01 February 2023

Thursday’s Abu Dhabi highlight features a fascinating rematch between old rivals

A good quality six race card at Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening is officially highlighted by the 1200m Group 3 Al Ruwais, won last year by Ashton Tourettes, saddled by Ibrahim Aseeel for Ziad Galadari, a combination who will be hoping to follow up with Gold Silver.

Adrie de Vries takes the ride aboard the 7yo entire who has finished runner-up on both his Abu Dhabi outings this season, each over 1200m, with two lesser efforts on dirt also this campaign. His most recent success was here in the capital, on his final start last season, over 1600m.

They face six rivals and Aseel’s charge is looking to reverse form with AF Majalis who beat him by a nose in a handicap over this course and distance three weeks ago. To be ridden by Tadhg O’Shea for Ernst Oertel and Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, AF Majalis meets his old rival on much less favourable terms this time but has also won three other course and distance handicaps which Gold Silver contested.

A case could be made for all seven declared runners with Bshara representing the Al Asayl team which have been in good form, including this homebred 5yo mare who has been placed in all three starts this season. The most recent of those was when beaten just a head, in third, behind AF Majalis and Gold Silver in the aforementioned handicap three weeks ago.

The mount of Richard Mullen for Salem Al Ketbi, she is afforded a mares’ allowance whereas, as only a 4yo, Maahir, receives weight from all six rivals.

Trained by Majed Al Jahoori for Yas Racing, the homebred colt will be making just his fourth career start and is seeking to double his winning tally, having won a 1200m Sharjah maiden on his penultimate start. He was then a close fourth in the handicap won by AF Majalis from Gold Silver and Bshara.

Over 1600m, the Listed Arabian Triple Crown R1, for 4yos, has attracted a field of seven with Nadia Du Loup looking the most likely winner for Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi.

The filly is penalised for winning her only local start, a conditions race over this course and distance at the beginning of December, but she came home 11 lengths clear and looked an exciting recruit.

The other among the septet carrying a penalty is top weight Unleashed, a colt who has won half his four starts for Jaber Bittar and Al Reef Stables. He was, however, 17 lengths behind Nadia Du Loup in that December contest, although he has won since, landing the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship over this 1600m, five weeks ago.

The unknown quantity is Bassam Al Wathba, winner of his only start for Al Jahoori, a 1400m Abu Dhabi maiden three weeks ago. Homebred by Al Wathba Racing he won comfortably from RB Stryngs Attached who will be expected by most to win the second race on Friday’s card, a 1600m maiden, so the form of Al Jahoori’s charge could look a lot stronger by the time he goes to post an hour later.