Shadwell UAE Season Preview Week 5, 2017

Posted on: 30th Nov 2017

The fourth week of racing in the UAE saw second retained jockey Dane O’Neill collect his first winner of the season when the reliable Moosir scored in a 1200metre handicap at Meydan. Doug Watson’s charge finished only 11th two weeks previously over a mile, but enjoyed the drop in trip here.

There are just two meetings in the UAE this weekend, with Jebel Ali hosting its third fixture on Friday, and Abu Dhabi reverting to Sunday racing two days later.

The opening 1000metre handicap at Jebel Ali has Raafid at the top of the weights and Al Rashid Al Rayhi’s four-year-old should improve now he is in his second season in the UAE. Given a 5lb respite by the handicapper, the Shamardal gelding has plenty of pace and can put this to good use, if overcoming his occasional slow start.

The featured Rated Conditions race over 1950metre has attracted a field of nine and the team run Ijmaaly, also trained by Al Rayhi. The five-year-old son of Makfi makes his dirt debut here, and should be fit after a recent run at Abu Dhabi.

The 1400metre handicap sees Al Rayhi’s Qannaas make his third start of the season after finishing seventh on his previous two outings. Drawn wide on both of those starts, he is in nine again this time and faces 15 rivals.

The 1200metre closing handicap looks very competitive and Kasb had a few of these behind him when winning here over 1000metres a month ago. He was given a 4lb rise for that win, but is just as effective over this trip and has to be the one to beat, with O’Neill choosing him over two others. Sahaafy, ninth behind Kasb last time, takes him on again for trainer Maria Ritchie, while Mushaakis aims to bounce back from two disappointing runs so far this campaign.

The action then moves to Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening, where Shadwell run nine, including five in the only Thoroughbred race, the Listed National Day Cup over a mile. Sheikh Hamdan’s Zamaam, trained by Erwan Charpy, landed a Group 3 here last season before finishing a creditable fifth in the G2 Dubai Gold Cup. This trip is short of his best, however, and this is likely to be his prep run for the Carnival.  Doug Watson sends out Basateen, who makes his Abu Dhabi debut. An impressive winner on his UAE debut at Meydan in February 2016, he hasn’t won since but was competitive again at the Carnival and is interesting here. Mubtaaghaa, not seen on the track since January, steps up to a mile for the first time for trainer Ritchie, who will leg up her stable jockey Fernando Jara. Intriguingly, Zarwaan, who might need this after 654 days off, takes his chance for Doug Watson and is the pick of O’Neill, while Al Rayhi’s Munaaser makes a quick return having disappointed at Meydan last week.

Onto the Purebred Arabians, eight of whom clash in the Group 3 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup, which is worth a whopping AED420,000 and has attracted a strong field, including multiple Group I winner RB Burn. Shadwell take him on with Bon Baiser Du Faust, who should strip fitter for a run here a month ago. Also running on that day was the filly Aljazi, who was well-beaten then but has a chance on her form of last season, which saw her finish second here over course and distance.

The Secret, who has won all of his races at Sharjah, makes just his second start in the capital in the 1600metre handicap. Beaten into sixth on his seasonal reappearance at Sharjah two weeks ago, he may find this a tough assignment under Sam Hitchcott. He goes up against French import Ainhoa Topchef, who is well regarded by the Erwan Charpy yard after winning a 1400metre maiden here a month ago and will again have the services of Antonio Fresu onboard. 


By Laura King

Tags: dubai, uae, jebel ali, meydan, shadwellracing, thoroughbreds, arabians,

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