Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 17

Posted on: 12th Feb 2019

AL ZAHIR and Jim Crowley win the valuable UAE President's Cup for Arabians at Abu Dhabi

The Shadwell team celebrated a Group 1 in the UAE on Sunday, when Al Zahir won the valuable UAE President’s Cup for Arabians at Abu Dhabi, for the second year in a row.

The son of Madjani, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, became the first horse since his sire, in 2005 and 2006, to win back-to-back renewals of the 11-furlong turf contest, and Crowley was ecstatic.

“It means a lot to me,” said the number one retained rider. “I’ve been disappointed with him on his last two starts, but it seems he might have been laughing at us. Fair play to Ali for putting blinkers on today. On his day, he [Al  Zahir] is the best around.”

There are four Group races at Meydan on Thursday, and the feature is the Group 2 Meydan Sprint over five furlongs, race two. Faatinah takes his chance for trainer David Hayes and has a small field of six rivals to beat, including Godolphin’s Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes winner Blue Point. A winner on his seasonal debut here in the last two years, Faatinah was third, beaten one and three-quarter lengths, behind Mazzini last time and that form has worked out well. Now 1lb lower, he looks the main danger to Blue Point and will break from stall five under Jim Crowley.

Mike De Kock pitches Mujaafy into the same race and the four-year-old Australia-bred has his first start in the UAE. Fourth in a Group 2 over six furlongs when last seen, he is likely to need this run, having been off for 13 months. He is the mount of multiple Group 1-winning jockey Pat Cosgrave and has drawn in four.

The Group 3 Firebreak Stakes, race three, looks a fascinating affair and Muntazah goes here for trainer Doug Watson. A big horse who is likely to have needed his first couple of runs, the Dubawi gelding ran a solid third in the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round 2 last time and that run should have put him spot on for this assignment. He is joined in the field by late entrant Janoobi, trained by De Kock. The Group 2 winner tries dirt for the first time here under Sam Hitchcott.

The six furlong dirt handicap looks open and Sheikh Hamdan runs two. Almanaara, twice a winner over course and distance, goes for Watson and Hitchcott and will try to improve on a sixth place in a similar event last time out. Al Rayhi’s Taamol reverts to this surface after finishing tenth in the Listed President’s Cup at Abu Dhabi on Sunday. A good winner here in November, he is yet to recapture that sparkle.

The action switches to Al Ain on Friday, where Al Monsef lines up in the mile conditions event. A good third at Abu Dhabi last time out, Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s six-year-old tries dirt for the first time under stable jockey Ben Curtis.

There is one Thoroughbred race at Sharjah on Saturday, in which Thaaqib will attempt to build on his recent Meydan victory. Erwan Charpy’s grey went up 4lbs for that success and runs for just the second time at Sharjah, having been eighth there on his local debut. He will be ridden by Crowley from a good draw in six and is one of the leading contenders here.

Later on, AF Mahshoum has his second run inside a week, in the valuable GCC Cup, over an extended mile. Beaten a distance behind Al Zahir at Abu Dhabi on Sunday, Al Rayhi’s charge is the second-highest rated in the international field and has a good draw in four.

Abu Dhabi holds another good card on Sunday evening and AF Saab lines up in the Emirates Colts’ Classic, over a mile. Transferred to Sheikh Hamdan’s ownership since his good win here in December, the colt steps up slightly in trip for trainer Al Mheiri and Crowley.

The night’s only Thoroughbred race is an 11 furlong handicap and Juthoor goes here for Erwan Charpy. A taking winner over a mile here two weeks’ ago, the four-year-old resumes off a 7lb higher mark and steps up considerably in trip.

Laura King

Tags: myedan; alain; abudhabi; shadwell; arabians; thoroughbreds; lauraking,

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