DRC Carnival Week 2 - Shadwell Preview

Posted on: 12th Jan 2017

ERTIJAAL (IRE) was ridden to victory by Jim Crowley in the 1000metre Handicap to score a double for HH Sheikh Hamdan in the first leg of the Carnival.

The Shadwell team enjoyed a brilliant start to the Carnival last week; with a double on the card, including in the Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round I for Arabians with AF Mathmoon.

The Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained grey was collecting his third Group I success, and he impressed his new jockey Jim Crowley, who commented: “What a fantastic start and I have the monkey off my back straight away. I was in a bit of a pocket at one stage but I always had plenty of horse and once I was able to go for home he stayed on really well.”

Crowley later partnered Ertijaal (IRE) to a smooth victory in the same 1000metre handicap he won in 2016, and Ali Al Rayhi’s charge looks a serious contender for Al Quoz Sprint honours come March.

Onto this week, where HH Sheikh Hamdan has 12 declared for Meydan’s second Carnival meeting on Thursday.

This week’s feature is the Listed Dubawi Stakes, over 1200metres on dirt, in which Al Mheiri runs Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Muarrab. Second, when conceding weight, in the Listed Garhoud Sprint in December, he is back on level terms here and must be the one to catch. Mubtaghaa, yet to finish in the frame in five UAE starts, is also in the race, but looks up against in at this level.

Sheikh Hamdan runs three in the 2000metre turf handicap, race eight, with Doug Watson’s Basateen looking the pick. A devastating winner on his local debut over course and distance in February, he was not disgraced when tenth in the Group I Dubai Turf and has a big part to play here. He faces Maftool, who disappointed when returning to turf in Listed company last week. He takes a drop in grade here and gets a visor, while Mike De Kock’s Whistle Stop will be fitter for his run seven days ago and is another who can run into a place.

Two go in the 1600metre turf handicap, race five, where Ali Al Rayhi runs the formerly smart juvenile Prince Of All, who will appreciate the return to grass after being eased on the dirt on his local debut. He is the pick of Jim Crowley, while Kanaf, well-held last week, makes a quick return for Al Mheiri and Dane O’Neill.

The 1200metre grass handicap looks a competitive affair, and Fityaan must be respected after his excellent fourth behind Ertijaal last week. Now nine years old, the extra furlong will suit him here and he can go well for Crowley, who rides him for the first time.

Thursday’s card also stages a domestic race, for locally-based horses, on turf, in which there are three for Shadwell. Ostaad is better than he showed at Jebel Ali last time and is the pick of Crowley, while Ehtedaam, the mount of O’Neill, is yet to show his best in the Emirates. Alraased makes a quick return after fading into sixth at Al Ain on Friday, but his stamina must be a doubt over this 2000metre trip.

 The card’s only maiden, for three-year-olds, sees Sboog makes just his second start, for trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash. The son of The Factor was fifth on his debut in November and should be more streetwise on this occasion.

Al Ain hosts its fifth meeting of the season on Friday, and Sheikh Hamdan runs four. Mooqtar and Tajheez clash in the only Thoroughbred race, a handicap over 1000metres. A good third last time out over course and distance, Mooqtar, a homebred son of Invasor, has leading claims again, while Tajheez wasn’t far behind him on that occasion and can figure if back to his best form.

In the Arabian handicap over 1600metres, Ashraaf ran very well when just touched off in the feature race here last week, and he returns over two furlongs shorter. He has a good chance of opening his local account here, while El Salaam, the pick of Crowley, won over course and distance in February and is another with a big chance

Nine go for the team at Meydan’s domestic meeting on Saturday. Three-year-old Al Abyad makes his fourth start in the opening 1400metre maiden, while Watheeq and Entifaadha square off in the 2000metre dirt event. Entifaadha, a smart juvenile when based in the UK, ran well in second at Al Ain last week and might appreciate the extra furlong here. He will be ridden by Fernando Jara, with O’Neill on Watheeq in place of Crowley, who has a suspension.

O’Neill had the choice of two in the 1200metre turf handicap, opting for Ajraam over Mushaakis. Both return to grass for the first time in a while, and top weight Mushaakis might appreciate a change of scenery, having struggled on dirt so far this season.

Sheikh Hamdan relies on Taayel in the 1200metre dirt handicap, and Al Mheiri’s colt is shaping as if a win might not be too far away. Fourth on his most recent start at Jebel Ali, he has a good draw in five and can make his presence felt.

Finally, three go in the closing race, a 1600metre turf handicap. O’Neill has opted for Alkawn over Jaaref and Mundahesh, although all three look to have a bit to find in what is a very competitive race.

By Laura King



Tags: meydan; drc; carnival; af mathmoon; jim crowley; shadwell,

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