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Selvaratnam`s Mulaqat Searching for Fourth UAE Victory at Abu Dhabi

Mulaqat, winner of the Abu Dhabi Championship in 2008, returns to the same 2200m course as that big race as he attempts victory while conceding weight to seven rivals in a handicap on the Capital’s turf track tomorrow (Sunday).

A Group 3 winner in England, the ten-year-old, fast approaching veteran status, joined Dhruba Selvaratnam in late 2006. He has since posted three wins locally, the other pair achieved at Jebel Ali where Mulaqat is trained.

He ran well enough on his seasonal return nine days ago and will be ridden by James Doyle who said: “It was a pleasing enough comeback from a horse who tends to improve from his first run and he would have needed that outing. The 2200m at Abu Dhabi is ideal so hopefully he will run well but he is ten now and has to give weight to some decent types.”

Abdulla bin Huzaim saddles an interesting runner in the form of Midnight Moon, the mount of Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea who was also in the saddle when the pair were well beaten at Meydan on his seasonal bow just over a fortnight ago.

That was a puzzling effort because the horse had won his final two starts last season, both at Meydan and O’Shea said: “His comeback was disappointing but he is better than that. He took a while to hit form last season so hopefully he needed that run and he is totally unexposed on turf after only three starts on grass.”

Malthouse won this race last year for trainer, Satish Seemar who saddles two this year with stable jockey, Richard Mullen aboard Birbone and apprentice, Marc Monaghan taking the ride on stablemate Master Daniel.

Both are seeking a first local victory at the seventh attempt though and the Doug Watson trio of Mantoba, Udabaa and Mujrayaat may prove bigger dangers.

Pat Dobbs rides Mantoba, with Dane O’Neill, retained by owner HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, choosing Udabaa, on whom he was eighth in this race 12 months ago, over the same owner’s Mujrayaat.

Watson said: “Udabaa deserves a bit of luck around here as he was a bit unlucky a couple of times. Conditions are ideal for Mantoba and we are trying Mujrayaat over the trip after a pleasing reappearance over 1600m.”

The best of the five Purebred Arabian races is also a 2200m handicap in which O’Shea rides Swyft for Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel. The pair have made a flying start to the season and he should go well but does not win as often as he should for one of his ability.

He does have a course and distance victory to his name, as does Kerkoauan, to be ridden by Richard Mullen for Jaber Bittar, another trainer who has made a bright start to the campaign.

Ibn Battuta Monlau is seeking a fifth course and distance victory and Frenchman Gerald Avranche rides for compatriot, Eric Lemartinel with Wayne Smith aboard stable companion Af Qamoos who also has a win to his credit under these conditions.