Almiqdaad Makes Highly Anticipated Return

Winner On Only Start Last Term on Comeback Trail

The Thoroughbreds share the limelight with the Purebred Arabians at Abu Dhabi this Sunday evening with Dh80,000 races for each the obvious highlights of a six race card.

The only Thoroughbred contest on the card, their 2400m handicap has attracted a field of 13 and there will be a lot of interest in the return to action of Almiqdaad, trained by Erwan Charpy for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. A useful handicapper in the UK, he won his only local start last season, in a 2200m handicap at Abu Dhabi, before injury ruled him out for the rest of the season.

“He just put his head in front last time, right on the line,” said Charpy. “But sadly he was injured in the process because we were looking forward to running him at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the long distance races.

“He is a big horse and will definitely improve for this run but he is a good horse and we really hope to be contesting those staying races at Meydan next year.”

The owner`s retained jockey Paul Hanagan takes the ride.

James Doyle rides Karl Barg for trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam and his main employer, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and they will be hoping to build on a staying on third over 2200m here last time on a rare turf outing. Doyle said: “He shaped as though this 2400m would suit him last time. He has raced mainly on Tapeta in recent times but he won on turf in England and must have a decent chance in a competitive handicap.”

Several of these contested the same race in which Kal Barg was third, won by the Satish Seemar-trained Malthouse and Seemar, who saddled a double at Jebel Ali on Friday, has three declared this time with stable jockey Richard Mullen set to partner Bay Willow, fourth in the Malthouse race last time.

Mullen said: “That was a fair effort last time and he shapes as if this extra 200m will suit him. The horses are running well and we have to be hopeful.”

The best of the Purebred Arabian action is a 1400m handicap with Richly Blessed heading the weights for trainer Ernst Oertel having won an apprentice jockey race at the first Abu Dhabi meeting of the season. Champion Jockey Tadhg O`Shea takes over the steering and said: “She has only had four starts and that was her first win having been highly tried in France. She has to give weight all round but is hopefully a nice filly and we will find out how good she is.”

Oertel is actually responsible for three of the ten runners, as is Jaber Bittar for whom Towaisann Al Reef, the mount of Pat Cosgrave, would appear his best chance.

However, it could be that the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Aqmaar, a winner here over 1600m on his penultimate start and Yazan, a 1600m winner at Abu Dhabi on his most recent start three weeks ago, are the main dangers.