Dubai: Having comfortably won the prep for Thursday’s Mazrat Al Ruwayah (G2), the first Pattern race of the season, the Majid Al Jahouri-trained Dariya is bidding to repeat the feat in today’s renewal of the Dh 150,000 contest for Purebred Arabians.
Emirati jockey Ahmad Ajtebi maintains his partnership with the eight-year-old son of Dormane, who was a three-and-three-quarter length winner over course and distance two weeks ago.
However Ajtebi accepts that Dariya will face a stronger challenge on Thursday — not least from AF Alghabra and Kandar Du Falgas, last year’s winner and runner-up of the conest.
“I think he won with a lot in hand last time out and Majid says that the horse has come of the race well,” Ajtebi said on Wednesday. “He’s shown no signs of the injuries that affected his career and he’s getting closer to being one hundred per cent fit.
“He’s got a lot of ability, which he is beginning to show and with a little luck we can win the Mazrat Al Ruwayah. But it’s not going to be as easy as it was last time as there are a lot of top Arabians in the race.”
Trained by Gill Duffield, AF Alghabra was third in the prep a fortnight ago and Tadhg O’Shea who was on board said: “That was her first run of the season and she was entitled to need it. She is seven now and improved from her first run to win this last year and hopefully she can go close this year but it looks a strong renewal.”
Doug Watson’s veteran campaigner Kandar Du Falgas could only finish fifth in that prep but Paul Hanagan keeps faith with the ten-year-old
The trainer, who also saddles Quite A Show, the mount of Dane O’Neill, said: “Both [my horses] are working well enough but it looks a good race and that penalty makes it tricky for Quite A Show so Paul looks our best hope.
“He was perhaps a bit disappointing in the prep but he was giving weight away and we have freshened him up. This has been the target and he owes us nothing having been great for the yard over the years.”
Saif Al Deen Deeb’s multiple Group 1 winner Sahib Du Clos is also worth keeping an eye on.
Elsewhere, Surfer, Satish Seemar’s exciting son of Distorted Humour, bids to win his second race on the bounce when he faces ten in the Ford Explorer Conditions Stakes over 1,400m.
Leading jockey Richard Mullen takes the ride and said: “He seems to have improved with that maiden win under his belt and this looks an ideal opportunity to get one more race into him before the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Entifaadha, having his first start for trainer Mosabah Al Muhairi, and the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Noor Zabeel look to be the main dangers.
Al Raihe’s former Dubai Duty Free (G1) winner Al Shemali makes his reappearance in the Ford Mustang Handicap over 2200m where stable companion Rochdale and Al Muhairi’s Tanfeeth hold strong claims.
The Ernst Oertel-trained Ganas is seeking a third course and distance win for the season in the Ford Edge Handicap over 1,200m.
Jockey Tadhg O’Shea commented: “This is by far his toughest test yet — off a career high mark against better horses — but he deserves his place in this company and we will find out how good he is.”
Racing starts at 6.30pm and entrance is free.