Purebred Arabians take centre stage as Meydan honours frontline workers at government entities

Racing at Meydan on Thursday, the second meeting of the new season at the UAE’s flagship racecourse, is officially highlighted by the 1400m Group 2 Bani Yas, the only Purebred Arabian contest and the curtain raiser for the seven race card, all on the dirt track.

Nine have been declared in what looks an open contest, including AF Al Sajanjle, trained by Ernst Oertel for Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and the mount of the owner’s retained jockey, Tadhg O’Shea.

A winner thrice, the 8yo entire has not tasted success since scoring in the 1600m Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah at Meydan in February 2019 but has run many good races in defeat since.
This 1400m trip would appear very much his minimum stamina requirement though.

O’Shea said: “We are drawn widest of all in nine which is not ideal but at least it is a relatively small field and we know he likes it at Meydan.
“Obviously the 1400m is shorter than his optimum trip but he is in good form at home and this provides a good opportunity to start his season off.
“My one win in the race to date was aboard RB Torch who is actually drawn on my inside and is a lovely old horse who rarely runs a bad race.”

O’Shea refers to RB Torch, trained for that 2017 victory by Eric Lemartinel for HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan butnow in the ownership of Liwa Stables and in the care of Abdelkhjr Adam.

The mount of Antonio Fresu, the 10yo has not won since October 2019 but, like AF Al Sajanjile, has produced plenty of solid efforts since that most recent success.

Jawaal, the mount of Bernardo Pinheiro to be saddled by Majed Al Jahoori for Al Wathba Racing and Elise Jeanne’s MH Rahal, to be partnered by Richard Mullen are other UAE-based runners to consider.

On his first run for Fawzi Nass, classy US performer RB Rich Lyke Me may need his local debut but strikes as a horse to keep a close eye on with regards to the future.

However, the main danger to the local contingent may come from Oman in the shape of RB Kinsman. The 5yo will be having his fourth UAE outing, the best of the previous three when finishing fourth, in February, in the 1600m Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah, his only previous Meydan appearance.
A repeat of that would certainly see him involved at the death in this.

Of the six Thoroughbred races, the highlight is a 1400m rated conditions stakes for 3yos in which the weights are headed by Mnasek, the 2021 Group 3 UAE Oaks heroine here at Meydan in February.

The daughter of Empire Maker made a winning debut, as a juvenile, over this 1400m course and distance, last December but is penalised for her Classic success and has to concede weight to all her five rivals.

The mount of Pat Dobbs for Al Rashid Stables, she is trained by Doug Watson, as is Faithful Soldier, a 1400m winner at Jebel Ali last season, to be ridden by Sam Hitchcott.

Watson said: “Both ours have done well over the summer and are in good form.
"Mnasek is in great form but has a big weight taking on the colts so it makes life more difficult but hopefully she can overcome it."
“Faithful Soldier has thrived since last season and we are hopeful of a big run from both of them.”

This meeting will be dedicated to honouring frontline workers at government entities who served the country during the
Covid-19 pandemic.

Each of the seven races has been named after government authorities, namely: Dubai Police; General Directorate of Civil Defense, Dubai Health Authority; Roads and Transport Authority; Dubai Municipality; Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services & Government of Dubai Media Office.

Sheikh Rashid bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Racing Club and Dubai Equestrian Club, said the racing fraternity is keen to recognise the efforts of all organisations and individuals who were Dubai’s first line of defence in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This initiative by Dubai Racing Club seeks to recognise and celebrate the efforts of these organisations and their pivotal role in combating the pandemic,” Sheikh Rashid said.
“Dubai’s frontline warriors demonstrated their professionalism and went beyond the call of duty to protect the health and wellbeing of the community.”