First Classs Set For Second Time Win in Dubai Kahayla Classic

He takes on a strong field including Jugurtha De Monlau, RB Rich Lyke Me, Deryan, Kerless Del Roc, and AF Alajaj

First Classs scored by a head in the 2022 Dubai Kahayla Classic (Dubai Racing Club/Liesl King)

23 March 2023 – Dubai Meydan ~ First Classs aims to cement his position as one of the best Purebred Arabians in the world when he defends his crown in the 25 March, G1 Dubai Kahayla Classic, sponsored by Emaar.

The son of Dahess and winner of seven of his 22 starts, his success in 2022 includes this race last year under Ronan Thomas when he won over Kerless Del Roc, after his win in the Saudi Cup $1Million Al Mneefah Cup. He then picked off the valuable G1 Jewel Crown in Abu Dhabi in December. Bred by Cre Run in the U.S., he showed promise but was set for longer distances and greater races. He has been trained for the last two years in Doha by Alban de Mieulle, but now the mantle has passed to his nephew, Jean de Mieulle, and he is now trained in France. The six-year-old will be guided in this year’s Dubai race by Maxime Guyon.

“We picked out stall seven which is good for us as I was afraid of an outside draw,” said the French trainer. “Two of our good rivals are drawn nine [Jugurtha De Monleau] and 14 [RB Rych Like Me]. Our horse is in super shape. He really needs a strong pace so he can use his turn of foot and this looks likes being the case.

“They could go crazy up front because there are some good horses on the outside and I think they could push on a bit. He is seven years old and still strong mentally so let’s hope he can run well and go close, he concluded.”

Just a head separated First Classs and Kerless Del Roc 12 months ago, while Deryan, now trained in Abu Dhabi by Majed Al Jahoori won this race in 2021.

12 months ago it all went wrong for RB Rich Lyke Me when the Fawzi Nass-trained grey collided with the rail at an early stage of the G1 Dubai Kahayla Classic, throwing away all chance.

This time, he will bid for redemption from an outside draw in 14, compared with one last year. That makes life tricky for jockey Adrie De Vries, although, as the jockey himself quipped: “at least I don’t have to worry about banging the rail from there!”

Among the other local hopes is Group 2 winner AF Alajaj, who represents owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, jockey Tadhg O’Shea and trainer Ernst Oertel, who combined to win this race in 2019 with AF Maher.

“He’s got to stretch out a bit further than normal,” said the 10-time UAE Champion Jockey. “He won quite well over seven furlongs the Group 2 at Abu Dhabi and he’s drawn gate three which is a positive. He’s a strong traveler in his races and they’ll go fast as we know, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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