Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 7, 2017

Posted on: 15th Dec 2017

Last week saw more success for Shadwell’s UAE-based string when Moosir became one of a select band of horses to win twice this season when he and Dane O’Neill won the 1400metre handicap at Meydan on Thursday. HH Sheikh Hamdan’s seven-year-old son of Daaher is now up to a mark of 80 following that success, a career-high mark.

There are three meetings in the UAE this week, with Jebel Ali getting things started on Friday. As usual, the Shadwell team supports the course through sponsorship and will also have eight runners at the unique track.  

Don’t Lie Kitten is the first of the troops into action, and the Ahmad Bin Harmash-trained three-year-old faces 15 rivals in the 1950metre handicap. Without a win since her debut success at Meydan more than a year ago, she tries this trip and Jebel Ali for the first time.

The 1800metre handicap, race two, includes Doug Watson unveiling a UAE newcomer in Estikmaal, a four-year-old gelded son of Oasis Dream. A half-brother to Group I winners Make Believe and Dubawi Heights, he was formerly trained by Freddy Head in France and it will be interesting to see how he adapts to dirt here. He will be ridden by Sam Hitchcott, with retained rider Dane O’Neill sitting the meeting out due to suspension.

The 1400metre Shadwell-sponsored feature race has four Shadwell runners. Mushaakis has his fourth run of the season and he is now back down to his last winning mark of 92. That last success, in March, came over course and distance and he has a chance here if back to that kind of form under five-time UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea.

Elronaq, another for Watson, tries Jebel Ali for the first time after finishing unplaced at Meydan on his domestic debut. He was crowded and unable to recover last time, so will hopefully have a clearer run on Friday and he remains of long term interest with Hitchcott in the plate.

Watson also saddles the three-year-old Helmet gelding Ejaaby, who was previously with Roger Varian when a maiden winner at Wolverhampton. Unexposed and with time on his side, he looks well worth keeping a close eye on and looks the pick of the Red Stables runners in the race with Pat Dobbs doing the steering.

The quartet is completed by Tafaahkor, for Al Rahyi and Antonio Fresu, who makes a quick return having been outpaced on his local debut at Meydan over 1400metres last week.

The mile handicap has just veteran Qannaas carrying the famous white and blue as he aims to overcome a lengthy losing streak. Ridden by O’Shea, he has been dropped three pounds by the handicapper, but has to overcome a wide draw in 14.

The closing maiden, over 1600metres, welcomes three-year-old filly Al Whaad, another trained by Bin Harmash. Unplaced in her three starts to date, she has a second go at Jebel Ali and a first try at this distance, with in-form jockey Connor Beasley doing the steering.

Al Ain Racecourse holds its third meeting on Saturday, and the Shadwell team run three. The Secret, who has been a little below par on his two outings so far this season, carries joint-top weight in the 2000metre Arabian handicap. He’s done all his winning at Sharjah, but has been placed twice at Al Ain, and will appreciate a return to a longer trip with O’Neill onboard.

The 1000metre Thoroughbred handicap will suit Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s Alraased, who shows a lot of speed in his races. He lines up against the three-year-old Al Abyad, who struggled at Jebel Ali over 1200metres last time but might like this return to the minimum trip. He has the assistance of dual British Champion Jockey Silvestre De Sousa in the irons.

Five different cap colours will accompany the traditional silks at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, where the team have a strong hand in the 2400metre Thoroughbred handicap.

It would have been a difficult choice for O’Neill, therefore, who has opted to partner Watson’s Ostaad. The seven-year-old was just beaten by the re-opposing Empoli here last time but is a kilo better off at the weights and has a good draw in one. Erwan Charpy’s Nafaqa, fourth in that race, also goes again here and is also in with a chance if things fall right for him.

Al Rayhi saddles two for Shadwell, Injmaaly being the choice of his stable jockey O’Shea. He will enjoy being back on turf after running at Jebel Ali last time, as will stablemate Mustadeem, who tries this trip for the first time in his career. Mustahdaf, who was a good second in this race 12 months ago, completes the line-up for trainer Maria Ritchie and jockey Fernando Jara.

By Laura King

Tags: dubai, uae, shadwell, thoroughbred, arabian,