Intriguing Saturday Card on Offer at Meydan Racecourse

Pat Dobbs (left) and Charlie Croker will bid to follow up on their 1200m victory last month in the 1600m DP World UAE Region Handicap on Saturday.

Credit: Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins

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Two valuable turf handicaps share top billing at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday with several Dubai World Cup Carnival aspirants in action.

These include the Doug Watson-trained Banaadeer who heads the weights in the finale over 1200m. Having his sixth UAE outing, this will be his first local run on the turf but he did win a maiden, as a juvenile, on the surface in June 2013 when trained by Richard Hannon (senior).

He also won on Polytrack for Richard Hannon (junior) and has one local success to his credit, on his seasonal bow at Jebel Ali in mid-December.

He is owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and retained jockey, Paul Hanagan rides, choosing Banaadeer from five set to sport the blue and white silks of the UAE’s leading owner.

“We are keen to try him on turf,” said Hanagan. “He has been in good form on the track and working well at home. He does have to concede weight to the rest and it was a tough choice with all five of Sheikh Hamdan’s looking to have some kind of chance.

The owner’s second jockey, Dane O’Neill, rides Greeb, also trained by Watson and a decent third on his local debut, over 1400m on the Meydan turf, two weeks ago.

Stable jockey, Richard Mullen, elects to ride Lehaaf of two in the race for Satish Seemar, leaving the stable’s apprentice, Hector Crouch, to partner stable companion Spin Cycle.

Now a ten-year-old, Crouch’s mount has been off the track since March and, winner of the 2011 Jebel Ali Sprint in his pomp, will be racing on turf for the first time since January 2012.
Dhruba Selvaratnam saddles Roossey, runner-up on his two most recent outings, most recently over 1200m on the Jebel Ali dirt where he is trained for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Prior to that he was second over Saturday’s course and distance, caught in the dying strides by Charlie Croker, himself in action in a 1600m turf handicap.

Another good chance on the card for the Watson team, Charlie Croker was subsequently second, also on the Meydan turf, in a 1400m handicap. The mount of Pat Dobbs, he should go close again in a race in which Watson also saddles Mutasayyid, Almohtaseb and Jawhar, all owned by Sheikh Hamdan.

Hanagan chooses to ride the last named, making his UAE debut with O’Neill aboard Jawhar, a course and distance winner just over two years ago. Sam Hitchcott rides Almohtaseb, having only his second UAE outing.

Tadhg O’Shea partners Need To Know for Ali Rashid Al Raihe and they will be hoping he can go one better than when second on each of his last two starts.

“He has been running well pretty much all season,” said O’Shea. “Conditions certainly suit him and he seems to remain in good form. It is another competitive race but he should go close.”

The weights are headed by Zurbriggen, trained by Ahmad bin Harmash and winner of a conditions race when last seen in action. That was in March 2014 though, on the Jebel Ali dirt but he did run well in HH The President’s Cup almost exactly two years ago.

Freddy Tylicki rides in a fascinating contest.

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