultra-game Insaany was just touched off by Bluff over course and distance last time and he looks the most likely winner of the 1950metre dirt handicap, in which he faces just four rivals, including Mundahesh, who has struggled on both previous attempts at the course.

Three go in the 1600metre event, where three-year-old Al Barez returns to the scene of his maiden win two starts ago. Reportedly working well at home, Ahmad Bin Harmash’s charge can go well here again under Crowley. Amaan, the mount of O’Neill, and Qannaas were both well held in handicap company at Al Ain last time, although both have Jebel Ali successes on their CV.

Friday’s feature is a strong edition of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, sponsored by Shadwell, who run Nolohay. A Carnival winner back in 2015, he wasn’t beaten far when fifth in the prep for this race and could well finish in the placings this time.

Crowley rides Almohtaseb in the 1200metre sprint, the shortest distance the Oasis Dream homebred has so far encountered. Down a couple of pounds in the weights, he could finish in the frame, as could veteran Tamaathul, who ran well in a similar sort of race back in December and returns from a break.

The closing 1000metre event looks trappy, but the blue and white silks have an excellent chance of success with Mushir. A dual course winner so far this season, he has been off the course since his latest win in November, but resumes off just a 3lb higher mark here. He will be partnered by Crowley, with O’Neill on Ajraam. A three-time winner at Meydan, Ajraam is yet to score up the hill but is a reliable sort.

Sheikh Hamdan has a four-strong team for Abu Dhabi on Sunday, all of whom run in the closing 1400metre President’s Cup Prep; the only Thoroughbred race on the card. Crowley partners the highest rated horse in the field, Ghaamer, who landed the Listed President’s Cup itself over course and distance last February. Competitive at the Carnival again this year, he is very much the one to beat here, with stall two likely to suit his front-running tendency.  

Quirky but talented Maftool, the second highest-rated in the field, is having his third run is as many weeks for Al Mheiri and tries a different track this time, as does Mastermind, a rare Abu Dhabi runner for De Kock. The latter, over his best trip here, is one to watch under Pat Cosgrave. The Shadwell quartet is completed by UAE debutant Estidraak. A lightly-raced son of Ifraaj, the four-year-old won a Kempton maiden when with Sir Michael Stoute and looks the type to progress in the hands of Al Rayhi. 

By Laura King

Tags: meydan; dubai world cup; carnival; uae; shadwell; hh sheikh hamdan,