Fascinating Thursday card on the Abu Dhabi turf

The second 2023 Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club fixture on their esteemed turf track is officially highlighted by a pair of Classics for 4yos, both carrying Prestige status over 1400m, ably supported with proven quality performers in the 2200m prep for HH The President Cup, as well as the only Thoroughbred contest, a competitive 1600m handicap.

First up of the aforementioned contests, as race 3, is the prep for HH The President Cup, over the same 2200m as the Group One feature itself. Heading the weights under a penalty is Somoud, long time the apple of trainer Jean de Roualle’s eye and winner of HH The President Cup in each of the last two years.
Now a 9yo, these are his optimum conditions and he does seem to produce his very best in the second half of the season so he should at least be competitive

He is homebred by Yas Racing, as is Hayyan, an excellent third in the Jewel Crown in early December for Frederic Sanchez but well beaten on his first start for his new trainer, Majed Al Jahoori. He would appear well capable of bouncing back to form and his new handler’s horses are generally running well.

With Salem Al Ketbi’s Al Asayl team seemingly hitting full stride, Mujeeb, with youth on his side as a 6yo, would appear to hold bright prospects among the younger brigade.

The Abu Dhabi Fillies’ Classic follows and Muram, officially rated 84 after three starts last year, winning the middle one, a 1200m Sharjah maiden, at the end of November, looks to hold major claims.
Trained by Jaber Bittar for Al Reef Stables, she was then far from disgraced when fourth, on her turf debut, in the 1600m Listed Abu Dhabi Championship, won by the same connections’ Unleashed. Tadhg O’Shea, who rode the winner on that occasion, takes the ride.

In opposition, turf debutante Asmaa Al Wathba, is unbeaten having won her only start, a 1200m Sharjah maiden, in some style. Homebred, Al Wathba Racing’s filly could be anything and is in the capable hands of Al Jahoori.

The fillies’ Classic is followed by the colts’ equivalent in which, from those with official ratings, Fadwaan appears to hold a leading chance for Ahmed Al Mehairbi and Al Rahmani Racing but he needs to convert the form he showed landing his sole previous start, a 1600m maiden on the Al Ain dirt, to the capital’s turf track.

For Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Irfan Ellahi saddles JAP Ytwaad, an impressive debut winner over 1200m before seemingly finding 1600m too far in a better race, both outings here in Abu Dhabi. This 1400m may prove ideal.

The 1600m Thoroughbred handicap which concludes the card may not have attracted a capacity field but still appears wide open.

Doug Watson enjoyed a Meydan treble on Sunday, including a turf double so his pair, Bawaasil and Silver Jubilee merit close attention along with Ahmad bin Harmash’s Al Maysan.

Nibras Passion, a 1400m course winner almost two years ago for Ismail Mohammed, who celebrated a Jebel Ali brace last Saturday, was also third over this same 1400m just over a year ago and the extra 200m should suit although he was disappointing, over course and distance, on his sole start this season in early November.