Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 11, 2018

Posted on: 9th Jan 2018

Ertijaal: training well and primed for a big run at Meydan

The opening week of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is an exciting one for all in the UAE and HH Sheikh Hamdan has some good chances of getting off to the best possible start, with 11 runners across the seven-race card.

The Meydan action gets underway with the G1 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for Purebred Arabians, over 1600metres. Sheikh Hamdan runs two, with Jim Crowley electing to partner Barnamaj, a new recruit for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. The five-year-old is a son of No Risk Al Maury, winner of this race in 2010, and he has a leading chance if adapting to dirt. He is joined in the race by the Doug Watson-trained Bon Baiser Du Faust, the mount of Dane O’Neill.

Arguably, the Shadwell team’s best chance of a winner comes in the first Thoroughbred race, a 1000metre turf contest which Ertijaal will try and win for a third time. The now seven-year-old, third in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint in March, is reportedly training better than ever and should be tough to beat here, even in a field of seasoned sprinters.

Etijaah was the taking winner of the Listed Entisar Stakes last month, and he has top weight in the 1900metre dirt handicap, race three. Watson’s charge comes up against some useful sorts, including Group 2 winner Frankyfourfingers, but should appreciate the likely strong pace on offer.

The Group 3 Singspiel Stakes, on turf over 1800metres, sees Basateen aim to get back on track after a few below-par efforts. The six-year-old steps back up in trip after finishing eighth in Listed company at Abu Dhabi in December.

The official feature race is G2 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for Thoroughbreds, over 1600metres on dirt, in which Al Rayhi runs local debutant Taamol. The four-year-old son of Helmet was trained by Sir Michael Stoute when in the UK and has his first start since being gelded. Off a mark of 101, he has a little to find with the principals here, which include Godolphin’s Group 2 UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow.

The 1400metre turf handicap is one of the most competitive races on the card and Shadwell have two runners, with Crowley on board Suyoof, trained by Mike De Kock. The Australian-bred gelding ended the Carnival with a course and distance win last year and has a good chance of repeating that here, off just a 3lb higher mark. He faces Tashweeq, a newcomer to the Maria Ritchie yard, who was a Listed winner when trained in the UK by John Gosden.

The longest race of the day, a 2410metre turf handicap, wraps up the card and Zamaam goes here for Erwan Charpy. A winner at the Carnival over 3200metres last season, he was then an excellent fifth in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup and he has a good chance here, having warmed up with a close sixth over an inadequate mile at Abu Dhabi last time out. He is ridden by Crowley, with O’Neill onboard Group 3 winner Khusoosy, who will enjoy being back on the turf.

Shadwell, as usual, sponsor at Jebel Ali on Friday and kick off with two runners in the opening 1800metre handicap. Thaaqib shaped well on his local debut when beaten less than six lengths at Sharjah last time and can go well for Crowley, while O’Neill partners Watson’s Estikmaal, who will be seen to better advantage if able to break on terms this time.

Farook was hugely impressive when romping home on his local debut at Jebel Ali’s final meeting of 2012 and the Charpy-trained grey returns over a 200metre shorter trip this time. Drawn in one, he is in the ideal position from which to strike again and could be hard to catch.

Three carry the Shadwell silks in race four, the 1400metre handicap, with Crowley opting to ride the ex- Brian Meehan-trained Mutawakked, who has now joined Ritchie. He has drawn poorly in 11, however, with course winner Al Barez, the mount of Connor Beasley, better off in three, and Kidd Malibu, who won a maiden at Jebel Ali, in eight under O’Neill.

Sharjah hosts its penultimate meeting of the season on Saturday and the team have just one runner, with course specialist The Secret lining up in a 2000metre handicap. A winner twice over course and distance, he has a good chance again if able to overcome a wide draw in 15.

The fourth and final meeting of the weekend is Abu Dhabi, which hosts a rare Thoroughbred maiden. The Ahmad Bin Harmash-trained Al Madam makes her eighth start here and will aim to go one better than she managed when second on her only previous try on turf. 

Tags: uae; meydan; ertijaal,

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