Shadwell UAE Season Preview - Week 7

Posted on: 5th Dec 2019

Tadbir: recent winner bids for more success this week

We have the best week of racing so far this season in the UAE this weekend, with two Listed races at Meydan on Thursday and one at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

HH Sheikh Hamdan is now one clear at the top of the UAE Owners’ Championship, thanks to Kidd Malibu’s success at Jebel Ali on Friday, and he will try to extend his lead with five chances at Meydan.

The Listed Garhoud Sprint, race six, only has eight runners but they look a smart bunch and Ekhtiyaar is intriguing on his first run on dirt here. Trained by Doug Watson, the Bated Breath five-year-old won over six furlongs on turf at the Carnival last year, before running second to Blue Point in the Group 2 Meydan Sprint. If that ability transfers to the main track, he is fearsome here, with Watson saying: “he trains well over the dirt and this looks a good race to get into him and try it before the Carnival.”

Watson also runs Waady, who gained a first UAE win over course and distance a month ago, when beating the useful Pop The Hood by a length and a quarter. A Group 3 winner in England, he can go close again with race-fitness on his side, from a good draw in four, under Sam Hitchcott.

Musabbeh Al Mheiri runs two, with the useful Ibn Malik looking to hold his best chance. Eighth in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile when last seen, the Raven’s Pass gelding was second, only beaten a nose, on his seasonal debut in this race last year. A reproduction of that run would have him as the one to beat here, although he is drawn widest of the whole field in eight. He is the chosen mount of retained rider Dane O’Neill and it cannot have been an easy decision.

Ibn Malik holds stronger claims than stablemate Rusumaat, who returns to racing for the first time in just over a year, when a good second on his local debut at Jebel Ali. On that evidence, he goes well fresh, but he still faces a tough task in a race of this calibre.

The seven furlong Mina Rashid handicap, race seven, features the exciting Midnight Sands, but the Shadwell team take him on with Tadbir, who won a very strong Conditions race at Jebel Ali three weeks ago. Trained by Erwan Charpy, that was the four-year-old’s first local success and this looks tougher still, but he ran well on his only start at Meydan, when fifth to the smart Rodaini, over this course and distance a year ago.

Al Ain holds its third meeting of the season on Friday, and Sheikh Hamdan has two runners there in the Purebred Arabian division. Watson’s Foaad tops the weights for the seven furlong handicap, race six, and aims to improve on his sixth over course and distance last time, when beaten 10 lengths. O’Neill rides from a good draw in three.

Noel Garbutt comes in for the ride on Charpy’s Ainhoa Topchef, who carries just 54 kilos. Making his third start of the season, the six-year-old drops back in trip having been well-held here over 10 furlongs two weeks ago.

Abu Dhabi stages a strong card on Sunday, with the G3 National Day Cup for Arabians and the Listed equivalent for Thoroughbreds.

As expected, Sheikh Hamdan has a strong team in the Listed National Day Cup for Thoroughbreds, over a mile. Watson’s Gabr looked an exciting recruit to UAE racing when sixth on his sole start here, over ten furlongs at Meydan, in April and is very much respected, as is Mukalal, who won the prep race for this well last month.

Trained by Charpy, Mukalal is a strapping son of Mawatheeq and should have improved plenty from that initial outing here, when he circled the whole field to win comfortably. He is the choice of O’Neill but has been dealt no favours by the draw, starting from stall 15.

Al Mheiri has entered Zainhom, who was a good second at Jebel Ali on Friday, and Azmaam, who was second behind Mukalal last time out and who keeps his best for turf assignments such as this. He will be ridden by stable jockey Antonio Fresu, while Szczepan Mazur comes in for the spare ride on Zainhom.

Ali Al Rayhi sends out Taamol, who finished sixth in a good handicap at Jebel Ali on Friday. Just as effective on turf, he probably runs over his best distance here and has the assistance of Sandro Paiva in the saddle, from stall four.

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