Dubai Racing Carnival Week 9 - Shadwell Preview

Posted on: 22nd Feb 2017

ERITJAAL (IRE) was a classy winner of the Gr.3 Meydan Sprint in record time under Jim Crowley last Thursday.

Week eight of the Dubai World Cup Carnival proved to be a good one for Shadwell, thanks largely to Ertijaal’s stunning success in the Group 3 Meydan Sprint. Ridden by Jim Crowley, the six-year-old homebred posted an authoritative two and three-quarter length victory in the five furlong contest, in the process making it 50 career Carnival wins for trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, who will now aim him at the Group I Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup day.

A day later, Crowley claimed another success when Kidd Malibu won on his local debut at Jebel Ali. The son of Malibu Moon easily landed the mile maiden and has the scope to improve more. 

There are four meetings in the UAE this week, with Meydan’s Carnival card starting things off on Thursday. Sheikh Hamdan runs 11, including four in the opening Group I Maktoum Challenge Round III for Arabians, over 10 furlongs. Francois Rohaut’s Handassa won this race last season, but was well-held when only sixth in Round II last time out. Nevertheless, he is the pick of number one rider Jim Crowley, who must contend with a wide draw in 10.

Second jockey Dane O’Neill rides Manark, who was a good third on his seasonal debut in Round I back in January. He is one from one over this trip, that success having come in the Group 1 Kahayla Classic of 2015. A return to that form sees him well in the mix here, while fellow Erwan Charpy-trained Group I winner Versac PY who has a good record in this race , having won it in 2015 and finished second twice. Lastly, Madjani Stakes winner Bon Baiser du Faust goes under Pat Dobbs and he should appreciate these conditions, after a good effort in sixth in the Group I President’s Cup two weeks’ ago.

Just one goes for the team in the Group 3 UAE Oaks, with Don’t Lie Kitten returning to action, having missed the UAE 1000 Guineas last time. Trained by Ahmad bin Harmash, the Kitten’s Joy filly faces a tough task here on her pattern race debut, but has blinkers on for the first time.

The Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy, over a mile and six furlongs, looks very strong for the grade and Zamaam and Basateen face two Group 1 winners, Vazirabad and Sheikhzayedroad. The former trained by Charpy and ridden by Crowley, steps down in trip after winning well over two miles last time, but must still be respected, while Basateen ran on well over a mile and a half two weeks ago and is well worth stretching out here.

The Curlin Handicap, over ten furlongs on dirt, is being run as a Listed race for the first time and features Dubai World Cup second Mubtaahij. Etijaah goes for Sheikh Hamdan, however, and the Doug Watson trainee bounced back to form with a good second to the re-opposing Alabaster over course and distance last time. He has a chance of upsetting the favourite and goes off a light weight of 53kg, meaning that Sam Hitchcott will do the steering.

Three go in the fiercely competitive seven furlong turf handicap, race seven, including two for De Kock. The Blue Stables chief trains Suyoof, who was hugely eye-catching on his local debut over a mile a fortnight ago. However, his handler has reservations this time, saying: “He’s a talented horse, but he didn’t arrive here until 24th December, so the Carnival has come a bit too soon for him.

“Seven furlongs is not his best and I think ten is a bit too far, but if he can sit close then he will be competitive.”

De Kock also trains course and distance winner Mastermind, who, at 103, he feels is a little too high in the handicap. “He was penalised for finishing third [in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort in 2016] and hasn’t really got back yet,” he said.

The Shadwell trio is completed by the front-running Ghaamer, who must shoulder top weight but is a winner over track and trip and can go well under O’Neill.

Al Ain hold their eighth meeting of the season on Friday, and Sheikh Hamdan runs just El Salaam in the mile conditions event for Arabians. Wonderfully consistent, he was third on his most recent start over course and distance and has a solid chance here.

Racing returns to Meydan on Saturday, for a good quality domestic fixture. Jim Crowley is riding Mutakayyef in his Dubai Turf prep in the Group 3 Winter Derby, at Lingfield, so Dane O’Neill has the pick of the Dubai runners.

A nine furlong turf maiden is the destination for the Bin Harmash-trained filly Al Madam, who makes a quick return after finishing fourth at Jebel Ali on Friday. She steps up in trip here and tries the turf for the first time.

The third race, over six furlongs on dirt, sees Alareef and Estidraak lock horns. Alareef, the mount of O’Neill, is a dual course and distance winner who could never get on terms when drawn wide over seven furlongs last time. Down in trip and from post three this time, he has a good chance of gaining another win. Estidraak, meanwhile, has yet to show he has really adapted to UAE racing, having been well-held on all three Meydan runs to date.

Five sport the Shadwell silks in the mile turf handicap and O’Neill partners top weight Ijmaaly. Ali Al Rayhi’s Makfi gelding was a close sixth on second local start last time out and has a good chance now dropped in grade.

Ostaad, trained by Watson, was given a rise of 3lbs by the handicapper for a good win over nine furlongs last time. He has the ability to win again, but may find this trip on the sharp side. His stablemate Mutasayyid, meanwhile, has probably his optimum conditions here and shaped well in third last time out. He’s one to watch again here. Charpy’s Saajid has his first local run, having previously been trained in France by Francois Rohaut, for whom he was twice successful in ten starts.

The quintet is completed by De Kock’s Muwaary, who had a choice of engagements this weekend and who is another who is coming down the handicap. He has the assistance of British Champion Apprentice Josephine Gordon, who rides in the Emirates for the first time on Saturday.

The penultimate race, the District One Handicap, is back over the dirt mile and sees two line up for the team, with the first string looking to be Moosir, a course and distance winner back in March. Given a break since last seen in December, he has a chance if at his best. His stablemate Alkawn is yet to win in the UAE, but tries dirt for the first time, something which he may well be suited to, due to being a son of Dubawi.

Two go in the concluding sprint, over the six furlong straight course, with Watson’s Greeb back down to a mark of 93; off which he was successful on his most recent win at Nottingham in the UK. He faces the lightly-raced Scalzo, who made his local debut in a Listed race at Abu Dhabi two weeks ago. He ran well there and is interesting now switched to Meydan.

Sheikh Hamdan runs two at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, with Jaaref and Whistle Stop going in the 11 furlong handicap. Jaaref, who will be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, was only narrowly denied at Meydan last time and has a big chance here. Whistle Stop must give weight away to the whole field, but will perhaps appreciate both an ease in grade and an increase in distance. 

By Laura King

Tags: uae; dubai racing carinval; meydan; maktoum challenge; abu dhabi;shadwell,

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