Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 22

Posted on: 15th Mar 2018

NATHR looks regain his previous form back at Meydan

There are three meetings this weekend in the UAE, as we attempt to provide an alternative to the Cheltenham Festival fever which will engulf much of Europe.

Meydan hosts its final domestic card of the season on Thursday, and HH Sheikh Hamdan runs seven, beginning with three in race two, one of the features, over 1200metres on dirt. Almanaara looked smart when winning first up this season but things haven’t really gone his way since and he was a non-runner last time out. Even so, he has the plum draw in one and remains a strong-travelling individual who can have an impact here. He will be partnered by Jim Crowley, with Dane O’Neill on Raafid, who is yet to win in six attempts in the Emirates. That leaves a nice spare ride for Fernando Jara on Ajraam, who travelled well when short of room last time out. He is drawn in two and has a very good opportunity of regaining the winning thread under just 53 kilos.

Two run for the team in the 1400metre handicap, with Moosir aiming to follow up his mile win last time out. Again ridden by Crowley, he has gone up five pounds for that success and the drop down in trip should not be an issue. He is drawn in five, three spots outside of Tafaakhor, who has the early pace to make the most of his position, but is yet to convince in two outings on the dirt.

The second of the feature races is over 1600metres and Nathr and Munaaser clash here. The former has dropped another pound in the weights after disappointing in fifth over 1400metres last time, but anything near a return to his best form would see him go close here. Ali Al Rayhi’s Munaaser, without a win since his Dubai debut in 2016, looks well-handicapped on that victory, but doesn’t have the best of the draw, in nine.

Al Ain stages its final meeting of the campaign on Friday, and it sees seven races, with Shadwell fielding just Ainhoa Topchef, who lines up for Erwan Charpy in the 1800metre Arabian handicap, race two. Disappointing since breaking his maiden at Abu Dhabi in November, the five-year-old now goes off a mark of 50 and will be ridden by Antonio Fresu.

Abu Dhabi holds one of its best cards on Saturday, with the Group 1 Emirates Championship, for Arabians over 2200metres, very much the feature. It has a full field of 16, topped by President’s Cup winner Al Zahir, who goes from stall 16 until Crowley. By contrast, he was drawn one when winning the President’s Cup, but still looks the best horse in this and could well also line up in the Dubai Kahayla Classic on World Cup night. Sauternes Al Maury, 12th behind Al Zahir last time, is the choice of O’Neill, leaving Pat Dobbs to do the steering on another Doug Watson trainee, Bon Baiser Du Faust.
There’s also a Thoroughbred Group 3 on the card, the Emirates Championship, which sees Basateen try blinkers for the first time, in a bid to help him recapture the form which saw him land a Carnival turf win in 2016. Crowley rides him in preference to Jaaref, the mount of O’Neill, who will enjoy being back on turf here, as well as relish this extra stamina test, having found 10 furlongs at Jebel Ali tough last time. Zamaam, trained by Charpy, carries the red cap, but has struggled for form since winning this race 12 months ago.

The UAE Arabian Derby, race two, is also over 2200metres and is open to four and five year olds. AF Mahshoum falls into the latter category and will be ridden by Crowley, who was also on board when he finished third, after travelling well in the lead, in a course and distance handicap last week.

By Laura King

Tags: dubai, meydan, al ain, shadwell, racing, arabian, thoroughbred, abu dhabi, uae,

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