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Saturday, March 17, 2012


Classy night to end Abu Dhabi season


Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club stage their final meeting of the season and arguably looks to be their best to date. The high-quality seven-race card will feature the Purebred Arabian Group 1 Abu Dhabi Championship and the Group 3 Emirates Championship for Thoroughbreds, both contested over 2200m and generously sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

The winners of last year’s edition of both races are back to defend their crown, with Periander, trained by Gill Duffield, set to face 10 rivals in the Emirates Championship in a photo from the Eric Lemartinel-trained Raked who will bid to go one better this year.


Darren Williams, who is enjoying a prolific season in Qatar, takes the ride on Periander and said: "Conditions obviously suit the horse and he showed in Turkey September that he is a very useful performer. He is reportedly going well and we are hoping for a big run."

Duffield, who also saddles last year's fourth Rabah De Carrere, is seeking a fourth win in the race (in addition to 2011 Duffield also won in 2008 and 2003), as is fellow Meydan-based trainer Erwan Charpy (2006, 2007 and 2009) who saddles Versac PY who will be the penultimate Abu Dhabi mount for about to retire Richard Hills.

One of the most improved Purebred Arabians in training this season, he faces a stiff task according to the official ratings but should go well under his optimum conditions with Hills seeking his fifth win in the race.

The jockey said: "Obviously this is a much better race than the handicaps and conditions events he has been running in but he is improving and stays very well. He should give a good account of himself and I would love to ride a winner on my last visit to Abu Dhabi."

Raked is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, as are the Majed Al Jahouri-trained trio of Musharab, Jarnin and Rami to give the owner a strong hand.

The Thoroughbreds then get their chance but history is against Topclas as no horse has defended their crown in the Emirates Championship since it was first run in 1993.

Pat Cosgrave is again in the saddle for Mubarak bin Shafya and said: "The conditions are ideal we know that and he ran well in the prep on his penultimate start. He should have a good chance in a strong renewal."

Both Al Shemali and Anaerobio are Group 1 winners and look sure to play a part for last season’s champion trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, who has booked Silvestre De Sousa for his 2010 Dubai Duty Free winner Al Shemali.

South African handler Mike De Kock saddles Anaerobio and Kevin Shea takes the ride. Shea was also in the saddle on Mr Brock when winning this race for the same trainer in 2009.

Anaerobio, a four-year-old colt, is a Classic winner in his native Argentina and his best Dubai World Cup Carnival form this year has undoubtedly been on turf.

De Kock said: "He needed his first two runs badly and has run well on turf twice since. This is the only race left for him really and hopefully he can be competitive."

Treble Jig, already winner of the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes and Mile, itself a unique double, would complete an unprecedented treble could he win this race. Frankie Dettori is an eye-catching jockey booking with stable jockey Wayne Smith on Too Much Trouble.


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