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Abu Dhabi Saves Best For Last As Thoroughbreds And Arabians Contest Group Clashes

In Form Al Jahouri Saddles Four In Group 1 Highlight

Abu Dhabi’s final meeting of the season is arguably the best with the Group 1 Emirates Championship for Purebred Arabians and the Thoroughbred equivalent, the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, the undoubted highlights.

Both races, the final two on the six race card, are over 2200m with the Purebred Arabian feature first up and 15 have been declared, including no less than six owned by H E Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Four of these are trained by Majed Al Jahouri who has domianted the Abu Dhabi feature races this season for the owner and a strong case can be made for all four of their runners.

The fact that Ahmed Ajtebi is booked to ride Rasikh suggests he could be the yard’s main hope but he was beaten, over course and distance, by stable companion Jarnin, on their penultimate outings. Royston Ffrench replaces Kieren Fallon on Jarnin who then disappointed at Meydan in the concluding round of the Al Maktoum Challenge when Rasikh was fourth.

Harry Bentley rides another stablemate, Musharab, twice fourth this year in Group 1 company but it could be the trainer’s fourth runner for the owner, Ghalib, who holds stronger credentials on what will be only his second local start. Well beaten in the middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge, he should appreciate the return to turf here and his jockey Richard Mullen said: “It is a nice spare ride certainly and his turf form in Europe is pretty good and a repeat of that would give him a big chance.”

Fryvolous represents the powerful Ernst Oertel/Tadhg O’Shea comination but it would appear that Al Jahouri holds all the aces.

Thirty minutes later nine are set to face the starter in the Abu Dhabi Championship, including two previous winners in the shape of Mulaqat and Topclas, the latter represnting the Mubarak bin Shafya/Adrie De Vries partnership who dominated proceedings at Meydan on Thursday. Fifth last year, he won this race in 2011 and has not won since but has been running well in defeat at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

De Vries said: “Obviously the horses are running well and Topclas has been in good form at home. He should run well.”

The 2008 winnner Mulaqat is joined in the field by stable companion Dormello, the mount of stable jockey James Doyle, riding for his main employer Dhruba Selvaratnam who said: “Mulaqat is ten now but ran well in the prep and deserves another chance in this race but Dormello is probably our best hope.”

Mulaqat was second in that prep, a race won imprssively by the Satish Seemar-trained Malthouse, another good mount on the card for Richard Mullen who said: “That was a good win last time and these are his optimum conditions so he should go close but it is obvioulsy a better race with stronger opposition.”

Derbaas won the 1600m National Day Cup in December for Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe but his stamina has to be taken on trust, as opposed to the Doug Watson-trained duo of Dr Faustus and Jutland who should both go well.