UAE 2022 racing kicks off at Meydan on Saturday

Racing at Meydan on Saturday, the first race meeting of 2022 in the UAE, is highlighted by the 1200m Listed Garhoud Sprint which has attracted a field of eight, half of whom are already course and distance winners, including Al Tariq.

The mount of Pat Dobbs, trained by Doug Watson, Al Tariq made a winning seasonal return over 1200m at Jebel Ali in late November, his only run during the current campaign.

Last season he won both the 1000m Listed Jebel Ali Sprint and the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint over Saturday’s 1200m Meydan course and distance.

Watson said: “He is in great form at home and this is the next step in his season which, we hope, will conclude on Dubai World Cup night.
“He should run well because, as I said, he is in really good form in the mornings.”

Bhupat Seemar has enjoyed a fine run since taking over the licence at Zabeel Stables and saddles three, stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea aboard Switzerland. He has won over course and distance, as have both his stable companions, Lavaspin and Gladiator King, the mounts of Richard Mullen and Mickael Barzalona respectively.

Seemar said: “Switzerland won the Dubawi Stakes last season and has been training well so we expect a big run and, hopefully, a good season with him. It is his first run of the season but we know he can run well fresh.
“Gladiator King is also pleasing us in his work and making his return for the season. He too can run well fresh so, we hope, will be very competitive.
“Lavaspin needs to bounce back after a lesser performance on his return but he should, hopefully, give a good account of himself.”

For Ahmad bin Harmash, King Leo has won both his local starts, over 1200m at Jebel Ali on each occasion, but is taking a big step up in class. Pat Cosgrave rides.

Bin Harmash said: “This is a much harder test than those he has faced at Jebel Ali but he is in great form at home and we need to try him in this grade. We think he merits it and is a nice horse so he should run well in what is a good race.”

Antonio Cintra Pereira relies on Upper Class who ran just twice at the 2021 Dubai World Cup Carnival, well beaten on both occasions.

The trainer said: “We were pleased with his first run last season but he did not run well the second time but it turned out he had a fever so we can forgive that.
“He is a good horse so, we hope, can have a good season this time around.”

The seven races also include the first turf opportunities at Meydan this season as well as the return to local action of Godolphin with both Saeed bin Suroor and Charlie Appleby due to be represented on an interesting card.