The final Thursday Carnival meeting of 2021 is upon us, and Meydan stages six races; five of them on turf, with only the Group 1 Maktoum Challenge R3 for Arabians taking place on dirt.
Mudaarab goes for Erwan Charpy in the second race, a nine furlong turf handicap. The seven-year-old drops in trip after running down the field over a mile and a half two weeks ago. That was his first run after a year off, so he should be fitter this time and he has drawn well in stall six.
His rivals include Gabr, who is a leading player here. Doug Watson’s six-year-old was a good winner at Jebel Ali three starts ago and ran an excellent second over course and distance last time out. He starts from stall 12 and is the choice of Jim Crowley, with Dane O’Neill on Mudaarab.
The concluding seven furlong Listed Meydan Challenge has some strong entries, and HH Sheikh Hamdan runs three, including Mutamaasik for Doug Watson. The Dubawi five-year-old made a promising local debut, leading over a mile here before tiring late and being beaten three-quarters of a length into fifth. He should build on that effort, and this drop in trip will also suit. He will be ridden by Crowley from stall nine, the same post as last time.
Two spots in front of Mutamaasik last time was Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Zainhom, who has his best conditions here. Talented but a little tricky, the chestnut hasn’t won since November 2019, but has the ability to land this if things go his way. He goes from stall 14 under O’Neill.
Ali Rashid Al Rayhi runs Hakeem, who backs up quickly having finished sixth in the Listed President’s Cup at Meydan on Sunday. That was a very good run, and the Exceed And Excel gelding should be just as effective back at home at Meydan, where he goes from post 12 under Sandro Paiva.
Sharjah stages a six race card on Saturday, and AF Muqna’a lines up in the opening Arabian maiden, over six furlongs. A promising third on debut at this track over five furlongs, he has been well held in three starts since but these conditions should suit him well. He is drawn in stall seven and will be ridden by Crowley.
Maqaadeer takes his chance in the ten-furlong Thoroughbred handicap, race six. Watson’s five-year-old has been placed on his last three starts, including a good second at Jebel Ali on his latest run last month and a repeat of that effort should see him in the placings here. Crowley will partner him from a good draw in 11 and they face a full field of 15 rivals.