Shadwell UAE Season Preview - Week 12

Posted on: 14th Jan 2020

Almanaara; bids to back up his latest victory in the six furlong handicap

The Shadwell team kept up their excellent start to the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival last week when Ekhtiyaar ran out the impressive winner of the six furlong turf sprint.

Making his second start of the season, the Doug Watson trainee was far too good for his rivals, giving Jim Crowley his first win of the UAE season.

“The leader went very quick and I was conscious that I didn’t want to give him too much a lead, said the jockey. “But he then stopped quickly and I was left in front, but my fellow ran on well to win nicely.” 

There is a busy weekend of racing ahead, with the Carnival leading the way at Meydan on Thursday. There are six races, and Sheikh Hamdan sends out eight runners. 

The action gets underway with a six furlong turf handicap, in which Almanaara will try to back up his smooth win of a fortnight ago; when he lines up for Doug Watson and Crowley. That was his first run on Turf in the UAE and he won well, but the extra furlong is something of a query here, although he has won over it twice on dirt. 

Musabbeh Al Mheiri sends out Moqarrab in the same race; the five-year-old having finished third behind Ekhtiyaar last week. That was a good performance, after missing the break, and he has a live chance from stall 12, under Dane O’Neill. The third runner in the race for the team is Mujaafy, who makes his first start since February, for trainer Mike De Kock. A good fourth, in Group 2 company, on his sole start at last year’s Carnival, the Star Witness gelding should be better this season, having had time to fully adjust to UAE life, and he is an interesting outsider under rider Adrie De Vries. 

The mile turf handicap, race six, is also highly competitive and Sheikh Hamdan runs five, although the weights mean that neither Crowley or O’Neill partner any of them. Zainhom takes his chance here for Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Antonio Fresu. A little bit quirky, the six-year-old ran a super race over seven furlongs last time, finishing second, and this step back up in trip won’t be a problem. On that occasion he finished three spots in front of stablemate Azmaam, who also lines up here; off a five pound higher mark than his course and distance success 12 months ago. 

Ali Ali Rayhi sends out Yaalail, who ran an excellent sent to Godolphin’s smart Zakouski last week. The pick of stable jockey Fernando Jara, the five-year-old has drawn well in three and is a huge threat, with just 53 kilos on his back. 

Al Rayhi also sends out Moqtarreb, who is a new recruit for the yard, having moved from Roger Varian in the UK. The winner of a Newmarket novice event in June, the son of Kingman has scope for further improvement in the Emirates. 

The quintet is completed by Royal Crusade, who is the mount of Sam Hitchcott for De Kock. Well-beaten on both his starts here last season, he is another who should be better for a summer in the UAE, and the stable’s first runner of the season competed well last week. 

Al Ain stages seven full fields on Friday and Maqaadeer runs in the sole Thoroughbred race for Doug Watson. Eighth, only beaten just over three lengths, at Meydan last week, that was a very encouraging local debut and he is respected here under Jim Crowley. 

Jim also takes the ride on Foadd, who runs in the Arabians’ ten furlong handicap. A winner at the track over nine furlongs back in February, he is now off an eight pound lower mark and cannot be discounted in an open race. 

There is a six-race domestic card at Meydan on Saturday, at which Shadwell send out eight runners. Alkaamel made up a lot of ground after missing the break on his local debut over seven furlongs two weeks ago, and he is interesting in the six furlong dirt handicap, although he will need to leave the stalls better over this reduced trip. Crowley rides him over Bawaasil, the choice of O’Neill, who goes off a two pound lower mark of 81, having struggled to find his best form recently.

 Etisalat is a reliable sort and he goes here for Al Rayhi and Sandro Paiva. Yet to win at Meydan, he drops in trip having finished second to Kidd Malibu on his most recent start at Jebel Ali in November.

 Al Mheiri also runs Shajjy, a good fourth on turf two weeks ago. Well drawn in four, he is somewhat unpredictable but just as adept on this dirt surface. He has fared better with the draw than Alfolk, in 13, the mount of Adam McLean, who is still yet to show his best form in the Emirates since moving from South Africa.

The mile and a half turf handicap, race four, has Mudaarab making his third start of the season for Erwan Charpy. Well-held on his latest outing here, the return to this distance will help.

Hakeem makes his UAE debut in the 10 furlong dirt handicap, where he has top weight of 60 kilos. Previously trained by William Haggas where he won three of his eight starts, he has moved to Al Rayhi for this dirt debut, which pedigree suggests he will handle.

 The concluding seven furlong turf handicap includes four Shadwell trainees, including Erwan Charpy’s Moqarrar, who drops in trip after finishing seventh over a mile here two weeks ago. Down two pounds to a mark of 85, he is the choice of Crowley over Fawaareq, who O’Neill rides. The seven-year-old has found life tough so far in the UAE, but is steadily coming down the handicap.

 Fawaareq’s trainer Watson also runs Eshtiraak, the mount of his stable jockey Pat Dobbs. Well-beaten on all his starts so far this season, the addition of a visor may help him regain the form which saw him finish second at the Carnival last season for trainer David Hayes.

 The team is completed by Tashweeq, who returns after an absence of almost two years, for Al Mheiri. Unplaced on all three starts in the UAE to date, he is likely to come on for this run.

 Abu Dhabi lost its meeting last week due to adverse weather conditions, but the track stages a six-race card on Sunday.

 Sheikh Hamdan runs four in the mile Thoroughbred handicap, with Crowley choosing to partner Tahreek for Al Rayhi. A promising fifth on local debut at Meydan, beaten just six lengths, he is the first string over stablemate Tafaakhor, who drops in grade slightly after finding a competitive Meydan handicap too tough last time.

 Jockey Paiva has come in for a nice spare ride on Mujeeb, who was a good fourth at Meydan last time but must break from stall 12 here, while his stablemate Juthoor hasn’t fared much better, drawing 10 under Fabrice Veron.

 HH The President Cup Prep, over 11 furlongs for Arabians, is the feature and AF Mahshoum takes his chance here for Al Rayhi and Crowley. A winner over course and distance in Prestige company, these are probably his best conditions and he drops in grade after running down the field in the Group 3 Madjani Stakes last time out.

Tags: shadwell; laura king; meyadan; duabi world cup carnival;,

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