13 November 2015

National Day Cup Prep Headlines Abu Dhabi Sunday Meet

The National Day Cup Prep for Thoroughbreds and the Purebred Arabian Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Prep, both over 1600m, share the limelight at Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Fourteen have been declared for the Thoroughbred contest for which the weights are headed by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Forjatt, trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam and the mount of Chris Hayes.

First past the post in the last two renewals of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, though subsequently disqualified last season, he has to concede weight to his 13 rivals.

He also won the 1400m prep race for HH The President’s Cup last year but has only won once on his first start of the season, on his racecourse debut as a juvenile in 2010.

In fact, he has finished second on his seasonal bow in each of the last three campaigns.

“He is fit and well,” said Selvaratnam. “His penalty will make it difficult to win though and he will certainly benefit from the run.”

Ahmed bin Harmash and new stable jockey, Freddie Tylicki, combined to win the Thoroughbred race at Abu Dhabi last week with Blue Tiger’s Eye and are represented by Busker this time.

He has yet to win on turf, though only five of his 34 career starts have been on the grass, most recently at the Dubai World Cup Carnival of 2014.

This will be only his second visit to Abu Dhabi having been well beaten, over this 1600m trip, on his second UAE outing in February 2011.

“He has a run under his belt,” said Tylicki. “He ran okay at Meydan last week and hopefully they will go pretty quick early on to give him something to aim at.

“It looks a decent little race but we are hoping for a good run.”

Musabah Al Muhairi has two in the race, with stable jockey, Fernando Jara, choosing to ride Mustahdaf, owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, elects to ride Mundahesh for his main employer. Trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe, O’Neill’s mount has one turf victory to his name, over 1400m at Meydan.

Champion Jockey, Richard Mullen, rides Royal Revival, suggesting he is the main hope from four runners trained by Satish Seemar.

O’Neill and Al Muhairi team up in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Prep with Sheikh Hamdan’s Sivit Al Maury, a Group One winner in Turkey as recently as September.

He was among the reserves for last week’s Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown, the world’s most valuable Purebred Arabian contest and formerly known as The National Day Cup.

Also denied a run in that contest were the Nacer Samiri-trained pair of Sha’Red and Areem and they look the main dangers to O’Neill’s mount.

Wayne Smith partners Areem, a multiple Group One winner, including the National Day Cup in 2012 and 2013. He was also second in last year’s renewal of the same race.

“On his day, he is a very good horse,” said Smith. “I am really looking forward to riding him.”

Sha’Red, to be ridden by Jara, won his final two starts last season, including the Group 1 Liwa Oasis, chased home over 1400m by Areem.

He also beat his stable companion in the Group 3 Al Ruwais, a 1000m dash in which he had dead-heated in 2014.