Final Abu Dhabi racemeeting looks competitive with two featured group contests


Abu Dhabi's final meeting of the season and the penultimate one of the UAE campaign is a not to be missed six race card featuring the Group Three Abu Dhabi Championship for Thoroughbreds and the Purebred Arabian Group One Emirates Championship.


Both are over 2200m and the Thoroughbred contest, elevated from Listed status for the first time this year and worth a very generous AED370,000, certainly appears worthy of its new billing.


A full field of 14 has been declared, including last year's winner Monte Alto, trained by Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe and to be ridden by Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea with Richard Hills suspended.


The horse won the prep, over course and distance and has been in good form at the Dubai International Racing Carnival and O'Shea said: "We know conditions suit him and he does seem to be at his best at Abu Dhabi. This is a tougher race but he is fit and well and we have to be hopeful."


Heading the opposition is 2009 winner Mr Brock, trained by South African Mike De Kock and another who has been running well at the Carnival. He will be ridden by regular pilot Kevin Shea who said: "He has run into form throughout the Carnival and his last two runs have been his best."


Stable companion Hunting Tower, to be ridden by Frankie Dettori, is another with a 2011 Carnival win to his name.


Trois Rois has been running consistently for Ismail Mohammed, while Doug Watson trains Dr Faustus who has bounced back to form in recent weeks and cannot be discounted under Pat Dobbs.


Dhruba Selvaratnam has a good record in the race and relies on Meeriss, third in this last year, under Kieren Fallon.


Sixteen will go to post in the Group One Emirates Championship and trainer Gill Duffield has many chances among her six runners. O'Shea's mount Nesnaas arguably looks her best hope and deserves a change of luck having been second in the race in each of the last two seasons.


O'Shea said: "He is a grand horse and always runs well at Abu Dhabi. It is a tough race but he should be thereabouts."


Stable companions Periander, under Adrie De Vries and Kieren Fallon's mount Rabah De Carrere look big dangers.


Dettori will ride Time Out for Philippe Barbe who said: "He has run well in this race before and should be competitive."


Vite Royale looks best of the rest for Musabah Al Muhairi and Wayne Smith, unless Saifaldin Deeb has managed to coax Jarnin back to his best.


Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe went back to the top of the current trainer's standing at Jebel Ali on Friday. He leads courtesy of having trained more seconds than Musabah Al Muhairi. Both have 30 winners.


Wayne Smith drew a blank on Friday but leads the jockeys race 26-24 over reigning champion Tadhg O'Shea.