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Saturday, December 17, 2011


Competitive field line up for HH The President Of The UAE Cup on Sunday


The Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club is again the generous main sponsor at their own meeting on Sunday, including the AED184,000 HH The President Of The UAE Cup, the second of the track's three Thoroughbred feature races this season.

It looks a cracking renewal of the 1400m highlight with 13 declared and the majority look to hold a winning chance headed by Il Grande Maurizio and seeking a fourth win this season already.


Having won at Meydan, he followed up in the 1600m Listed National Day Cup here at Abu Dhabi, before returning the following week to land the 1400m prep race for this week's feature.

He will again be ridden by Royston Ffrench and trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe said: "He has been a real star this season as we hoped he would as he is a horse we always really liked. He remains in good form at home and, with luck from a bad draw, hopefully he can go very close."

When he won the prep race a fortnight ago he was chased home by Mutheeb, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi and the mount of Richard Hills.

He looked a bit unlucky on that occasion and the trainer also has Happy Today and Fityaan in the field.

Stable jockey Wayne Smith partners Happy Today and said: "He was a bit disappointing first time at Meydan last week so hopefully the return to grass will help him. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum owns Mutheeb so he is Richard's to ride and we think he will go very close."

Jaasoos was runner-up to Il Grande Maurizio in the National Day Cup, having won the race in the previous two years for Dhruba Selvaratnam.

He will again be ridden by James Doyle and Selvaratnam said: "We at least have a better draw this time but it looks a very hot race this year. I am hopeful but certainly not confident!"

Escape Route was second in this last year for Satish Seemar and Richard Mullen who said: "We know conditions suit him and the fact it is his first start this year is not a worry as he goes well fresh. However, it has to be the strongest renewal for some time so he would need to be at the very top of his game."

Doug Watson saddles both Finjaan and Marching Time, both for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan whose second jockey Tadhg O'Shea chooses Finjaan.

Watson said: "Both are very well and have a chance. Luck in running is going to be important in such a competitive looking race."

Sweden's Tertio Bloom gives the race some international flavour in what looks the strongest renewal of the race for a long time.

However Il Grande Maurizio performs, Al Raihe and Ffrench look very likely to win the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship, the main Purebred Arabian contest on the card, with Mestor.

Twice a course and distance winner already this season, it is hard to see him being beaten.


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