Racing returns to Abu Dhabi on Sunday for the prestigious National Day Cup meeting featuring the first major races of the new UAE season.

The Purebred Arabian National Day Cup is a Group 1 contest, with the Thoroughbred counterpart afforded Listed status. Both are over 1600m and kindly sponsored by Sorouh Real Estate.

Both races have attracted the 2007 winners, with the remarkable Mizzna, beaten only once in the UAE, defending her crown in the Purebred Arabian race and Emirates Gold looking to make all in the Thoroughbred race.

A daughter of the legendary Alanudd, who won this race four times, she subsequently won the Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup night and will be hard to beat having won the prep race four weeks ago.

Tadhg O’Shea retains his partnership with the Eric Lemartinel-trained six-year-old who sports the distinctive white yellow and green silks of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

O’Shea said: “She is all quality and certainly the best (Purebred) Arabian I have sat on. She won this last year and we know conditions suit her. From a good draw I have to be very hopeful.”

Rod Simpson’s Fryvolous chased her home a month ago and re-opposes having won at Nad Al Sheba last week.

However, stable companion Abu Alemarat, winner of his last five races including last season’s UAE Triple Crown, could be a bigger danger.

Simpson explained: “Fryvolous would have needed that run but she (Mizzna) is still going to be hard to beat under these conditions. However, we cannot be scared of one horse and the young horse (Abu Alemarat) is improving – but this is a massive step up in class.”

Doug Watson’s Nirwan should also figure.

O’Shea will also partner Emirates Gold in the Thoroughbred race which looks wide open with 2006 winner King Jock and last season’s HH The President’s Cup winner Ans Bach both in the line-up.

Emirates Gold also won the prep race four weeks ago and O’Shea is hoping for a big night: “He too is well drawn and again proven over course and distance. It looks a wide open race thought but we should go close.”

King Jock also won HH The President’s Cup in 2006 and has his first start for Tony Manuel, while Ans Bach, trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam, was an unlucky fifth in this race last season.

Musabah Al Muhairi’s Mogaamer, Satish Seemar’s Fenice and Erwan Charpy’s Ragheed, a stable companion of Emirates Gold, are just three others to fear in a wide open renewal.