Racing at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday is highlighted by a fascinating 1200m turf handicap, the Al Naboodah Electrical, in which the main protagonists will be hoping to advertise their 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival claims.
Satish Seemar saddles four of the 15 runners with stable jockey Richard Mullen electing to partner Riflescope, who was an excellent second over this course and distance last February. Fourth over 1400m at Meydan two weeks ago, they are his only two turf outings since joining Seemar and he has always looked a sprinter of great potential.
Stable companion Sharp Defence heads the weights with dependable apprentice Adam McLean taking a valuable 3kgs off his back. He was just behind Riflescope last time and should run well for the ever-enthusiastic Jimmy Long, in whose Thistle Bloodstock colours the horse runs. Speedy Move, the mount of Pat Cosgrave, and Ejbaar, eighth behind Riflescope and Sharp Defence last time and the mount of Sam Hitchcott, complete the Seemar quartet.
“All four are in good form and working well so, we hope, have decent chances in a wide open race,” said Bhupat Seemar, assistant trainer. Hopefully conditions will suit them all and each of them has good form on turf. It is hard to pick one over the others because we hope they all are going to be thereabouts.”
Riflescope Finishes a Game Second in 2017 District One, picture DRC and Andrew Watkins
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum owns no less than seven of the runners, with his first-retained jockey Jim Crowley opting to ride Mukhmal for Erwan Charpy. He has only two UAE outings on his resume, including an excellent third, ahead of Riflescope and Sharp Defence, on turf in the latter. The 1400m on that occasion possibly taxed his stamina, so he could be facing his optimum conditions on the straight Meydan sprint track.
From the owner’s other six runners, Dane O’Neill, his second jockey, has opted for Doug Watson-trained Ejaaby. He is the lone runner in the race for the champion handler.
Watson said: “We have been very pleased with his work recently and he goes there in great form. It is a very tough race and only his second start for us, so we are still learning about him, but we think he will be thereabouts in a very tough race.”
Of the remainder, Ajwad, second in front of Mukhmal and Riflescope last time, makes plenty of appeal, as trainer Rashed Bouresly is seemingly hitting top form. He saddled his first winner of the campaign, Treasured Times at Abu Dhabi, last Sunday. Such concluded a weekend in which most of his horses ran well. Jimmy Quinn rides Ajwad, while Bernardo Pinheiro rides yardmate Kahrab, who won his lone turf outing since joining Bouresly in a 1400m maiden on this card last year.
Another trying to win at this fixture for a second consecutive year is Baroot, trained by South African Mike de Kock and contesting the same 1600m turf handicap he won 12 months ago. Again the mount of Pat Cosgrave, he faces 15 rivals on what will be his first start for 51 weeks.
De Kock said: “He is working nicely and should run well, but is definitely going to improve from what is his first run of the season.”
The one to beat could be Mailshot, one of two in the race for Salem bin Ghadayer and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohd Al Maktoum. The choice of Mickael Barzalona, he did not seem to handle the dirt on his only UAE outing two weeks ago. Back on turf and with the yard in flying form, he looks sure to run a big race. Bin Ghadayer saddles three in the race.