Abu Dhabi Stages HH The President`s Cup Sunday

AED1m at Stake in Group 1 Purebred Arabian Highlight

Sunday is Abu Dhabi’s biggest meeting of the season, HH The President’s Cup day, with the AED1,000,000 Group 1 Purebred Arabian contest, over 2200m, taking pride of place.

The last two winners of the race are among the 15 declared, with the 2013 winner, Naseem and jockey, Harry Bentley defending their title.

“It was a good win in this last year,” said Bentley. “He needed his first run this season in the National Day Cup then showed his versatility by winning the first round of the Al Maktoum Challenge on the Meydan all-weather.

“That was over 1600m, beating Rabbah De Carrere, but Sunday’s 2200m is probably his optimum trip.

We have to be very hopeful.”

Naseem is one of four in the race trained by Majed Al Jahouri for HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, including Rabbah De Carrere, winner of last week’s middle round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan.

Ridden then by Silvestre De Sousa, he will be partnered by Royston Ffrench on this occasion with De Sousa aboard stable companion Raaziq on whom he won he course and distance trial three weeks ago.

Sheikh Mansour’s fourth runner, Musharab, to be ridden by Pat Cosgrave, was fourth in this last year and did win the course and distance Emirates Championship last March under Bentley.

Second to Naseem last year was Nieshan, winner of the race in 2012 for Eric Lemartinel and successful in the concluding round of the Al Maktoum Challenge on Super Saturday last year.

Frenchman Gerald Avranche rides for compatriot Lemartinel and said: “He has only had one start this season, over an inadequate 1600m and this 2200m really suits him. He should go close.”

The UAE Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel has two in the race, with UAE Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, choosing to ride Skoop, second to Raaziq in the prep.

The Saifaldin Deeb-trained Sahib Du Clos, runner-up in the National Day Cup, is a triple Group 1 winner. Wayne Smith rides and said: “He has been back to his best this season and should run another big race.”

Qatar-based Julian Smart, who won this race in both 2001 and 2002, when he was training at Abu Dhabi, adds real intrigue to the field. He saddles two runners, Djainka Des Forges and Aziz Al Shahania.

Richard Mullen rides the former, one of two mares in the race, suggesting she is the stable’s first string.

The Thoroughbred version, over 1400m, carries Listed status with 11 declared, including Kavanagh, trained by South African Mike De Kock. De Kock saddled Mr Brock to win the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship in 2009.

The trainer said: “This looks a good opportunity for Kavanagh over what is perhaps his best trip. He has been running well enough at Meydan, is working nicely and we expect him to go close.”

Derbaas, winner of the 2012 National Day Cup, as well as the 2011 Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan, is well drawn in one. Part of a quartet owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Derbaas is the mount of stable jockey, Royston Ffrench. The owner’s retained jockeys, Paul Hanagan and Dane O’Neill have elected to ride Nawwaar and Dafeef respectively.

Also trained by Al Raihe is Nawwaar, who won the course and distance prep race three weeks ago, having also won the National Day Cup in December. Only King Jock and Diffident have won both races in the same season.

Dafeef, trained by Doug Watson, has been competing in the Dubai World Cup Carnival, his three efforts this season highlighted by an excellent third on the opening night of the Meydan extravaganza.