Abu Dhabi: Royaaty, who was impressive when running finishing second at Meydan two weeks ago, looks to have strong claims in the lone thoroughbred race on the card at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday.
The six-year-old son of Singspiel, who was behind Rochdale on that occasion, will bid to improve on that effort by taking the spoils for trainer Mubarak Bin Shafya in an open-looking 2,200m contest that has attracted 14 runners.
Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s championship-winning Grandstand Stables is represented by Tmaam, who was a performer when previously trained by Mark Johnston in the UK. The son of Dynaformer won his maiden at Bath last September and finished in the money in all but one of his seven starts.
Another interesting newcomer is the Thistle Bloodstock-owned Calgacus, who turns out for Nad Al Sheba-based French handler Erwan Charpy. A son of top sire Galileo, Calgacus was last seen finishing fourth to Jim Bolger’s Light Heavy in the the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown in May.
Tadhg O’Shea, recently appointed a retained rider by Thistle Bloodstock, said of his ride on Sunday: “He is a nice young horse who worked well the other day and we are going to find out a lot about him against some proven older handicappers.”
The two-time UAE champion jockey could well have been speaking of Dhruba Selvaratnam’s veteran campaigner Kal Barg, who makes a rare appearance at Abu Dhabi having previously done most of his racing at Meydan, where he even won twice during the Carnival.
Selvaratnam commented: “He had one turf run at the 2011 Carnival off a mark of 104 and is now down to 95, giving him this opportunity.
“He will have come on for that Meydan run the other day and can hopefully go well but we have an awful draw in 14.”
Another proven perfomer is Doug Watson’s Dr Faustus, while it will pay to keep an eye on Satish Seemar’s Bay Willow as well.
Ernst Oertel’s Time Out looks the one to beat in the Al Rowdah Handicap, while Eric Lemartinel’s AF Qamoos stands out among the 16 runners in the Wathba Stud Farm Cup for private owners.