Ducab Guns for Victory in 1600m Turf Contest

Ahmed Bin Harmash Saddles Full Brother to The Fugue on Gulf News Card

Domestic action returns to Meydan Racecourse on Saturday and, as always, it looks particularly competitive and a real conundrum for Pick Six players.

The penultimate contest, a 1600m turf handicap, looks the feature and the maximum field of 14 will face the starter, including the regally-bred Ducab. Trained by Ahmed bin Harmash and mount of stable jockey, Adrie De Vries, the five-year-old is a full-brother to multiple Group 1 winner, The Fugue and himself showed plenty of ability last year.

Well beaten on his local debut, he then won easily on the all-weather, was third on turf over 1800m and then won again back on the synthetic surface. That was in early March and he has been off since then but he looked an exciting prospect when last seen.

“He is fit, well and in good form,” said De Vries. “He will certainly come on for the outing and it looks a very tough race but he should run well.”

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum owns no less than six of the runers and his first jockey, Paul Hanagan, has chosen to ride Mundahesh, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe. He was an excellent second on his most recent outing, over 1400m at Meydan, two weeks ago and looks sure to go well.

Stable companion, Derbaas also owned by Sheikh Hamdan, is the selection of second jockey, Dane O’Neill. Approaching veteran status, the now nine-year-old may not be the same force he was when winning the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over this course and distance but is starting to look very well handicapped.

The Doug Watson team continue in amazing form and he saddles three, again all for Sheikh Hamdan. Stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, rides Marching Time who should relish the return to turf after some good efforts on the dirt. His only poor run this season was his most recent, two weeks ago.

UK Champion Jockey, Richard Hughes, is an eye-catching jockey booking for stable companion with Sam Hitchcott, who is based with Watson, aboard his third runner, Washaar.

“They are all in good form and should run well,” said Watson.

South African Mike De Kock adds some intrigue to the race by saddling both Lehaaf and Journeyman. Both have produced good efforts in defeat this season and should certainly not be ruled out in a race in which a case could be made for all 14.

The same applies in the 1200m turf handicap, again with a full field of 14 going to post. Having enjoyed his first UAE winner a fortnight ago, Bahrain’s Ali Jan will be hoping for similar success with Roi De Vitesse, the mount of De Vries.

He heads the weights in a field which also includes four Sheikh Hamdan contenders with Hanagan choosing the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Masharef and O’Neill aboard stable companion Ajraam.

Hughes takes the ride on Seachantach, a smart sprinter in the past for Satish Seemar and now having his first start for Rashed Bouresly. He won over course and distance on this weekend two years ago and his new trainer is certainly capable of getting one fit first time out so his absence since March is not a major concern.

Seemar actually saddles three in the race with Richard Mullen and Zalzilah seemingly the first choice.

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