Shadwell UAE Season Preview - Week 3

Posted on: 5th Nov 2019

Etijaah could go close off a mark of 97 at Meydan this week

HH Sheikh Hamdan enjoyed a double at Jebel Ali last week when Mutawakked won his first race in the UAE and Tafaakhor his second. Trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri and Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, respectively, the wins took the Shadwell team to fourth in the fledgling owners’ table.

There are chances to build on last week’s success when Meydan hosts its second meeting of the campaign on Thursday, at which the Shadwell team of three is small but powerful.

Sheikh Hamdan has a strong chance in the AED210,000 10-furlong Gulf News Handicap with Etijaah, who is starting to look well-treated off a mark of 97, having reached 110 in January 2018. Doug Watson’s charge won this race back in 2016 and shouldn’t be far away here, although at the age of nine he could be forgiven for needing this initial outing of the season.

Earlier on, Al Rayhi’s Etisalat has his second run of the season in the mile handicap, race two, after a good fourth over course and distance a fortnight ago. Top weight in a lower grade of race here, he should be a major player in the hands of Dane O’Neill.

Watson has started the season well and he saddles Group 3 winner Waady in the six furlong handicap, race four. Fourth on his only attempt at this course and distance, he has drawn well in four but may need this first run of the season.

Abu Dhabi hosts its second card of the campaign on Friday and Sheikh Hamdan runs five, starting with Foaad in the mile Arabian handicap. Well-beaten here over 11 furlongs two weeks ago, he will appreciate this drop back in trip and has drawn well in four.

The Al Dafra Rated Conditions race, over a mile for Thoroughbreds, looks extremely competitive and the Shadwell team send out five. O’Neill has elected to ride the classy Eqtiraan, who made a pleasing return to action when fourth on his dirt debut at Jebel Ali last Friday. A Listed winner when trained in the UK by Richard Hannon, that was his first run for 18 months and he will be much fitter now, although there is a concern that this outing might come too soon after that big effort and a wide draw in 13 will also be tough to overcome.

Eqtiraan’s trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi also sends out Yaalail, who is a half-brother to Abu Dhabi winner Jaaref. The son of Intello makes his debut in the capital but is a big danger to his rivals, having run well on all four starts since arriving in the UAE last season.

Watson has taken over the training of Eshtiraak, who was a prolific winner in Australia for David Hayes who ran him four times at the Carnival, without success. As such, this represents a drop in class for the Street Cry gelding and he is respected here.

The blue and white quintet is completed by Meydan winner Azmaam, who represents Musabbeh Al Mheiri, and Erwan Charpy’s Mukalal. The former should go well, with this drop back to a mile likely to suit, while Mukalal is having his first run since leaving Marcus Tregoning in the UK and may still need time to acclimatize.

Charpy does, however, have a fine chance of success at Sharjah on Saturday when he saddles top weight Moqarrar in the valuable Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Cup. The grey son of Exchange Rate looked the winner until headed close home at Meydan last time and should be hard to beat here.

Laura King

Tags: meydan; uae; shadwell; sheikhhamdan; lauraking,

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