Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 16

Posted on: 5th Feb 2019

Thaaqib was the first leg of a double for Shadwell at Meydan last week

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum enjoyed a Meydan double on Saturday when Thaaqib and Muzdawaj both scored convincing successes.

Both were collecting their first wins in the UAE;  Erwan Charpy’s Thaaqib making the most of bottom weight in the ten furlong dirt handicap under Antonio Fresu. Later on,the Musabbeh Al Mheri-trained Muzdawaj and Jim Crowley took a path around on the rail in the nine furlong turf handicap, beating Tafaakhor by a length.

“It’s never easy picking the right one,” said the retained rider, who had four to choose from. “This 1800metres really suits him. Obviously the Carnival races will be tougher, but hopefully he can be competitive.”

Crowley completed his good weekend when Juthoor, also trained by Charpy, ran out the two and three-quarter length winner of Abu Dhabi’s featured Thoroughbred handicap. The four-year-old was making just his second start in the UAE.

There are seven races at Meydan on Thursday, with the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas and the G2 Maktoum Challenge Round 2 the pick of the action.

Sheikh Hamdan runs Etijaah, a five-time course winner, in the Maktoum Challenge. Doug Watson’s nine-year-old will be suited by this extra distance, having been only seventh, behind several of these rivals, in Maktoum Challenge 1, over a mile, last time.

The two mile handicap, race two, sees Zamaam make his second start of the season for Erwan Charpy. Now nine years old, the Muthathir gelding proved he still has plenty of zip with a good fourth over a mile and a half two weeks ago. This step up in trip will see him to better effect, and he faces just five rivals.

Ibn Malik, third in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint on dirt last week, takes advantage of a 7lb lower turf mark in the six furlong handicap, race six. In great form, although without winning, this season, these conditions should suit him perfectly and he is well-drawn in seven.

The seven furlong turf handicap gives the Mike De Kock-trained Alfolk a chance to run over two furlongs further than when he was seventh here two weeks ago. Likely to be much fitter now, the Lonhro gelding may well be suited by a less frantic early pace.

Emirates sponsor the entire card at Jebel Ali on Friday, and Sheikh Hamdan supports it with five runners.

Almushref makes his local debut for Al Mheiri in the nine furlong handicap, for which only five have been declared. The well-bred four-year-old has joined the handler from Freddy Head in France and has his first run since being gelded here. By Smart Strike out of an Unbridled’s Song mare, he is an exciting prospect on this first dirt start.

There is a full field of 16 for the nine and a half furlong handicap, race six, in which Mujeeb is the sole representative for the team. Charpy’s Dubawi gelding was a good third here in December, and has run well on turf since. Drawn well in five, he can give another good showing for his in-form handler.

Shadwell run three in the closing five furlong handicap, including Raafid, who resumes just six days after a good fifth on turf at Meydan. Off a much lower dirt mark here, Al Al Rayhi’s runner is likely to be in for some prize money again. However, Raafid’s stablemate Alraased is the pick of Crowley and also makes a quick return, having been fifth from a wide draw at Meydan. Down 2lbs in the handicap since that run, he can give another good account. Al Mheiri’s Zaraee, partnered by Ben Curtis, also takes his chance, aiming to return to the form which saw him beaten only a neck over six furlongs here in October.

Abu Dhabi hosts one of its most prestigious cards of the season on Sunday, and Al Zahir goes for a rare back-to-back success in the G1 President’s Cup, for Arabians over 11 furlongs. Only ninth last week at Meydan when he again got warm before the race, he is a much better horse back on turf. AF Mahshoum, eighth on dirt in Maktoum Challenge Round 1 last time out, also lines up and has a course and distance win to his name from March 2018. A good second in Group 3 company back here since, he has a live chance in what looks an open race.

The Thoroughbred’s President’s Cup is a Listed race over seven furlongs and the team run three, with Crowley partnering Zainhom. Disappointing at Jebel Ali last time, Al Mheiri’s Street Cry gelding was only beaten three lengths in the Listed National Day Cup here in December and can go well from a useful draw in four.

Taamol was a good winner over this trip on dirt at Meydan in November and this is his first try over it since. Well-held in four starts since, he will be ridden by O’Neill from stall 10. That leaves Pat Dobbs to ride Group 3 winner Waady for Doug Watson. Only 10th over six furlongs at the Carnival last time, the Approve gelding tries seven furlongs for the first time in his career.

Earlier on, the Listed Arabian Triple Crown Round 1 sees AF Saab make his debut in the famous Shadwell blue. Previously owned by Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the colt won easily last time and has justified a step up in class here.

Laura King

Tags: shadwell; uae; abudhabi; lauraking,

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