Hameem Puts Unbeaten Record On Line In Abu Dhabi Feature

Racing at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday is highlighted by the Listed Arabian Triple Crown R1, a 1600m feature restricted to 4-year-olds, which has attracted a field of ten after the late defection of Fahd Al Wathba.

Unbeaten after four starts, a 1600m debut win on dirt at Al Ain in late October, Hameem has since added three victories on the Abu Dhabi turf. His penultimate outing, over 1400m, was a success in the Abu Dhabi Colts Classic, a Prestige contest as is the 1600m Abu Dhabi Equestrian Gold Cup. That race, a fortnight ago, was against his elders, but he is back in his own age group here. Adrie de Vries has been aboard for the colt’s three Abu Dhabi turf victories and maintains the partnership for Abdallah Al Hammadi’s potential stable star.

De Vries said: “He is a very smart Purebred Arabian and only a 4-year-old. He has improved with each race, getting more professional all the time.

“This is the obvious next stepping stone for him as he embarks on what could hopefully be a very good career.”

Also trained by Al Hammadi, Ottoman was very easy winner of an Al Ain 1600m maiden on his second start, has since finished second in all three subsequent outings. Like Hameem owned by Al Ajban Stables, he chased home his stable companion in a 1600m conditions race before finding only Mujeeb too good, over the same course and distance, in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship.

Trained by Eric Lemartinel for his main patron, HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Mujeeb has suffered just one defeat in three career outings, finishing a well beaten fifth in the aforementioned 1600m conditions race won by Hameem from Ottoman.

From a pair of runners to be saddled by Ernst Oertel for Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the owner’s retained jockey, Tadhg O’Shea, opts to partner AF Alajaj, winner of his only race to date. That was a 1400m Abu Dhabi maiden three weeks ago.

That leaves Antonio Fresu the spare ride on the same owner’s AF Thayer, also in the care of Oertel. Having made a winning debut, over 1200m on the dirt at Sharjah, under O’Shea, the pair were then well beaten by Hakeem in the Abu Dhabi Colts Classic.

Another unbeaten colt, Mutaqadim, needed every yard of the 1400m when winning his debut at Al Ain. The extra 200m here look sure to suit on his turf debut. Szczepan Mazur rides the homebred colt for the Oman Royal Cavalry and trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami.

The only Thoroughbred race, the concluding 2400m handicap, is set to be contested by a capacity field of 16 and, as is always the case in such races, looks wide open.

The weights are headed by Muqaatil, to be ridden by Pat Cosgrave for Ahmad bin Harmash. A 7-year-old Lonhro gelding, Cosgrave’s mount posted three consecutive victories, over two season, between March 2018 and the following February. That, his most recent success, was over 2200m at Abu Dhabi, but he had won over 2400m on the Meydan turf track, a month earlier.

Bin Harmash’s stable jockey, Fernando Jara, has opted to partner the trainer’s Son Of Normandy, the pair victorious in a course and distance handicap three weeks ago. The 5-year-old Galileo gelding was actually shedding his maiden tag, after 13 previous attempts, in the process.

Completing a strong hand for the yard is Rua Augusta, the mount of Fabrice Veron and who rarely runs a bad race on turf.

Runner-up to Son Of Normandy three weeks ago, Erwan Charpy’s Blue Sovereign has been running consistently, as has Irish Freedom, fourth on both his two most recent appearances.

To be ridden by Richard Mullen for Satish Seemar, Irish Freedom made a winning seasonal debut in November, over 1400m, in an Abu Dhabi handicap, but was staying on strongly, again in the capital, over 2200m, on his penultimate start.

That contest was won by Harbour Spirit, again in opposition for Jaber Ramadhan, Harry Bentley replacing Adrie de Vries who is in the saddle for Fawzi Nass aboard Hard Taskmaster. Both horses are owned by Ahmad Al-Qattan, the latter in partnership with Maher Lutfallah.