ERA Abu Dhabi Preview
Abu Dhabi stages a card for everyone on Thursday evening as the four-year-old Purebred Arabians will look to cement their mark in the UAE Arabian Derby, while a number of blue-blooded thoroughbred juveniles face off in the finale hoping to seal their credentials for the Classic year ahead of them.
Jewel Crown alumnus Joe Star heads the 13-strong field for the UAE Arabian Derby that now carries Listed status for the first time. The Helal Alalawi-trainee is in much calmer waters here and his fifth in the Jewel Crown prep on his seasonal bow remains the standout form by far. He will be partnered by the in-form Cristian Demuro.
At a mark of 108, Bahwan will start as the second-highest rated horse in the race. That lofty mark was awarded to him following a successful introduction to racing in the UAE mid-November this season when he had seven of these behind him. 2200m is familiar territory for him judged on his Polish form and he looked in dire need of a step back up in trip following a one-paced ninth in the Group 3 National Day Cup.
Having combined to open their respective accounts for the season on National Day weekend at Al Ain, jockey Richard Mullen and trainer Saifaldeen Deeb renew their partnership with exciting French transfer Bilal De Monlau. Unsuccessful in four career starts so far, a win here will mark a significant leap in his career.
One that is on a comeback trail is RB Stryngs Attached. After a sub-par effort on the dirt at Al Ain on his seasonal appearance, the Fawzi Nass-trainee returns to the scene of his maiden win.
Run over 1400m, the sole thoroughbred contest will bring curtains down on Abu Dhabi’s fourth meeting of the season. While this will provide juveniles with a first opportunity to strut their stuff on the turf this season, Condition Book makers will also be pleased with the turnout for this contest which had two substitute races ready as backup.
The most eye-catching entrant is the blue-blooded Point Given marking a first runner in the UAE, in the process, for Derby-winning and prolific owner Mr Saeed Suhail since Poet’s Word ran in the 2018 Dubai Sheema Classic. Not to be confused with 2001 American Horse of the Year who goes by the same name, the son of Blue Point will also represent a first runner in the Emirates for his exceptional sire. His half-brothers include multiple Group-race winners Toormore and Estidhkaar, so the expectations bar has always been high with him. Perhaps, Zabeel has always been his calling.
Another well-bred colt making the field is Ramaah. By Arc winner Waldgiest, the Ismail Mohammed-trainee will look to shed his maiden tag at the third attempt following a couple of unplaced efforts back in the UK.
The rest all have a bit to prove based on their trial runs or initial form, but it should not be a surprise to see them build on that. Ra’s Al Hadd was always going to struggle on the dirt given his all-turf pedigree and the switch to turf for him looks a welcome move.
A couple of maidens and handicaps ranging from a mile to 2200m complete the six-race cardwith the opening contest, a mile maiden for the three-year-olds, looking a wide-open contest I which newcomers Al Dinari, King De Flauzins and Kokin De Faust make most appeal.
The second race on the card is a similar mile maiden and could go to Alwasl who stayed on best in a 1400m maiden earlier in the season and should relish the extra furlong here.