Jaasoos and Sahib du Clos Star in Thoroughbred and Arabian Highlights

The first feature races of the UAE season are upon us with Abu Dhabi staging their National Day Cup meeting this Sunday evening with a 1600m contest for both Purebred Arabians and Thoroughbreds.

The official feature is the Group 1 Purebred Arabian version and last year’s winner Sahib Du Clos is back to defend his crown for trainer Saifaldin Deeb with Richard Mullen replacing Royston Ffrench who was in the saddle 12 months ago.

Mullen said: “I won on the horse at Meydan last year and he is a classy sort who showed he can go well fresh. It is a very good race as you would expect but I am really looking forward to it.”

He is not the only previous winner in the field with 2008 victor Fryvolous looking for further Group 1 glory. Now trained by Ernst Oertel, he was second in the prep behind the Eric Lemartinel-trained Nieshan and both should go well.

Oertel also has Time Out ,who beat Fryvolous in the 2011 edition of the prep but he looks the stable`s second string and last year`s runner-up, Timadit Al Mels, is feared more under last year`s winning jockey Ffrench.
Ffrench`s mount is trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, seeking his first winner at the 22nd attempt.

The Thoroughbred version carries Listed status and Jaasoos, trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam, again seeks his place in the record books as he tries to win the race for a third time.

Victorious in both 2009 and 2010, he was denied an unprecedented hat-trick last year but did gain compensation by landing the Listed HH The President`s Cup over 1400m.
“He has been a great horse for us in recent years,” said the trainer. “This year`s renewal looks very strong though with the likes of Derbaas in there and it will be a hard race to win this time.

“We managed to get a run into him last week at Jebel Ali and he came out of that in good shape so should run his normal solid race.”

Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddles Derbaas who won the course and distance prep race three weeks ago when chased home by Finjaan and Marching Time who had won the same race the previous year. All three are owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum with Doug Watson training the other pair and the owner has a very strong hand in the race with Alazeyab (Al Raihe), War Monger (Watson) and Yaseer (Erwan Charpy) all set to sport his famous blue and white silks.

The owner`s retained jockey Dane O’Neill stays loyal to Derbaas after their prep win and said: “Derbaas has a touch of class which he showed in the prep and we are expecting another bold show. It is a stronger race than the prep but he looks the one they have to beat.”

Treble Jig, history-making winner of both the Jebel Ali Stakes and Mile last year is also in the field in what looks a quality renewal.