Saturday, February 12, 2011
Barbe eyes UAE Arabian Derby
Sunday's Abu Dhabi card is highlighted by UAE Arabian Derby, a 2200m Prestige race restricted to four-year-olds which has attracted a field of 13.
Burkan Al Asayl arrives here having won both his first two starts for trainer Philippe Barbe who won last week's HH The President's Cup with Seraphin Du Paon.
This is by far his toughest assignment to date though and His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum looks to have a particularly strong hand.
His retained jockey Richard Hills elects to ride Tenor Des Vialettes who won the Listed first round of the Arabian Triple Crown on his most recent start under Tadhg O'Shea.
On that occasion Hills rode Aqmaar who was second and will be ridden by O'Shea this time. Both are trained by Musabah Al Muhairi.
Gill Duffield is always respected in these races and saddles three. Tejaara was well beaten on his debut but neither Dorpenthes nor King Sakbe have raced to date.
Julio Peromingo also saddles an interesting newcomer in the shape of Thalem De Chaillac under Wayne Smith.
The main support race is the Emirates Fillies' Classic, a 1600m Prestige contest. Of the 14 declared, only three have won and Athena, who heads the weights, has two wins to his credit for trainer Ahmed Al Shamsi.
The 3kgs claim of apprentice Antioco Murgia offsets her penalty and he was onboard when she beat the re-opposing AF Alriaah. Trained by Gill Duffield, she should go close under Tadhg O'Shea.
However, the other two winners AF Al Lijam and Noor Einy look big dangers. The latter represents the Barbe/Peslier partnership and won her only start, while the former is trained by Eric Lemartinel and will be ridden by Gerald Avranche.
The only Thoroughbred race is the concluding 1600m maiden and the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Seeking Glory looks the one to beat after his good debut second at Meydan on the All-Weather.
The concern could be that his only previous start was a disappointing one at Newmarket in September.
Musabah Al Muhairi saddles two with Wayne Smith choosing Penthouse Reader, while Kingdom Beauty is the choice of Richard Mullen from three Satish Seemar runners.
The Mubarak bin Shafya-trained Busker is another to consider.
Read more articles in the Emirates Racing Authority category.