Prep race a rated conditions contest over the same 1600m as the AED 5 Million race in November
24 October 2019, Abu Dhabi ~ Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club will stage the second meeting of the 2019-20 UAE racing season on Friday, 25 October 2019, with a six-race card. Highlighting the meet is the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown Prep, the race itself takes place in just over a month. Introduced to provide local horses a chance to race before the big day and compete against race-fit rivals from mainly Europe and America, officials have been rewarded with a strong first edition. Six of the sixteen horses declared are rated 110 or more.
Based just outside the capital at Al Asayl, Eric Lemartinel is set to saddle four runners. Jockey bookings suggest Fabrice Veron and RB Lam Tara, owned by Sheikha Alyaziz bint Sultan Al Nahyan, lead Team Al Asayl’s challenge. A 4-year-old filly, she was far too good over this 1600m in February’s Arabian Triple Crown R1 (PA Listed) before seemingly finding the 2200m of the middle round and 2400m of the final leg of the Triple Crown series too far. The return to 1600m looks certain to suit and she looks an exciting prospect for the new season.
Darius du Paon has an official mark of 121, which is the highest in the field.
She is rated 100, whereas stable companion Darius du Paon has an official mark of 121, which is the highest in the field. The mount of Jose Santiago, the 6-year-old is one of three in the race representing Lemartinel and His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Winner of the 2017 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (G3 PA and now the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup) over this 1600m course and distance, he has won a quarter of his 16 career starts. For the same connections, Jesus Rosales partners Mawahib with Tadhg O’Shea aboard RB Torch, a winner eight times, ridden by the champion jockey on five of those occasions.
O’Shea said: “Al Asayl look to have a strong hand and I am happy to be back on RB Torch who I have enjoyed plenty of success on. He has a bit to find at the weights on ratings, but should run well in a very hot conditions race that is a good addition to the programme book.”
Darius du Paon’s most recent success, again over this 1600m track and trip, was in last November’s Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan National Day Cup Prep, defeating Goshawke who went on to win the 1600m Al Maktoum Challenge R1 (G1 PA) on the dirt at Meydan. The 5-year-old, trained by Abdallah Al Hammadi for Al Ajban Stables, was then fourth, over 2200m on turf in the capital, just behind Darius du Paon, in HH The President Cup (PA G1). He followed that by finishing third and fourth in the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 (PA G1) and the Kahayla Classic (PA G1), both over 2000m on dirt.
Chaddad, in the care of Salem bin Ghadayer and owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, was a closing second (for previous connections), in the 2018 Kahayla Classic (PA G1). Yet to win over 1600m, the 9-year-old does have one turf victory to his name, over 2000m in the 2013 Arabian Trophy des Poulains at Saint-Cloud (PA G1).
The meeting concludes with the one Thoroughbred contest, a very competitive looking 1600m handicap in which O’Shea partners Sharamm, who is one of four sharing top-weight, for Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Nicholas Bachalard. Not seen since February after just two starts during his first UAE campaign, he has been gelded over the summer.
“He is a nice horse who has been working well, but will certainly progress for the run having been off a fair while,” O’Shea said.
For Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who owns six of the runners in the maximum field of 16, Doug Watson saddles Bawaasil on whom Pat Dobbs will be sporting the owner’s first colours with the blue and white cap. The homebred 4-year-old Oasis Dream gelding had three runs at the end of last season for Watson and could be an interesting prospect, having spent a summer in the UAE. Watson also has Native Appeal, the mount of Sam Hitchcott, among the 16 declarations. However, neither has been helped by the draw with Native Appeal in 12 and Bawaasil widest of all in 16.