Abu Dhabi: Racing in the capital rises by a few notches tonight as two Listed and two Prestige races form an interesting meeting of six events at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
In what is now a predominantly Purebred Arabian-centric racecourse, tonight’s feature will, however, be the HH The President’s Cup for thoroughbreds, with a total prize fund of Dh185,000 up for grabs.
The Dhruba Selvaratnam-trained Jaasoos catches the eye most in the 11-horse field, with the 8-year-old chestnut gelding sure to garner a lot of support from the Pick Six followers here.
Jaasoos has been one of the most consistent performers among thoroughbreds here on the Abu Dhabi turf and has an enviable record in the two Listed races — the National Day Cup and the HH President’s Cup.
In 2009, the Selvaratnam-trained star won the National Day Cup and then finished third in the President’s Cup. He repeated that feat again in 2010 while last year Jaasoos finished second in the National Day Cup but later went on to win the President’s Cup.
“There is no doubt that he goes particularly well at Abu Dhabi,” said Selvaratnam. “He ran well enough on his comeback over 1000 metres at Jebel Ali and it was a good effort when second again in the National Day Cup last time. The winner of that, Derbaas, is a good horse trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and it is his filly, First City, I really fear most this time.”
Popular with the Abu Dhabi racing fans, Jaasoos, under James Doyle, is expected to run a big race after his second-place run a fortnight ago to Derbaas.
A consistent rival to Jaasoos has been Escape Route, winner of the 7-furlong contest in 2010, and the two veterans will face a stiff challenge from a host of younger runners such as the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained 4-year-old Garbah.
Garbah comes back after her smart win on her seasonal debut at Meydan last month, though Al Raihe’s First City is also fancied to impress on her seasonal debut. The 6-year-old mare under Royston Ffrench starts for the first time since her 6th-place finish to African Story in the Group Two Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night.
Apart from the thoroughbred feature, the Abu Dhabi Championship, Colts Classic and Fillies Classic are three Purebred Arabian races that make it a highly competitive meeting.
In the Abu Dhabi Championship, Wycked, a 3-year-old Burning Sand filly, makes her UAE debut for Randy Nunley. Three wins in four starts in the US has left Wycked starting with a high rating of 100 but despite her sire’s success the US star will have to contend with the likes of Najm Alemarat and Al Arous, the Eric Lemartinel-trained filly who is unbeaten in two starts and is also sired by Burning Sand.
Race One: 1. Shayel Aldhabi; 2. Latifa Princess
Race Two: 1. Ameer Al Reef; 2. Monawer;
Race three: 1. Najm Alemarat; 2. Wycked
Race four: 1. Jaasoos; 2. First City
Race five: 1. AF Sataah; 2. AF Shbas
Race six: 1. Raheq; 2. Mor’eb