Ibn Malik: lines up for the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint at Meydan
Meydan stages week five of the Dubai World Cup Carnival on Thursday, with seven races including the Group 2 Rashidiya and Group 1 Maktoum Challenge Round 1 for Arabians.
HH Sheikh Hamdan has nine runners across the card, including likeable veteran Zamaam who lines up in the new Listed Meydan Cup, over a mile and six furlongs. Third last week over a mile and a half, Erwan Charpy’s ten-year-old will have no issues with this extra trip and can again finish in the placings, particularly if they go a good gallop.
The Mina Rashid Turf Handicap, over a mile, is the setting for the local debut of Motawafaawit. The four-year-old has joined Doug Watson from Richard Hannon and brings with him some useful form, having notched three wins from his eight starts in the UK. Off since August, he is the mount of Pat Dobbs, with Jim Crowley having opted to ride Moqtarreb, who made a very good start to his UAE life with a close fourth over course and distance two weeks ago. Drawn in 12 this time, he is one of those to beat in a race which also includes stablemate Yaalail, who was was seventh, three spots behind Moqtarreb, last time. One of the likely frontrunners, he’ll be ridden by Dane O’Neill and break from stall four.
The Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint is one of the early preps for the G1 Golden Shaheen and the six furlong dirt contest has attracted a strong field of eight. Crowley rides Ibn Malik who has done little wrong this campaign, winning a Listed race and then finishing second to the re-opposing Gladiator King in the G3 Dubawi Stakes. Drawn better in three this time, he should again be in the frame.
This is a big jump up in grade for Alkaraama, but the four-year-old shaped with a lot of promise on his local bow at Jebel Ali on Friday, travelling well and just tiring close home, finishing second. He’ll be ridden by O’Neill and should appreciate this return to six furlongs, if this race doesn’t come too soon for him.
The closing ten furlong turf handicap has a full field of 16, including three for Shadwell. Jim Crowley rides Gabr for Watson, the five-year-old stepping up in trip after disappointing over a mile last time. He has picked him over the game Jaaref, who makes his seasonal debut, having last been seen in March when an excellent second in a Group 3 at Abu Dhabi.
Jaaref’s trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi also runs Almoreb who returns to turf after a below-par run on dirt last time. Placed twice here on turf last season, he has an each way chance under Al Rahyi’s stable jockey Fernando Jara, who is returning from injury.
Al Ain stages a seven race card on Friday and Charpy’s Ainhoa Topchef tries the minimum trip for the first time in the five furlong handicap, race six. The impressive winner here last time over seven furlongs, he goes off a seven pound higher mark this time and will be ridden by Crowley.
Meydan’s second meeting of the weekend is a six-race matinee fixture on Saturday and Maqaadeer is the team’s only runner in the ten furlong dirt handicap, race three. The four-year-old made a promising local debut here over 11 furlongs, before struggling at Al Ain the next time. and he resumes here off a two pound lower mark.
Five Shadwell horses clash in race five, a very competitive six furlong turf handicap. Crowley rides Alkaamel, who will break from post 12. The Havana Gold gelding has run well, only beaten around 10 lengths, on his two dirt starts here to date, but will appreciate being back on turf, although this trip might be on the short side for him.
O’Neill partners Bawaasil, who is yet to win in the UAE and tries this trip for the first time on turf as he bids to add to his one career win so far. He has chosen him over Shajjy, who makes a fast return, having finished third over five furlongs on dirt at Jebel Ali on Friday. Fourth over course and distance a month ago, a similar effort could see him finish in the placings.
Bawaasil’s trainer Watson also runs Fawaareq, the mount of Dobbs, who drops in trip after struggling over seven furlongs last time, while Etisalat looks for his first win on turf, having been successful twice on all weather and once on dirt. Very consistent, he will be ridden by Sandro Paiva and has a good weight of 55.5 kilos.
Two run in the mile dirt handicap, race six, with Mayaadeen looking for two wins in a row here, having scored over seven furlongs a month ago. Trained by Watson, he will again need to negotiate a wide draw but a five pound higher mark shouldn’t be enough to stop him running another big race.
Crowley rides Mayaadeen over Moqarrar, who makes his seventh start of the season for Charpy. Back at the course and distance over which he secured his only UAE win, the grey is back on his winning mark of 87 and should again finish in the money.
Jara rides Hakeem, who makes his second start in the Emirates and steps back down to a mile, after finishing down the field on his dirt debut two weeks’ ago. Now four pounds lower, he should be fitter and have gained from that experience.
The finale is a nine furlong turf handicap in which three run for the team, including Tahreek, the mount of Crowley. Fifth and sixth on his two local starts over a mile, he tries this trip for the first time and has a rails draw which should help. He is among those to beat, as is top weight Akwaan, who is highly-regarded by new trainer Charpy. Formerly trained by Simon Crisford, the four-year-old son of Camacho won two of his eight starts in the UK and this looks a good starting point for him in the UAE.
Charpy also runs Mujeeb, the mount of Paiva, who ran well here, finishing fourth, two starts ago, before struggling from a wide draw at Abu Dhabi last time.
On the subject of Abu Dhabi, the Capital hosts a six race card on Sunday, with the usual five races for Arabians. Sheikh Hamdan introduces a newcomer in the opening seven furlong maiden, when Flit Al Maury makes his debut for Al Ali Rayhi. A well-bred son of Burning Sand, he will be ridden by Crowley and is visored for this initial run, which comes at the relatively late age of six.
Munbaher takes a marked drop in grade in the mile handicap, race four, having beaten only one home in the Group 3 Al Ruwais on Sunday. Back up in trip here, he should find this task easier.
An 11-furlong Thoroughbred handicap closes out the weekend’s racing and Charpy runs Juthoor and Mudaarab here, the latter being the choice of Crowley. A good third at Meydan last time, he was a course and distance winner and holds stronger claims than Juthoor who has found life tough of late, although hasn’t been beaten far, including at Meydan last time out.