Classy Meydan Meet Will Provide Key Dubai World Cup Carnival Pointers

Photo: Dubai Racing Club//Andrew Watkins

Three New Listed Races & a Group 2 Arabian Contest Add Excitement to Al Tayer Motors Card

Dubai World Cup Carnival clues abound at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday with the inaugural running of three new Listed Thoroughbred races and the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah for Purebred Arabians.

The fixture begins with the Mazrat Al Ruwayah, the only Purebred Arabian race on the card.

Areem, a four-time UAE Group 1 winner for owner HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and trainer Majed Al Jahouri appears the star attraction but was only second when attempting to defend his National Day Cup Crown on his seasonal reappearance at the beginning of the month.

This 1600m trip has always appeared his optimum and he looks the one to beat on his dirt debut, even though he has to concede weight to his six rivals.

“He ran well in the National Day Cup,” said Al Jahouri. “He will have improved from that run and this looks a great opportunity to try him on the dirt.”

Bigg N Rich, trained by Eric Lemartinel and ridden jockey, Wayne Smith combined to win the course and distance prep race two weeks ago and could prove the main danger.

All three lucrative Thoroughbred Listed races, upgraded this season from conditions events, offer a AED205,000 purse, with AED123,000 to the winner and Dubai Racing Club’s International Manager, Martin Talty expects to see potential Dubai World Cup Carnival contenders in action.

“The three upgraded Thoroughbred races on Thursday’s card make this the most interesting meeting of the season to date. We will see some progressive horses in action that have the potential to earn a place in the Dubai World Cup Carnival,” he said. “There are a number of horses who we last saw on Dubai World Cup day; while of particular interest is The Taj in the Garhoud Sprint who is already a course and distance winner. Meanwhile, Surfer, a 2014 Dubai World Cup runner, will attempt to win back-to-back Dubai Creek Miles.

“It’s interesting that many horses that competed well in last year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, are using these Listed races as stepping stones to this year’s Carnival.”

One of eight declared runners in the 1200m Garhoud Sprint, The Taj, who is trained by the in-form Doug Watson, is owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and is the choice of the owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill.

“We were delighted with both his starts this season,” said Watson. “He was a good second first up and built on that with a smooth win last time. He has a penalty for that which makes life harder but he is in great form and should run a big race.”

Sheikh Hamdan actually owns five of the remaining eight runners, including the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Rafeej, winner of the equivalent race last year. He was chased home 12 months ago by the same owner’s Tamaathul, who is in opposition again for trainer, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

Dhruba Selvaratnam saddles Sholaan, an easy winner at Jebel Ali over 1000m three weeks ago.
“It is a tough race,” said Selvaratnam. “We are conceding weight to all the others but at least he is in good form.”

Nine have been declared for the Dubai Creek Mile in which Selvaratnam introduces Grand Salute to local action. A Grade 1 winner in Uruguay, he is penalised accordingly in the weights.

“He has been working nicely but it can take these horses a while to acclimatise,” said Selvaratnam. “Like Sholaan, he too has to give weight away and, whatever he achieves, he will improve for this outing.”

Like Sholaan, he is the mount of Oisin Muphy.

Satish Seemar provides two of the most interesting runners in the race with stable jockey, Richard Mullen, choosing to ride Surfer, who was also third in the Group 1 third round of the Al Maktoum Challenge last season.

Apprentice, Marc Monaghan partners stable companion Gold City, having his first start since a career best fourth in the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night.

The Al Raihe-trained Le Bernardin, the mount of Royston Ffrench, is already a course and distance winner this season.

Ten have been declared for The Entisar, the third Listed contest. Run over 2000m the field includes Cooptado and Storm Belt, both trained by Watson. Stable jockey, Pat Dobbs has chosen the latter, already a 1900m winner at Meydan this season with Adrie De Vries aboard Cooptado.

“It was not an easy choice for Pat,” said the Red Stables trainer. “The fact Storm Belt has already won on the course was probably the crucial factor and we hope both run well.”

Last year’s Jebel Ali Stakes winner, the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Interpret and Farrier, third in the same Listed contest for trainer, Satish Seemar, look the main dangers.