Keeneland sponsor Thursday’s Nad Al Sheba fixture which sees the return of turf racing at the UAE’s flagship racecourse.

There are two grass handicaps on an exciting card which also includes the featured Keeneland Trophy, a 1200m conditions race and The Woodford Trophy, a quality 2000m conditions event for Purebred Arabians.

The evening looks sure to whet the appetite for next Thursday’s opening meeting of the $31million 2009 Dubai International Racing Carnival.

The Keeneland Trophy has attracted a field of 13 and is a truly international affair with runners from South Africa (Frosty Secret) and Saudi Arabia (Big City Man) joined by those trained locally.

These include Felix, winner of his only start in his native Peru.

However, Terrific Challenge could be hard to beat having made a winning return over course and distance on his first start for trainer Satish Seemar.

Jockey Ted Durcan maintains his partnership with the horse and said: “We know conditions suit and he should run another big race. This is a stiffer task than last time though.”

Terrific Challenge, winner of the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal in 2007 on his UAE debut when trained by Doug Watson, looks sure to figure highly among Pick Six entries with almost AED175,000 available to be won on the night between all the forecast competitions.

The breakdown for the Pick 6 and Tricast competitions are as follows:

Pick 6/6: AED90,780
Pick 5/6: AED10,000
Pick 4/6: AED6,000
Pick 3/6: AED4,000
Early Tricast: AED15,000
Middle Tricast: AED10,000
Late Tricast: AED38,000

The first turf race at Nad Al Sheba this season is The Lexington Trophy, a 2000m handicap and Watson saddles three of the 11 who have been declared.

Stable jockey Fernando Jara rides Clasp but the trainer hopes for a big effort from all three runners.

He explained: “Mutasallil will appreciate reverting to turf, while Royal Prince ran really well at Abu Dhabi last time. Clasp deserves a bit of luck after some good runs and we have to be hopeful of winning the race.”

Leitmotiv and Military Power could be the main dangers.

Racing concludes with The Jessamine Handicap, a 1600m turf race and Stalking Shadow looks sure to go close for trainer Mubarak bin Shafya.

However, the Mike de Kock prepared Tayyab looks a big danger and the trainer explained: “He is a nice horse and one we have been wanting to run on turf. Hopefully he will go well.”

The opening 2000m conditions race, The Woodford Trophy, for Purebred Arabians, has attracted a field of nine, including last year’s first and second, Nirwan and Markoom.

However, Richard Hills, who rode Nirwan last year, opts to ride Nesnaas this year.

Thursday’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.

For further information or tickets for any DRC events or hospitality, please visit; or contact the Hospitality Department at Dubai Racing Club on +971 4 327 0077 or .