Dubai World Cup Meeting 2017 - Shadwell Preview

Posted on: 21st Mar 2017

ERTIJAAL (IRE) has an exciting chance to win the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on Saturday, having finished second in the race last year.

The big day is finally here and the Shadwell team is a strong one for the 22nd running of the Dubai World Cup meeting; the seventh to take place at Meydan.

Nine line up over the nine races for HH Sheikh Hamdan, who rarely goes without a winner at the meeting. His famous silks have landed the $10million Dubai World Cup itself twice, with Almutawakel in 1999, and Invasor in 2007.

The team are not represented in the feature race this time, but have exciting chances in the other Group 1s on the card, notably with Ertijaal, who has a second attempt at winning the Al Quoz Sprint. Second in the race last year, when it was run over five furlongs, Ali Al Rashid Al Rayhi’s entire son of Oasis Dream, who will be partnered by retained jockey Jim Crowley, is one from two here over the race’s new distance of six furlongs, but has also been successful three times over seven furlongs. Perfect in two starts at Meydan this season, Ertijaal will face some stiff opposition from international Group 1 winners Limato and Amazing Kids, but he will nevertheless be hard to beat on home soil. He looks the best chance of a winner on the day for the team.

Al Rayhi is also responsible for another of Sheikh Hamdan’s top sprinters; Muarrab, who bids to become just the second horse to retain the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, which he won while under the care of Mussabeh Al Mheiri. Now eight years old, the Oasis Dream gelding has been second on three of his four starts this season, but must bounce back from a sub-par effort when only sixth in the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday.

“He’s only been with us about a fortnight but is settling in well to his new routine and seems to be improving daily in his new surroundings.

“He won the race last year and has been running well in defeat this season, so with a bit of luck and a good draw, we have to be hopeful.”

The Al Rayhi team is completed by AF Mathmoon, who aims to become the third horse to win multiple editions of the G1 Dubai Kahayla Classic, one of the biggest Purebred Arabian races in the world. Beaten only once this season, the now six-year-old beat the re-opposing TM Thunder Struck by a neck last year, when overcoming a wide draw in 14. Much better berthed in eight this time, he looks the one to beat under Crowley.

Sheikh Hamdan also has an able back-up in the race in the form of another multiple Group 1-winner, Handassa. Fourth after starting as favourite for the race last year, the Francois Rohaut-trained son of Madjani warmed up for this with a narrow win over course and distance in the Group I Maktoum Challenge Round 3 a month ago. Ridden by Dane O’Neill, he is quirky but talented and the wide draw in 12 will be to his advantage as he dislikes the kickback non the dirt surface.

The third Shadwell contender in the $1million race is Bon Baiser Du Faust, trained by Doug Watson and the mount of Pat Dobbs. The six-year-old won the Madjani Stakes – fittingly named after his sire, over a trip just short of this in December, but has a little to find here, having finished fourth behind Handassa last time out.

Back to the Thoroughbreds, and the US$6million Dubai Turf, over nine furlongs, has been the plan for the William Haggas-trained Mutakayyef for some time, since the six-year-old finished an excellent third behind Tepin in the Grade I Woodbine Mile in September. Winner of the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot, the Sea The Stars gelding missed his intended prep with a minor setback, but had a racecourse gallop since and is in good order ahead of his clash with Group 1 winners Decorated Knight, Ribchester and Mondialiste.

Watson won the Group 2 Godolphin Mile with One Man Band last year and this time he saddles Etijaah for Shadwell, as well as Second Summer. Etijaah caused something of a giant-slaying when beating World Cup contender Mubtaahij last time out and he comes here in good heart, albeit over a trip which is on the sharp side for him.

“Etijaah would probably prefer further but is in good form and should be staying on,” commented the UAE Champion Trainer. “We had a lot of luck in this race last year when saddling the first three but I would be happy just to win it with one!”

Watson also saddles Basateen in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup, where he is one of two runners for Sheikh Hamdan. The chestnut was a wide-margin winner on local debut at Meydan last season and has been far from disgraced since, finishing fourth in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy last time out. He worked under Jim Crowley at Meydan on Monday, after which Watson said: “We hope this 3200metres is his ideal trip. I think he will run a big race and, hopefully, surprise a few as he has had a good preparation.”

Crowley, however, has elected to ride Zamaam, who gets into the field after winning the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday. Trained by Erwan Charpy, the seven-year-old landed a course and distance handicap in February and is in great heart this year. The six-day turnaround is a concern, but Charpy says he has handled such conditions before.

“The key to him has been Jim [Crowley], who gets on really well with him,” said the trainer. “It’s a quick turnaround, but when he won over the 3200metres that was after just a five day break.” 

By Laura King

Tags: dubai world cup; meydan; group 1; golden shaheen; al quoz sprint; shadwell,

Latest News

Latest tweets