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Meydan Hosts Final Racing at Meydan Card of the Season Ahead of Dubai World Cup

South African Oertel Seems Assured of Second Trainers’ Title

Thursday evening at Meydan Racecourse represents the final domestic meeting of the season at the UAE’s flagship venue with Dubai World Cup night to follow in just over two weeks.

All six races are on the all-weather with two Dh90,000 contests offering the main highlights. The penultimate race, a 1900m handicap, has attracted 14 runners and trainer Doug Watson would appear to hold two good chances with Ostaad and Udabaa, the mounts of Paul Hanagan and Pat Dobbs respectively.

“They are both in good form at home and seem fresh and well for this time of the season,” said Watson. “Udabaa has hardly run a bad race all season and is well drawn. We are dropping him slightly in trip but that should not be a problem.

“Ostaad is not well drawn but won well last time over 1400m and has won over this trip in England. Both should run well.”

They are both owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, responsible for four runners and, with Hanagan choosing Ostaad, the owner’s second jockey, Dane O’Neill, rides Amaan, trained by Erwan Charpy.

Ahmad bin Harmash has enjoyed a good first season with a licence and course and distance winner Ducab should be competitive under stable jockey, Adrie De Vries who said: “Hopefully the return to these conditions will suit him and we have a nice draw in one. He should run well in an open looking contest.”

Bahraini Fawzi Nass, fresh from saddling Asmar to win last Saturday’s Al Bastakiya, relies on Tonabrocky who made a winning local debut in a 2000m all-weather handicap four weeks ago.

Ernst Oertel looks very likely to defend his trainer’s title and saddles course and distance winner El Mansour, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea who looks certain to be Champion Jockey again.

The preceding 1200m handicap has also attracted a competitive field of 14 with the Oertel’ Touch Gold and the Satish Seemar-trained Genius Step both seeking third consecutive victories.

A 1400m Jebel Ali winner last Friday, Touch Gold has only ever run over a trip this short once, exactly a year ago when well beaten at Sharjah. He has been in great form recently though and forged a great relationship with apprentice Daniel Muscutt who keeps the ride. O’Shea partners stable companion Brazen, yet to win locally after six starts in the UAE.

Richard Mullen rides Genius Step, twice a course and distance winner this year, with stable apprentice, Marc Monaghan, on Seemar’s second runner, Al Razi.

Watson relies on Famous Warrior, a Dubai World Cup Carnival winner in 2011 but out of luck since November 2012. Both those wins were over 1600m but he has won over 1200m in Ireland.

Watson explained: “He ran well for a long way over 1200m on turf last time and we will probably try slightly different tactics this week. We will be a bit more patient with him and hopefully he will be running on at the end.”

Qamar cannot be ruled out, while Hanagan chooses to ride local debutant Ebn Arab, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, from five Sheikh Hamdan runners.

It is another busy racing weekend in the UAE with meetings at Al Ain on Friday, Sharjah on Saturday and Abu Dhabi on Sunday.