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Al Asayl Triple-Handed in G3 Arabian Triple Crown Race

Middle Round Highlights Abu Dhabi`s Sunday Card

The Group 3 2200m middle round of the Arabian Triple Crown is the highlight of Abu Dhabi’s Sunday meeting with 11 declared, including three trained by Salem Al Ketbi.

Of the trio, stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea has chosen to ride Shaheer, winner of one of his four previous starts to date, a 1600m maiden on his most recent start and local debut.

He was second in Group 1 company on his final outing in France over 2000m and looks likely to be able to cope with he step up in trip here.

His two stable companions are both making their local debuts with Adrie De Vries taking the ride on Arwaah, a Group 2 winner in her native France and penalised accordingly, with Shane Karlsson aboard the yard’s third runner, Namrood.

A winner on his debut, he was second in Group 2 company on his most recent outing and the trio give Al Ketbi a very strong hand.

“It is never easy to pick in these situations,” said O’Shea. “They are three nice young horses and all capable of running well but Shaheer has the benefit of a local outing whereas the other two have been off since October.”

Musabah Al Muhairi introduces Love To Dance, a Grade 1 winner in her native USA but, like Arwaah, penalised for that victory and making her local debut.

The Majed Al Jahouri-trained Da’Areen looks best of the rest.
However O’Shea and Shaheer perform in the feature, they look to hold the answer to the 1600m Emirates Colts’ Classic with Abhaar, winner of all three career starts to date. The most recent of those was in the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup over the same course and distance.

“He has done nothing wrong to date,” said O’Shea. “He has a penalty for his last win but we have to be very hopeful he will be hard to beat."

The only Thoroughbred race is the Abu Dhabi Championship Prep, over the same 2200m as the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship on March 15.

Nine have been declared, including Full Combat, an interesting contender for South African Mike De Kock and one of three in the race owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

De Kock’s charge is the choice of the owner’s first jockey, Paul Hanagan, with second jockey, Dane O’Neill choosing to ride Derbaas who will be having his 50th career start and 41st since joining Ali Rashid Al Raihe for whom he has been a wonderful servant in recent years.

Al Raihe also saddles the owner’s third runner, Yaseer, the mount of stable apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrouei who will appreciate the return to turf having been tailed off on the Meydan dirt last time.

He was actually second in the Abu Dhabi Championship itself in 2012 (when trained by Erwan Charpy) but has struggled so far this season.

Al Raihe also saddles Ukrainian, third in this race last year under Royston Ffrench who is again in the saddle.

Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen have won the race in each of the last two seasons and combine this time with Antinori who could be the one to beat.