21 December 2014

Abu Dhabi Stages Classic Card on Sunday

Promising Ahmadani Tries Turf in Abu Dhabi Championship

The three-year-olds take centre stage at Abu Dhabi this Sunday evening with the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship, the Abu Dhabi Colts’ Classic and Abu Dhabi Fillies’ Classic highlighting the six-race card.

Eight have been declared for the 1600m Abu Dhabi Championship, including three who are making their racecourse debut. There are actually only two previous winners among the field with the Helal Al Alawi-trained Ahmadani actually finishing first past the post on both career starts in 1200m Sharjah maidens.

He was subsequently disqualified the first time but has at least shown he has plenty of ability and, assuming he handles the turf and extra 400m, he could be the one to beat under Royston Ffrench.

The jockey has enjoyed a good weekend, winning the Group 2 Muzrat Al Ruwayah at Meydan on Thursday and riding a double at Al Ain on Friday.

“It has been a good couple of days and season as a whole,” said Ffrench. “The Al Alawi horses have been in good form and hopefully he will go close.”

The only other winner among the field is Boss Des Vialettes, the mount of Harry Bentley for Saifaldin Deeb whose Najem S’Heel won the featured sprint at Al Ain on Friday.

He won a 1400m maiden on the Abu Dhabi turf on his second and most recent start. That was his local debut after one run in his native France.

Eric Lemartinel saddles both Barasti, a maiden after two starts, and Newboy Du Paon who is making his debut. Jockey bookings suggest the latter, the mount of Gerald Avranche, is the trainer’s main hope.

The meeting opens with the Abu Dhabi Fillies’ Classic, also over 1600m and with 14 set to face the starter. Again, only two previous winners are in the field and both are penalised as a result.

MH Kanz, trained by Elise Jeanne, won her only previous start, in a 1400m course maiden and will again be ridden by Jose Santiago.

Richard Mullen rides Munafisat Al Reef, a 1200m Sharjah maiden winner for Jaber Bittar but subsequently well beaten over 1400m at Abu Dhabi.

Of the remainder, the lightly-raced Huyam deserves a change of luck for Al Alawi. The mount of Royston Ffench, she has been second on all three starts – to Ahmadani, MH Kanz and Munafisat Al Reef.

There are five previous victors in the colts’ equivalent, including course and distance winner, Sataar Al Reef, trained by Jaber Bittar and the mount of Richard Mullen.

He was beaten by Al Shabab on his penultimate start but had that rival in third when winning last time.

Trained by Al Alawi, Al Shabab has the assistance of Ffrench and should get closer to Mullen’s mount this time.

The only Thoroughbred race, the concluding 1400m handicap, looks typically competitive with 13 declared. Silvestre De Sousa rides Colour Guard for his main employer, Musabah Al Muhairi and he should appreciate the return to turf after two runs on the Meydan dirt.

The same comment applies to the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Ghaamer, having his third outing this season. One of three owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he is the choice of retained jockey, Dane O’Neill.

Signs In The Sand, Canwinn and Idler are just three others to consider.