Shadwell UAE Season Preview, Week 15

Posted on: 6th Feb 2018

BARNAMAJ (No Risk Al Maury) in the hands of Jim Crowley, storming to victory in round two of the Gr.1 Maktoum Challenge

Barnamaj gave HH Sheikh Hamdan yet another Arabian Group 1 win last week, when just out-battling Paddy’s Day in a thrilling finish to Maktoum Challenge Round II. Ali Rashid Al Rayhi’s charge is the first Group I winner for Shadwell stallion No Risk Al Maury, making the victory all the more special, and he looks a leading fancy for the big Dubai Kahayla Classic on March 31st.

Two days later, Shadwell’s weekend got even better when the progressive Ejaaby won his second race in a row at Meydan, this time over 1400metres. The Doug Watson-trained chestnut won under a hand ride from Jim Crowley, who was impressed, saying. “He’s a horse I know from the UK and he’s done everything right since he got here. I wouldn’t rule out stepping him up to a mile.”

This weekend sees a superb card at Meydan on Thursday, with three pattern races, including the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round II for Thoroughbreds, another stepping stone towards the Dubai World Cup.

The other Group race is the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint, over 1200metres on dirt, which has attracted a line-up of seven, and Muarrab runs in it for a third time, having been second in 2016 and 2017. Al Rayhi’s nine-year-old needs to reverse form with Comicas, who beat him in the Dubawi Stakes last time out, but receives a kilo from that rival this time. Stablemate Taamol, who drops down in trip having run fifth in the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile last time, also takes his chance for Al Rayhi, with Silvestre de Sousa doing the steering.

The five furlong sprint has an unusually small field, but the team is responsible for four of the eight runners. Group 3 winner Waady reverts to this trip having been well-held over 1200metres a week ago, and he will be ridden by Pat Dobbs. Shaf, the choice of Crowley, who showed up well on his local debut, before reportedly finishing lame, also returns here for Australian trainer David Hayes, and he would have a big chance on his best form. Maria Ritchie, whose horses have been running well recently, sends Taneen into battle here, while Al Rayhi pitches in Eqtiraan, who has been dropped two pounds to a mark of 100 after finishing only tenth over course and distance two weeks ago.

The Meydan Classic trial, for three-year-olds on turf, is always an open affair, but the team have an intriguing proposition in Mutamayel, who also represents Hayes. As a Southern Hemisphere bred, the Snitzel colt has to give weight away to the whole field here, but brings with him some smart form, and won a barrier trial before flying to the UAE. He will be ridden by Crowley, who will have to negotiate a passage from stall 13. 

Sheikh Hamdan runs Basateen in the finale, a hugely competitive 2000metre turf handicap. The six-year-old takes a drop in class after running a solid fifth in the Group 3 Singspiel Stakes last time, and shouldn’t be dismissed lightly, from a good draw in three.

Jebel Ali hosts a six race card on Friday, and Sheikh Hamdan runs a select team of four. The featured 1600metre dirt handicap sees Munaaser take on nine rivals off a career-low mark of 88, and he looks to have a good chance under Jim Crowley, although Godolphin’s Reach High may well prove tough to beat.

The 1400metre handicap has been well-supported and Munshid tops the weights for Erwan Charpy. The five-year-old looks well-handicapped on his best form, and tries this dirt surface for just the second time. Charpy also runs the four-year-old Invincible Spirit colt Thaaqib, who drops in trip having run down the field over 1800metres here last time.

The closing 1200metre handicap has also attracted a big field, and Alraased looks to have a strong chance after a good run in fourth behind Ejaaby at Meydan last week. Running here on his much lower dirt mark of 71, he will once again blaze a trail from the front, although stall 13 may make things tricky.

Abu Dhabi has an excellent card on Sunday, featuring the AED2.5million G1 HH The President Cup for Arabians, in which Al Rayhi runs Al Zahir, already a Group 3 winner over course and distance. Crowley rides him, leaving Pat Dobbs on Sauternes Al Maury, fourth here in the prep for this race last time out. He is reported to be in very good form by trainer Watson.

The card also features the Group 3 Al Ruwais over 1200metres, which Ritchie uses as a starting point for Munbaher, who has joined her from the UK. The four-year-old son of Madjani was a winner over this trip at Windsor in August, and looks an interesting new recruit.

Unusually, only one carries the blue and white silks in the Thoroughbred handicap. Jebel Ali maiden winner Kidd Malibu takes his chance for Ritchie, but again hasn’t been blessed with a good draw, starting from post 14.

By Laura King

Tags: uae, shadwell, arabian, meydan, dubai,

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