Thoroughbreds again highlight racing in the capital

Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club stages a six-race card on Monday with the finale and only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2400m handicap, arguably the best race on the card.

With the Bhupat Seemar team at Zabeel Stables in flying form, his Al Watan has to be of great interest under Tadhg O’Shea. A 4yo Dubawi gelding, he arrives here a maiden after seven starts, three locally and will be having his first turf outing after three dirt appearances in the UAE.

He did run twice on turf in Britain for Godolphin and Saeed bin Suroor, finishing second on his debut over 1400m at Newbury in June 2020 but failing to beat any of eight rivals at Doncaster, over the same distance, on his penultimate start for previous connections, in September 2020.

Third on his local debut, over 2000m on the dirt at Meydan, he was then a creditable fourth over the same trip at Al Ain before disappointing, again over 2000m, back on the Meydan dirt.

Those three UAE outings were all in maiden company and he will be making his handicap debut here.

Seemar said: “He has been working well and this looked the ideal opportunity to test him on turf. He has UK form on grass so it should suit him and the horses have really been running well so hopefully he will at least be competitive in a wide open contest.”

Kanood was unfortunate to be hampered and unseat Adrie de Vries shortly after the start at Meydan last week so seeks compensation here. Owned and trained by Fawzi Nass, the 6yo Distorted Humor gelding is a dual winner on dirt at Meydan and is another who will be having just his third turf outing.

Well beaten on his first grass outing, he then failed by just a nose to overhaul Imperial Empire in a 1600m Meydan handicap so the switch back to turf should not be an issue.

Nass said: “We thought he had a big chance at Meydan last week but was very unlucky. This looked a good opportunity to get him back in action quickly and he remains in good order at home. He should run well.”

Anizzah will be making his turf debut for Ahmad bin Harmash but arrives in good form having won his penultimate start, a 2000m Al Ain maiden and finishing a respectable fifth in a better race at Meydan (the same one as Kanood) last week.

As a son of Oasis Draem, the 7yo gelding should not be fazed by switching to turf and appears a genuine contender under Ray Dawson.

Helal Alalawi relies on Autumn Pride, a 6yo Teofilo entire and the mount of Abdul Aziz Al Balushi. He has an Abu Dhabi victory to his name having won a 2200m course maiden in March 2020.

Other previous course winners, Sugar Boy and Adventurous, merit respect as proven on the Abu Dhabi turf while Shadwell’s Akwaan looks worthy of consideration back on turf.

Trained by Erwan Charpy, the 6yo Camacho gelding registered both career victories on turf in Britain for Simon Crisford, most recently over 1600m at York in July 2019. This will be just his third outing on grass in the UAE and he is making his Abu Dhabi debut.