Thursday, November 05, 2009

Racing back into action this weekend at Jebel Ali and Sharjah

Jebel Ali Racecourse hosts the return of racing for a new United Arab Emirates season with a six race card tomorrow afternoon. Sharjah follows on Saturday with a seven race programme, while Abu Dhabi will complete the weekend hosting six events on Sunday evening.

With racing in recess since the end of March, Horsemen will be keen to get back into action with Champion Trainer Doug Watson possibly the man to follow at Jebel Ali.

He saddles Hammadi who heads the weights in the featured third race, 1000m conditions sprint kindly sponsored by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Shadwell organisation. The four-year-old, to be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea, has to give weight all round courtesy of his victory in last season's Jebel Ali Sprint over the same course and distance. He will carry the colours of prominent owner Malih Al Basti.

The Emirates Racing Association Board Member will also link with Watson and O’Shea with Alsadeek in the opening 1200m handicap and Bur Dubai in the following 1200m maiden. Both also hold leading chances in their respective events.

Watson said: "It is nice to get them back on the track and we have a few decent chances certainly. The horses are ready for a race though and may well improve for these initial outings."

Bur Dubai’s main dangers may come from the Rashed Boursley prepared duo, juvenile Brave Mambo and year older stable companion Charles Dickens Bouresly also introduces UAE debutant Lightning Flash in the featured sprint and he could prove dangerous on his belated return to action.

Satish Seemar's Escape Route and Ali Rashid Al Raihe's Sea Hunter, both owned by Her Royal Highness Princess Haya, are others to consider in the feature.

Dahteer, trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam, should make a bold bid to defy top-weight in the fourth race, a 1400m handicap, under William Buick.

Effort, on his first start for Abdulla Bin Huzaim, could be the leading threat, while Selvaratnam and Buick should again go close with For Once in the following 1600m handicap. Like Dahteer, he sports the famous yellow silks of His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Bin Huzaim may again supply the main danger in Planetary Motion.

Racing concludes with a 1950m handicap in which Watson saddles three though they may have to give way to Ali Rashid Al Raihe's Rochdale while Selvaratnam's Dig Gold will also be a tough nut to crack.

Saturday's Sharjah meeting includes two Thoroughbred contests along with five ultra competitive Purebred Arabian races.

Rashed Bouresly saddles two of the ten declared in the 1700m maiden and his Summer Games appears the most likely winner. If she fails to fire, Musabah Al Muhairi's Alwaabel can go close under Tadhg O'Shea who has a strong book of rides throughout the weekend. Ali Rashid Al Raihe's Lunar Landscape and Satish Seemar's Skycruiser are also worth a second glance.

Seemar has a strong hand in the 1700m Thoroughbred handicap with both Achill Bay and Kiwi Moon holding claims. Richard Mullen has elected to ride the latter, a winner in Scotland for Bryan Smart who could prove well handicapped after a year off – if handling the dirt surface. Achill Bay actually beat Red Rocks in 2005 – before that rival went on to Group 1 glory (he will run again at the Breeders' Cup on Saturday night). He was off for a long time subsequently and struggled last season. Watson's Gulf of Gold, another good ride for O'Shea, should be a serious threat. Rod Simpson's Shahin Shah cannot be discounted in a tricky race to predict.

The best of the Purebred Arabian action is the 2000m handicap and Simpson can get on the score sheet with Karina, with Watson's Razin feared. Eric Lemartinel supplies three of the seven runners with Rakeel appearing the pick of the trio.

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