Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 15

Posted on: 29th Jan 2019

Al Zahir: the multiple Group 1 winner is in action at Meydan this week

The fifth meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan kicks off with 12 Arabians clashing in Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 2, over 11 furlongs on dirt.

HH Sheikh Hamdan runs two, with multiple Group 1 winner Al Zahir the pick of Jim Crowley. Yet to win on this surface, the six-year-old must put a sub-par Abu Dhabi run last week behind him. A neck second to Abhaar in the Madjani Stakes here before that, that effort is much more his true running and he is one of the principles here.

Doug Watson runs the quirky Sauternes Al Maury in the same race; the seven-year-old stepping back up in trip having led the Madjani Stakes last time, fading into seventh. He will break from stall two under Dane O’Neill.

The night’s official feature is the G3 Al Shindagha Sprint, with just six runners having been declared over the six furlongs on dirt. Ibn Malik ran the re-opposing Drafted to a neck over course and distance in December, and also ran well on turf last time. Back to his best trip, he has a leading chance here from stall one under Crowley.

Erwan Charpy’s Moqarrar looked one of the most exciting horses of the season so far when winning by five and a half lengths over a mile on dirt two weeks ago. He makes his Carnival debut over the same track and trip, but has drawn 11 of the 14 runners. Nevertheless, he has a big chance, with Crowley needing to be at his lightest to ride at just 54 kilos.

Shadwell’s number one jockey goes back up to 57 kilos to ride Eshtiraak in the closing mile turf handicap. David Hayes’ gelding tired late home but ran well in sixth behind Baroot last time and connections are happy with his progress since. He faces 15 rivals, including Ali Al Rayhi’s Jaaref, who was a good fourth over 10 furlongs last time and should be suited by this further drop in trip.

Al Ain hosts a seven-race card on Friday and Shadwell run two in the nine furlong Arabian feature race. Crowley has elected to ride the consistent Ashraaf, who was a good third here over 10 furlongs a month ago. He is drawn in 11, with O’Neill riding Foaad, the top weight, from nine. The Doug Watson-trained gelding cuts back in trip as he tries this track for the first time.

Meydan holds a seven-race domestic meeting on Saturday evening and Shadwell start out with Thaaqib, who goes for Charpy in race two. With bottom weight of 53 kilos, the grey will be ridden by Antonio Fresu in this 10 furlong dirt handicap, as he bids to bounce back from a couple of disappointing runs at Al Ain and Jebel Ali.

Sheikh Hamdan runs two in the six furlong dirt handicap, including Alraased, who lines up from stall 11 under Crowley. A good second over course and distance last time, he can again go well in a 12-strong field which also includes Kidd Malibu for Musabbeh Al Mheiri. Placed on his last two outings, both at Jebel Ali, the Malibu Moon gelding makes just his second start at Meydan.

The team have plenty of exciting turf horses and four of them clash in the nine furlong handicap, race five. Crowley has chosen to ride Muzdawaj, who was just beaten a neck into second over 10 furlongs here last time. He goes back in trip, while it’s a step up for Tafaakhor, who was fourth over seven furlongs at Abu Dhabi last week. He’s the pick of O’Neill, which means Fabrice Veron gains a nice spare ride on Azmaam, a winner here last time over a mile. Just 4lbs higher for that success, Al Mheiri’s grey needs to prove as effective over this longer distance.

The Shadwell team in the race is completed by Watson’s Basateen, who is still searching for his first win since February 2016. He will have the assistance of Pat Dobbs when he exits stall two under top weight.

Watson runs Fawaareq in the mile dirt handicap, race six. The Invincible Spirit gelding was fifth, after being hampered at the start, last time over six furlongs – a creditable dirt debut. This trip should suit him better and he’s not out of it here.

Five different-coloured Shadwell caps are required in the six furlong turf sprint, race seven. Crowley rides Thammin, who makes his local debut, having joined Al Mheiri from Owen Burrows. A three-time winner from just ten starts, he remains open to improvement in his new home. O’Neill has opted for Mustallib, trained by Al Rayhi, who reverts to turf after being well-held in two dirt spins. Only beaten seven lengths by Group 1 winner Jungle Cat over this trip in 2017, he can go well if able to recapture that form.

Al Rayhi also runs Raafid, the mount of Fernando Jara, who takes a class drop after running at the Carnival last time, while Al Mheiri and Ben Curtis team up with Shajjy, who ran an excellent second on dirt at Jebel Ali just last Friday. Finally, Farook runs for a fifth time this season. Charpy’s representative was a good second over course and distance in March and will prefer being back on a straight course.

There are six races at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening and Sheikh Hamdan runs two in the mile Arabian handicap. Jabal Aly races for the first time since March when he was a good fourth over course and distance. He is the first string, ahead of Al Mheiri’s AF Monsef, who was only 10th over this trip here two weeks ago.

The only Thoroughbred event, race six over a mile, looks very competitive and Crowley rides Juthoor for Charpy. Beaten a long way on his local debut on dirt at Meydan two weeks ago, the son of Shamardal will be better-served back on grass here.

That leaves O’Neill to ride Mutawakked, who is much better than he showed when beaten 14 lengths at Jebel Ali last weekend. Second over course and distance in February, he is best judged on that run and shouldn’t be far away.

Laura King

Tags: meydan; alain; shadwell; lauraking; abudhabi,

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