Shadwell UAE Season Preview - Week 9

Posted on: 17th Dec 2019

Laura King previews all the action from this week's meetings across the UAE

The cancellation of the Shadwell-sponsored card at Jebel Ali on Friday, due to track conditions, meant a quiet weekend for the team but they are back in action with five runners on an excellent card at Meydan on Thursday.

The action begins with the newly-upgraded Madjani Stakes – named after Sheikh Hamdan’s Kahayla Classic winner – which will be run as a Group 3 for the first time. Bon Baiser De Faust and Sauternes Al Maury take their chance for Doug Watson here, having been first and second in the race back in 2016. Both struggled on their latest assignment here in the Group 2 Bani Yas, with Sauternes Al Maury faring best in sixth. Nevertheless, they will both improve for the run and step up in trip and cannot be discounted on the pick of their form, with retained rider Dane O’Neill opting to partner Sauternes Al Maury, who has a good draw in two.

Sheikh Hamdan also runs AF Mahshoum, who takes a small drop in grade after finding the Group 1 Jewel Crown a little too tough last time. Back on dirt here, he is yet to win at Meydan, but this is an easier task than some he has faced at the track and he is drawn well in four.

The mile handicap, race six, is fiercely competitive and sees Almoreb make his seasonal debut for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. Highly promising in four runs here last season, the son of Raven’s Pass is likely to improve with age and is very interesting on just his second try on Meydan’s dirt surface. However,  O’Neill has opted to ride Erwan Charpy’s Moqarrar, whose sole local win came over this course and distance. Now back to his winning mark of 87, the grey will appreciate being back at Meydan after failing to show his best at Jebel Ali last time. He is well drawn in one for a horse who is seen to best effect when on or near the lead.

Sharjah stages two valuable Arabian races on its six-race card on Saturday and Foaad lines up in the HE Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Cup, over an extended mile. The six-year-old ran well on his latest run, finishing sixth at Al Ain, and he runs at Sharjah for the first time in his career. Sam Hitchcott rides from stall one.

Abu Dhabi holds one Thoroughbred race, a seven furlong handicap, on Sunday, in which Sheikh Hamdan runs six, including Raafid who tops the weights. A winner of his last two starts of last season, at Meydan and then at Jebel Ali back in March, this is his first run since and he must defy a five pound higher mark of 95 over a trip which may slightly stretch him.

Moqarrab heads to the Capital for the first time and is yet to build on his good second on UAE debut at Meydan in February. Running on turf for just the third time in his career, Al Mheiri’s charge is on something of a recovery mission here. By contrast, Watson’s Eshtiraak ran well when only beaten six lengths on his Abu Dhabi debut in November. Down the field at Jebel Ali since, he will be seen to better effect here under Hitchcott.

The same goes for Yaalail, whose best efforts in the UAE have been solely reserved for grass tracks. Eighth, a couple of spots ahead of Eshtiraak, when last seen at Abu Dhabi last month, it won’t be long before his good efforts are rewarded with a victory and he will be ridden by Al Rayhi’s stable jockey Fernando Jara.

O’Neill rides Tashaaboh, another for Al Rayhi, and the four-year-old cannot be ruled out, having finished an excellent third at Meydan on his local debut in April. With a summer in between to adapt and strengthen, the four-year-old Lethal Force gelding can make his presence felt here.

The six-strong team is completed by Tadbir, who runs on turf in the UAE for the first time. A good winner at Jebel Ali before disappointing at Meydan, a good run here from his current mark of 89 could see him gain the ratings rise he needs to enter the Carnival.

Tags: shadwell; laura king; meydan; abu dhabi; sharjah;,

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