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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Leisurely night at the races


Thursday’s seventh meeting of the season at Nad Al Sheba, kindly sponsored by Al Nasr Leisureland, is a six race affair with two AED110,000 handicaps dominating the card.

The penultimate event, the Al Nasr Leisureland Mile, a 1600m handicap, may have only attracted seven declarations but looks a real quality contest with the weights headed by the Erwan Charpy-trained Golden Arrow.


Runner-up in last season’s Jebel Ali Mile, he was third in the 2007 opening round of the Maktoum Challenge over tonight’s course and distance.

Jockey Tadhg O’Shea is hopeful: “The horses are running well on the whole and, though he will come on for the outing, he is ready for a race and this looks an ideal comeback.”

Richard Hills rides UAE debutant Tasdeer who was a useful performer in the UK for Michael Jarvis and new trainer Doug Watson likes his new recruit: “He has been pleasing us in his work and we elected to wait for this race instead of going to Abu Dhabi last week. He should run well and this will put him spot on for the Carnival.”

With stable companion Roman’s Run more than capable and Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s Aamaaq seeking a hat-trick under Royston Ffrench, it looks a tricky contest to predict.

The presence of Street Talk, off bottom-weight, adds to the conundrum; a four-year-old full-brother to 2002 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, he won a course and distance maiden (for Charpy) on only his second career start and is making a first start for new trainer Abdulla bin Huzaim.

The preceding 2400m Al Nasr Leisureland Handicap is equally valuable and it is hard to rule out any of the 10 runners with recent form somewhat at a premium.

The Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Pearly King did win over course and distance (from Al Raihe’s Marriaj who re-opposes) last month and will appreciate the return to this marathon trip.

Watson’s Arqaam has to be respected, while Charpy’s Mutajammel is another more than capable on his second start back from a long lay-off.

Watson saddles three of the five runners in the Al Nasr Leisureland 2K 2000m handicap with Fernando Jara electing to ride Jackson, on whom he won at Jebel Ali last time.

The opening 1400m Al Nasr Leisureland Trophy for purebred arabian handicap can go the way of Nadir Du Bac, while Satish Seemar’s Blues Ballad should win in the following 1600m novice stakes.

Racing concludes with a 1400m handicap and any Pick Six players chasing the healthy jackpot of AED125,375 are faced with the most difficult race of the night; fourteen have been declared and cases can be made for most.

Celtic King, Sama Dubai and For Once are just three to keep an eye on.

Tomorrow’s card is set to begin at 7pm and there are a number of hospitality options available to suit all tastes and budgets in both the Millennium Grandstand and the Maktoum Grandstand.

Entrance to the public area of the racecourse is free of charge and there are also complimentary transfers to and from Nad Al Sheba from Dubai Marina (by Spinneys), Arabian Ranches (Shopping complex), Wafi (in front of Pyramids) and Emirates Towers (Boulevard entrance by Cartier).

Buses will leave at 6.00pm from these locations, and return departures will be at 10pm from the racecourse.


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