Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 2, 2017

Posted on: 8th Nov 2017

KASB wins the Shadwell 1000 metre handicap at Jebel Ali - picture courtesy of Antonin Kelian/Gulf News

HH Sheikh Hamdan enjoyed a successful first week of racing in the UAE with a winner apiece at Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi. Kasb, ridden by Paolo Sirigu and trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, landed the Shadwell-sponsored 1000metre handicap on Friday, before Purebred Arabian Ainhoa Topchef provided trainer Erwan Charpy and jockey Antonio Fresu with a winner in the maiden in the capital.

This week there are three meetings across the UAE, with Meydan hosting its opening card on Thursday night. The team have 10 declared, starting with Moosir in the Mile handicap, race four. The Doug Watson-trainee will be ridden by the returning Jim Crowley and is four pounds lower than when last seen in March. A winner first up last season, he isn’t without a chance, although it looks a competitive race.

The 2000metre handicap sees three runners for the team, with Crowley having elected to ride the classy Nathr.  Beaten over a mile on this card last season, he is eight pounds higher than when winning here over that same trip in February. Very smart on his day, he might just need this first run, but still must be respected in a good line-up.

Fernando Jara rides Nathr’s stablemate Mutamakkin, who makes his second local start after transferring from Sir Michael Stoute in the UK. An $875,000 purchase, he is an interesting long-term prospect for dirt racing, being by War Front.

Watson also trains the third Shadwell runner in the race, Jeeraan, who has been given a chance by the handicapper, resuming off a 7lb lower mark as he aims for his first win in almost two years.

Four carry the blue and white in the 1200metre handicap, including Ajraam, who won this race 12 months ago. Now trained by Maria Ritchie, he can go close again, although Crowley will have to navigate a wide passage from stall 11.

He faces bottom weight Almanaara, who has reportedly summered well in the Watson barn. The four-year-old ran once at Jebel Ali last season and makes his Meydan debut here, with Sam Hitchcott taking the ride on the well-bred colt, who is a half-brother to top sire Dark Angel. He has a leading chance if adapting to conditions.

There are two UAE debutants also in the race for Shadwell, with Charpy saddling Mukhmal, who moves here having won three times for Mark Johnston. Now rated 88, he makes his first start since September 2015. Four-year-old gelding Elronaq completes the team, having moved from Charles Hills to Watson, and he took must overcome a layoff of just over a year.

The final race, a competitive mile handicap, sees Carnival winner Munaaser carry the first colours. Now rated just 88, he is well-handicapped on his best form and conditions should suit him. He faces another Carnival winner, Nolohay, who makes his first start for Watson having previously been with Ritchie. Once as high as 108, he is now down to 91 but hasn’t looked the same horse since his big Meydan win in 2015.

On Friday, Abu Dhabi hosts the world’s richest Arabian race, the E4million Jewel Crown, a Group I over a mile. Sheikh Hamdan runs his five-time Group I winner Muraaqib, who travels over from France for trainer Francois Rohaut. Rated 123, inferior only to defending champion RB Burn, he has a strong chance of landing this prize, although the 13 post will make things trickier for Crowley.

Earlier on, four go in the UAE Martyrs Cup, a Rated Conditions event over a mile. Crowley rides top weight Ghaamer who is very effective around Abu Dhabi, but is drawn wide in 14. Stablemate Ijmaaly also goes here, but needs to put a disappointing Abu Dhabi debut in March behind him, while Charpy’s Munshid will appreciate being back on turf after running down the field at Jebel Ali on dirt in March. The line-up is completed by the quirky Ostaad, who amazingly runs for the first time at Abu Dhabi and is more than capable of taking this on his best form.

Two run for Sheikh Hamdan at Sharjah on Saturday, both in the 1000metre Thoroughbred Handicap, and both trained by Ahmad bin Harmash. Al Abyad is the pick of current stable jockey Connor Beasley over fellow lightly-raced maiden Sabegg.


By Laura King

Tags: #shadwell #uae #jebelali #dubai #racing,

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