Grandstand Stables Gearing up for 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival Season

Photo: Cedric Lane (

Stable Stars Mufarhh, Tamaathul and Derbaas in Action Thursday

Ali Rashid Al Raihe and his team at Grandstand Stables have long been a force to be reckoned with in UAE racing.
Al Raihe may have relinquished his UAE Champion Trainer’s title to Abu Dhabi-based Ernst Oertel last season, but the Emirati’s credentials are there for all to see.

He became one of only a few locally-based trainers to have claimed a Group 1 on Dubai World Cup day, when Al Shemali landed the 2010 US$5m Dubai Duty Free under stable jockey, Royston FFrench. Until last season he had claimed three consecutive UAE trainer’s championships and he has an enviable haul of Dubai World Cup Carnival Group races to his credit.

This season’s National Day Cup runner-up, Derbaas, who followed stablemate Nawwaar home, has been a great servant to the yard. His best result to date is arguably the 2011 Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort, which came off the back of a three-race winning streak.

First City touched off De Kock`s stable star, Mahbooba, in the Group 2 Cape Verdi by a nose a year later but it was years earlier that Tropical Star started Al Raihe on the road to big-race success when the sprinter claimed the Mahab Al Shimaal in 2006 and the Al Shindagha Sprint in 2007.

This term Al Raihe has around 68 horses in training and is working from a season-ready core of about 40. He has also taken delivery of some new youngsters who offer intriguing prospects for the future.

“The amount of horses is not large, but we have made a good start to the season,” said Al Raihe. “We also have some nice new horses but they will need some time as we don’t like to rush them when they first arrive in the yard.”

Among them are Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s new UAE recruits, the former William Haggas charge, Mundahesh, rated 86, who had a winning local start over 1400m at Meydan on November 21 and the 87-rated Ghaamer a three-year-old from Dermot Weld’s yard. The three-year-old Ribaat, who is rated 97, makes the transfer from Roger Varian while Mutazamen, rated 80 from Richard Hannon’s yard, was last seen finishing down the field in a Heritage Handicap. Mayaasem, rated 84 was previously under the care of Charlie Hills’ and also joins the Grandstand Stables’ ranks.

There are also three new untested Jaber Abdulla-owned horses including the unraced Max Beauty and Royal Hunter and the maiden, Waahy, who was runner-up in a maiden on December 5.

“We won’t look at starting many of these new horses until toward the end of December or January,” said Al Raihe. “Where there are race videos available we watch them to get as much information about the horses as possible. We also want to see how they go over here and how they adjust to their new surroundings before they will appear in a race.”

Tried and tested Grandstand Stables stars include the versatile and consistent Haatheq, the 2013 Godolphin Mile and Jebel Ali Mile runner-up who made a winning return to Meydan’s all-weather track on November 21 as well as this Thursday’s performer, Derbaas. Both are said to be in good form.

“Haatheq has been with us a while now and we are familiar with how he likes to be trained, so he’s become quite straightforward. He made a pleasing start to the season and we will be looking at the Jebel Ali Mile and Stakes and of course the Dubai World Cup Carnival,” said the trainer. “We are happy with Derbaas. He won the National Day Cup Prep and was runner up in the actual race.”

The sprinter Tamaathul another runner who, like Haatheq acquitted himself very well on Dubai World Cup day finishing fourth in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, will also be in action this season.

“We were expecting a big run from him on Dubai World Cup day,” said Al Raihe of the grey who makes his seasonal debut in a 1200m Conditions race on Thursday. “He is the 1200m record-holder over the grass at Meydan and he will probably follow a similar campaign this season.”

Al Raihe identified Dubai World Cup Carnival winner, Mufarrh, who holds an entry to this Thursday’s Conditions race over 1600m as well as Bravo Ragazzo, a winner already this season and Blue Sea as horses to keep an eye on.
As well as his four-legged charges, Al Raihe is also mentoring stable apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei.

“He has the right attitude,” said Al Raihe, who has been training for 28 years and in that time helped shape the early career of Emirati jockey, Ahmed Ajtebi. “Saeed rides well and is strong in a finish. He works very hard and rides out every morning. Whatever horse we give him, he keeps his head down and gets on with his job and we like his commitment.”