Al Maktoum Challenge R1 Features Defending Champions in Both Purebred Arabian & Thoroughbred Ranks
6 January 2015, Dubai, UAE ~ The opening meeting of the 2016 Dubai World Cup Carnival worth US$920,000 gets underway at Meydan Racecourse on 7 January and is highlighted by the Purebred Arabian and Thoroughbred versions of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1, both contested over 1600m. Both renewals on the Longines-presented card feature the 2015 winners, back to defend their crowns in the new term.
Thoroughbred Race and Surfer
In the past the Group 2 Thoroughbred version of the race has produced high-profile winners, including the 2010 Dubai World Cup winner, Gloria de Campeao and 2005 Godolphin Mile winner, Star Emporium. This renewal looks wide open with 13 declared, including the first four home in 2015, when Surfer landed the prize. Trained by Satish Seemar, Surfer had always threatened a big race victory and he produced it in style 12 months ago. While he had the advantage of a previous (winning) run last term, he will be making his seasonal debut this time.
“He is in great form,” said assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar. “He goes very well fresh so the lack of a race should not be a problem. We decided to come straight here this season as he has seemed tired by Dubai World Cup night in each of the last three seasons. Hopefully starting his season a bit later will help him get to the big night in top form. We also run Gold City who pleased us on his comeback and thrives under Thursday’s conditions.”
Regular jockey Richard Mullen will ride Surfer with apprentice Hector Crouch, who is unable to utilise his claim in this Group race, aboard last year’s fourth-place, Gold City.
Purebred Arabian Group 1
The Purebred Arabian equivalent carries Group 1 status with Bigg N Rich attempting to win the race for the second consecutive year.
Trained then by Eric Lemartinel, he is now in the care of Al Raihe and will be ridden by O’Shea. He needs to bounce back from a disappointing return to action though.
Lemartinel, in his new role as master of Al Asayl Stables, saddles RB Smokin Rich and Abhaar, with the latter, under Wayne Smith, seemingly holding stronger claims. Both are owned by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum has purchased AF Mathmoon, unbeaten in three career starts for Musabah Al Muhairi. This is by far his toughest test to date but he has to be feared under Paul Hanagan.
Nacer Samiri and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan are represented by no less than four of the dozen declared. Thakif, under Pat Dobbs and Sha’Red, under Mullen, look the best of the quartet.
Full Card:[gview file=”http://www.horsereporter.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Race_Card_Meydan-Racecourse_Thursday_07_January_2016.pdf” save=”1″]