16 March 2018, UAE ~ The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club stages their final fixture of the campaign with a rare Saturday card in the capital on 17 March 2018. On offer is arguably the best card there all season with the AED 1million Group 1 Emirates Championship the official highlight.
The card also features the biggest Thoroughbred race of the Abu Dhabi campaign, the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, as well as the Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R3 and the UAE Arabian Derby.
The Emirates Championship is over the same course and distance at 2200m as HH The President Cup, won five weeks ago by Al Zahir over Ziyadd for HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and jockey Jim Crowley. The 5-year-old’s won this distance 12 months ago in the 2400m Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown R3. Al Zahir’s Abu Dhabi win this season came on a return to turf after two outings on the Meydan dirt.
Al Rayhi said: “He is a very good, young horse who is progressing. Conditions obviously suit him and he should run well again.”
The two most recent winners of the race are back with the Al Asayl team seeking a third consecutive victory in the race. Sporting the famous red with white polka dots silks of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Mahbooba landed the spoils last year and will seek to defend her crown, while the same connections’ Abhaar will bid to regain the title having won it in 2016.
However, Tadhg O’Shea, who rode Mahbooba in last year’s Emirates Championship win has opted to partner stable companion, Abu Alabyad. Sixth behind Al Zahir in HH The President Cup, he was previously second to Sniper De Monlau in the 2200m course and distance prep for that race.
Trained by Helal Al Alawi, Sniper De Monlau was then only seventh in HH The President Cup itself under jockey Pat Cosgrave, again in the saddle. Another to have won at the season finale in the capital, having landed the 2016 Arabian Triple Crown R3, he has been a real star for connections, “He was a bit unlucky last time as he had no room early on and then struggled to get involved,” Al Alawi said. “He is a very good horse and has really helped us get noticed as a yard because he has run well in so many top races.”
Jean de Roualle is a master trainer in this sphere and saddles both Loraa, the choice of Richard Mullen and local debutant Thabit to be ridden by Adrie de Vries. Mullen’s mount was the heroine of the 2017 HH The President Cup but only ninth this year.
Sheikh Hamdan is also responsible for the defending champion in the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, the biggest Thoroughbred race of the season in the capital in which Zamaam, trained by Erwan Charpy, will bid to become the first dual winner of a race first contested in 1993.
Full Race Card:[pdf-embedder url=”http://www.horsereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/FINALRace_Card_Abu-Dhabi-Equestrian-Club_Saturday_17_March_2018.pdf” title=”FINALRace_Card_Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club_Saturday_17_March_2018″]