Boerhan looking defend crown in Abu Dhabi Thoroughbred feature

For the second consecutive Sunday, the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club stage a six race card, this week’s offering highlighted by the finale and sole Thoroughbred race on the card, a 1600m rated conditions stakes won last year by Boerhan who is back to defend his crown.

Trained at Jebel Ali Stables by Nicholas Bachalard for his main patron, Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Boerhan was making his local debut after a 453 day absence and then followed up, over the same 1600m course and distance, in the Listed National Day Cup.

A 4yo gelded son of Sea The Stars, he ran thrice more last season, all earlier this year, and will be having his first start since early March.

The owner’s new retained jockey, Richard Mullen, rides him with Adrie de Vries aboard stable companion Shamikh who will be making his turf debut on his sixth career appearance.
A 4yo, he actually made his racecourse debut on this weekend last year, winning a 1400m Jebel Ali maiden and twice added to his tally, over the same 1400m and also over 1600m.

Bachalard said: “Obviously Boerhan won this first time out last year so we know he goes well fresh and these are probably his optimum conditions. He is in good form.
“We had the option of running Shamikh at Jebel Ali on Friday but decided we try him on turf and this was a good spot to do that. If he handles it we have more options going forward.”

Winner of the 2020 Group 2 Jebel Ali Mile but yet to taste victory again since, Chiefdom has won once on turf from three attempts, a 1600m Meydan handicap just three weeks before his big race win.

A 6yo gelded son of The Factor, he is in the capable hands of Salem bin Ghadayer and will be partnered by Royston Ffrench in what appears his easiest winning opportunity since that Jebel Alu Mile success in January 2020.

Bin Ghadaye, who also saddles Mailshot and Mordin, the mounts of Xavier Ziani and Jose Santiago respectively, said: “Chiefdom is a horse we have always liked and has been very consistent. This looks a nice race to start his season off.
“The same applies to the other pair and it is nice to get them all back out and going. Mailshot has won over the course and distance. He is a turf horse, as is Mordin, and all three are going nicely in the mornings.”

Shadwell’s Zainhom, to be partnered by Bernardo Pinheiro for Musabbeh Al Mheiri, boasts the highest official rating among the runners, a lofty 108, but appears to have been overlooked by stable jockey Antonio Fresu in favour of For The Top who will be having his first start for the Al Mheiri team.

Owned by RRR Racing and always held in the highest esteem, he was with Bob Baffert in the States before joining Bin Ghadayer in time for the 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival, locking horns with no less than Benbatl on his first two UAE outings.
Third on the inaugural Saudi Cup card in February 2020, he failed to fire in three outings earlier this year and the owners will be hoping the change of scenery can revive his fortunes.

The Sattish Seemar pair of Rodaini and Irish Freedom are another two to consider in a fascinating contest in which none of the capacity field of 14 can be safely ruled out.