Mubasher Al Khalediah, ridden by Abdullah Al Fairoz, gets home to win the inaugural running of the GCC Cup Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
Race 1
Dubai Kahayla Classic sponsored by Mubadala (Group 1)
Pure-Bred Arabians
Dirt, 1m2f
13 runners

Dubai: Saudi Arabia’s Mubasher Al Khalediah will bid for a Gulf big-race double when he runs in the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic, the Purebred Arabian showpiece which opens Saturday’s glittering Dubai World Cup card at Meydan Racecourse.

Winner of the Obaiya Arabian Classic (G1) at Riyadh on Saudi Cup Day on February 20, Mubasher Al Khalediah is the strong ante-post favourite on the international betting markets to continue his winning ways at Dubai’s iconic racecourse.

In Saudi, Mubasher Al Khalediah defeated his stablemate Mutwakel Al Khalediah, who has also travelled to Dubai for the big race.

Mubasher is no stranger to the UAE having won the Shadwell-sponsored GCC Cup at Sharjah in 2019, his only previous outing outside Saudi Arabia,

Highly regarded Saudi handler Mutleq bin Mushref. principal trainer at Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s Al Khalediah Stables, said: “This victory is very important for us. We hoped that Tallaab would be able to retain his title. However, we ended up by winning the race with a Saudi jockey, who had already won at black type level last month. Mubasher Al Khalediah could tackle the Dubai Kahayla Classic, and maybe even win.”

He was ridden by Saudi jockey Adel Al Fouraidi in Riyadh who has been replaced by Panamanian jockey Angel Moreno in Dubai.

Trainer Mushref is seeking a second Kahayla Classic victory after Tallaab Al Khalediah won the 2,000m contest in 2018,

Mubasher Al Khalediah accounted for several of those contesting Saturday’s race when winning at Riyadh last time and looks the one to beat. He is one of the stable’s most highly regarded horses having beaten Tallaab Al Khalediah in the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz World Cup at Al Khalediah in January.

The home challenge is led by Brraq, a one-length winner of the third and final round of the Al Maktoum Challenge at Meydan on Super Saturday.

A homebred eight-year-old entirely owned by Yas Racing, Brraq was given a confident ride by French jockey Ryan Curatolo, who was partnering the horse for the first time and sitting in for Dutch rider Adrie de Vries. Brraq also won the 1,600m Al Maktoum Challenge R1 and was second in the middle round, over 1,900m, when ridden by De Vries on each occasion.

After the race, Curatolo, who was claiming a maiden international Group 1 win, said: “They went a bit quick for him early on, but once on the rail, he was happy in a rhythm and it all went perfectly in the end. I am delighted to have a Group One winner on the international stage and have to thank connections for the opportunity.”

Second on that occasion was Omani raider Al Roba’A Al Khali who also contests Saturday’s Classic.

AF Alwajel who was ridden by Tadhg O’ Shea for Ernest Oertel to finish third, also lines-up as he bid to give his trainer back-to-back wins in the Arabian showpiece following Af Maher in 2019.

GN Selections

1. Mubasher Al Khalediah
2. Mutwakel Al Khalediah
3. Rb Frynchh Dude