Shadwell UAE Season 2018/19 Season Preview Week 2

Posted on: 1st Nov 2018

The action returns to the iconic venue of Meydan this week

Meydan opens its doors this weekend for a seven-race card which carries plenty of interest. HH Sheikh Hamdan runs five at Meydan and two at Abu Dhabi, which also gets underway, on Saturday.

The first Shadwell runner on the card is Jaaref, who returns after a busy campaign last season which saw him run eight times for trainer Ali Rashid al Rayhi. The five-year-old has dropped to a mark of just 75 on the dirt, but probably needs further than the mile he gets this time.

The six furlong Emirates Airline Handicap looks competitive and two represent Sheikh Hamdan, with retained rider Dane O’Neill electing to ride Moosir for Doug Watson. The eight-year-old won three times this season, including over course and distance, and can put up another bold show here. He faces 11 rivals including Erwan Charpy’s Farook, who tries Meydan’s dirt track for the first time, after winning three times at Jebel Ali last season. It will be interesting to see how he reacts to a turning track, having stuck to straight courses so far in the UAE.

View the Meydan card here

The penultimate race is a mile handicap in which Nathr carries the white and blue. The seven-year-old entire ended last season with an emphatic, seven-length, win over course and distance and now races off an eight pound higher mark. Drawn in one, he can press forward early and should again prove hard to catch under O’Neill, provided he is fit enough after the break.

The final race, a 2000metre handicap, sees Thaaqib take his chance for Charpy and O’Neill. The Invincible Spirit gelding has run just three times in the Emirates so far, and now makes his Meydan debut. A winner at Chelmsford before transferring to the UAE, he should appreciate a flatter track having run at Jebel Ali on his last two starts.

Abu Dhabi’s turf course, as usual, hosts a mainly Purebred Arabian card and Shadwell run two in the National Day Cup Prep, over 1600metres. O’Neill partners Foaad for Watson; the Madjani gelding taking a notable drop in class having contested Group 2s on the last two occasions. Rated 90, he has a little bit to find with some of his rivals, but is nevertheless not without a chance in a strong race.

O’Neill’s decision to ride Foaad means that Sam Hitchcott comes in for a nice spare ride on Aljazi. The grey mare was a good second on her local debut, at Abu Dhabi, but hasn’t really built on that since, finishing down the field in a Conditions event when last seen in January.

Laura King

Tags: uae; meydan; lauraking,