National Day Cup preps to take place in Abu Dhabi on Sunday

Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club generously sponsor five of the six races on Sunday`s Abu Dhabi card which features prep races for the National Day Cups both for Purebred Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

Both races are over the same 1600m as the National Day Cups themselves and the Purebred Arabian version, the fourth race on the card, has attracted a quality field with the weights headed by Nieshan.

Third in the Group 1 National Day Cup last year, he subsequently won the concluding round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan Racecourse before finishing third in the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night.

Penalised for that Group One win, he has to give weight all round but his trainer Eric Lemartinel saddled three winners at the opening meeting a fortnight ago.

Gerald Avranche takes the ride and said: "He is a class horse and we are hoping he can have another good season. Eric has started the season in great form and this looks a good race for Nieshan`s comeback. He has to give weight away but should be very competitive."

His main danger could be Fryvolous, winner of the National Day Cup for Rod Simpson in 2008 before adding the 2009 Dubai Kahayla Classic to his big race haul.

He has had his share of training problems since but produced a couple of good runs last season and will be having his first start for Ernst Oertel who said: "He has been a very good servant to Al Asayl in recent years and hopefully can have a good season. He seems fit and well at home but we will obviously find out a lot more on Sunday."

When Fryvolus won the 2008 National Day Cup he was chased home by Nirwan who is again in opposition for trainer Doug Watson who said: "He is in good form and ready for the run. It is a strong race but he should run well."

This trio would appear the most likely winners.

Tadhg O`Shea rides Nirwan and then partners local debutant Tamaathul in the Thoroughbred equivalent for Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe who also introduces Colepeper to the UAE and runs Mutual Force who is seeking a second win this season.

With the trainer in great form, Tamaathul could be the one they have to beat on his first start since October 2010.

Only four, this will be his seventh career start and assistant trainer Jilani Sidiqqui said: "He is a nice recruit and we are looking forward to running him. His work has been pleasing and hopefully he can go well."

Stable jockey Royston Ffrench, who rode a treble for the yard on Thursday, rides Colepeper with apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei seeking his second course and distance win on Mutual Force.

Sidiqqui added: "Marching Time came out of his race well and deserves this step up in class and Colepeper is another nice new horse in the yard."

The Dhruba Selvaratnam-trained Dahteer, Satish Seemar`s National Pride and Doug Watson`s Marching Time are all respected, while Iguaza Falls bids to repeat his win in this race last year.