Shadwell racing team bid for glory as UAE season closes

Laura King with her preview of the action in the Emirates
Three meetings take place in the UAE this weekend

The Shadwell team will bid to close out the UAE season in good style over the next two weeks and they are busy at the three UAE meetings taking place this weekend.

First up comes Fawaareq who takes on 14 rivals in the seven furlong Thoroughbred handicap at Al Ain’s penultimate meeting of the campaign on Friday. Trained by Doug Watson, the eight-year-old is unlucky to be 0-13 in the UAE, having run some good races this season, including placing twice at Jebel Ali. He heads to Al Ain for the first time and will be ridden by Adam McLean who returns from injury this week.

Stablemate Mayaadeen also goes to the Garden City for the first time and gets his perfect trip here, having won over this distance twice at Meydan, including in November. He goes off a three pound lower mark than when eighth at Meydan last time out and will surely give a good account here, from a middle draw in seven.

The action moves to Sharjah for its final meeting of the season on Saturday, and Akwaan lines up in the sole Thoroughbred handicap for Erwan Charpy and Ryan Curatolo. The five-year-old was a dual winner in the UK but has yet to place in five local starts, but has been given an eight pound drop to a mark of just 65 ahead of this assignment. Charpy has also altered his headgear, removing blinkers and adding a pacifier.

Shadwell run four at Abu Dhabi’s season finale on Sunday, when a mile Thoroughbred handicap closes out the card. Al Qaqaa looks to be an exciting one here, making just his second local start after finishing third at Jebel Ali at the start of March. A well-bred son of War Front, he was a winner on turf in the UK and this surface should suit him well. He goes from stall five under jockey Richie Mullen, the two Shadwell-retained riders, Jim Crowley and Dane O’Neill, having returned to the UK.

His rivals include another pair of Watson trainees, Alfolk and Eshtiraak. Alfolk has done all of his winning over five furlongs and steps up to this mile for the first time, but did stay on well at Al Ain last time. He will be ridden by Royston Ffrench with Szczepan Mazur on Eshtiraak, who won over this trip twice when trained by David Hayes in Australia.

The fourth runner in the race for the team is the consistent Tafaakhor, who was a winner over course and distance back in December of 2018. A winner since then at Jebel Ali, he warmed up for this with a solid fourth at that same track last time out and cannot be discounted here, with jockey Sandro Paiva onboard.