Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 2

Posted on: 3rd Nov 2016

ETIJAAH, who won this contest last year, will represent HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the featured 2000metre handicap at Meydan's opening meet on Thursday.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum began the new UAE season as he ended the last; with a winner. Mushir, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, opened his account in the Emirates with a comprehensive victory in the 1000metre handicap at Jebel Ali and it looks as if there could be more to come from the five-year-old homebred.

Mushir was ridden by apprentice George Buckell, who said: “Last season he had a few problems so spent a lot of time on the treadmill and we weren’t able to get any proper gallops into him. I ride him at home and this season he’s a completely different horse, so hopefully there’s more to come.”

On to this week’s action, where Sheikh Hamdan runs 12 at Meydan’s opening meeting on Thursday, including a trio of unraced two-year-olds in the opening 1400metre maiden. All three are trained by Ahmed Bin Harmash, who is new to the Shadwell ranks. Dane O’Neill returns to the UAE this week and he has elected to ride Al Zeem, who impressed in a recent trial at the track, crossing the line in second, ahead of the re-opposing Sboog, the mount of Royston Ffrench. Shadwell’s other runner, the Kitten’s Joy filly Don’t Lie Kitten, was fourth over the line in a different trial. In a race where only one of the seven runners has raced, this is very much a fact-finding mission for all of them.

There are two runners for the team in the 1600metre handicap, with Nathr the chosen mount of O’Neill. Doug Watson’s gelding was a hugely impressive nine and a quarter-length winner when last since here in March, but has been given a 10lb rise for that effort. Even so, he should give a good account in a race which he won last year. He faces nine rivals including Erwan Charpy’s Shaakis, who was third on his only start at Meydan and will fare better this season, his second in the UAE.

Jeeran and Etijaah, both trained by Doug Watson, represent the Sheikh in the featured 2000metre handicap and O’Neill is on the latter, who won this contest in 2015, admittedly off a 9lb lower mark. Nevertheless, he goes well fresh and is sure to give another good account in an open race. Jeeran, talented on his day, is likely to need his first outing.

Al Mheiri runs two in the 1200metre handicap, Dairam and Ajraam, who has top weight. Both are capable of winning this, but slight preference is for Dairam who goes well off a break. He is yet to win at Meydan, but is effective there and will surely finish in the placings.

The final race at Meydan, a 1600metre handicap, sees three carry the blue and white, with O’Neill on the 2011 Group 3 Acomb Stakes winner Entifaadha. Undoubtedly a talented horse, he has struggled to get to grips with the dirt and may find things tough again. Marching Time, the oldest Shadwell runner at the age of ten, has been a grand servant to Doug Watson and is capable of making the frame under Pat Dobbs, while Alraased, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea, also has claims if able to repeat his good third here behind Tajheez in January.

On to Abu Dhabi’s Sunday card, where Sheikh Hamdan runs two Arabians and two Thoroughbreds. Jabal Aly and El Salaam clash in the 2200metre Arabian Handicap, with O’Neill opting for the latter, no doubt hoping he can bounce back from a below-par effort here in March. Jabal Aly, meanwhile, looked smart when winning at Al Ain on his local debut but was well-beaten behind El Salaam at that same course afterwards.

In the closing 2200metre Thoroughbred Handicap, Almerzem goes for Al Mheiri and O’Neill, leaving Marc Monaghan to do the steering on Charpy’s Amaan. Almerzem was only narrowly beaten over course and distance last November and is the pick of the pair if able to fire on his first start since January.

By Laura King


Tags: shadwell, uae, meydan, dubai, racing,

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