In-Form Mullen Bids for Abu Dhabi Victory

The penultimate meeting of the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club season on Sunday is highlighted by a 1400m handicap, the only Thoroughbred race on the card and in which the bang in-form Richard Mullen combines with his main employer, Satish Seemar, with Ejbaar.

The pair celebrated a treble at Meydan Racecourse on Thursday with Seemar then providing one of the jockey’s winners at Al Ain Racecourse on Friday when Mullen again rode a hat-trick.

Having made a winning local debut, over 1000m on the Jebel Ali dirt track, Ejbaar was arguably disappointing, over the same track on reappearance when stepped up to 1200m just a fortnight later.

That was in the middle of January and he has not been seen since but he won over 1600m on turf in England when trained by Ed Dunlop for his breeder, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, so conditions here should not be an issue.

“It has been a wonderful couple of days and a great season all round,” said Mullen who has ridden 51 winners so far this season. “We have been keen to try Ejbaar on turf; this looks an ideal opportunity and we are nicely drawn.”

Seemar also saddles one of the main dangers in Taaj, victorious on both his two most recent outings, both over 1600m here at Abu Dhabi, including just last Sunday when partnered by Mullen.

The mount of Tadhg O’Shea, he looks certain to be running on late and has the inside draw in one.

“It is certainly a nice spare ride and one who should run well,” said O’Shea. “He seems to really like Abu Dhabi so will, hopefully, at least be competitive.”

Ejbaar is now owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, as are both Doug Watson’s challengers, Indescribable and Denzille Lane.

The choice of Pat Dobbs, Indescribable was a close third behind Taaj last Sunday, suggesting this 200m shorter trip might suit him.

A 1000m Jebel Ali winner in November, he was then third, in early January, behind Ejbaar over the same course and distance.

Sam Hitchcott partners Denzille Lane who will be having just his third local start and first on turf since arriving from England.

Three times a winner for Mark Johnston, each time on grass and twice over 1400m, he should appreciate the switch of surface.

“Both mine are in very good form,” said Watson. “Indescribable ran very well last week but, as he was then, has a wide draw to overcome again.
“Denzille Lane has a better gate and hopefully the switch to turf will suit him but it does look very competitive.”

Just behind Indescribable last week, in fourth, was the Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Linngaro who should run another sold race under Royston Ffrench.
However, like Indescribable, he is drawn wide as he was last Sunday.

With O’Shea riding Taaj, apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei partners Najm Suhail for his master at Grandstand Stables, Ali Rashid Al Rayhi.

A course and distance winner three starts ago, under O’Shea, Najm Suhail was then second, over 1200m, at Jebel Ali before disappointing there, over this 1400m trip, on his one subsequent start.

The return to the Abu Dhabi turf should suit him and his jockey’s claim could prove invaluable.