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Thrilling fare on the cards in Abu Dhabi

Keen contest for Arabian Triple Crown as promising 4-year-olds return

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Sunday’s first leg of the Arabian Triple Crown is all set to kick start the new year’s racing season with a thrilling contest on the cards.

The Listed race, carrying a prize fund of Dh100,000, has attracted a full field with three promising 4-year-olds back after ending 2012 with victories here a fortnight ago.

The Abu Dhabi Colts Classic winner Monawer, the Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic winner Shayel Aldhabi and the Abu Dhabi Championship winner Magik Du Paon, are all in the line up to contest this mile-long event.

Jockey Pat Cosgrave, who rides the Jaber Bitar-trained Monawer, said: “He was impressive last time and is hopefully still improving after only four starts.”

Tadhg O’Shea partners the Ernst Oertel-trained Shayel Aldhabi, the filly unbeaten in two starts here. “She has won both her local starts and was impressive last time in a decent race, so it would have been hard to desert her. She will go well but this is her toughest challenge to date,” he said.

The third fancied runner in the pack is the Eric Lemartinel-trained Magik Du Paon under Wayne Smith, who said, “That [Abu Dhabi Championship] was a nice win last time and perhaps a bit of a surprise as he was losing his maiden tag in the process. Hopefully he can build on that.”

Similarly in the added feature of the night, the HH The President Of The UAE Cup prep race, three fancied runners are part of the 14-horse field. Defending champion Nieshan, Kahayla Classic and President’s Cup winner in 2009 Seraphin Du Paon and last year’s Group 1 Emirates Championship winner Versac PY make this 11-furlong contest an equally interesting battle.

Pick Six followers are in for a tough time for even in the only race for thoroughbreds, UAE debutant Jawhar comes in with a huge reputation after winning his last three starts in the UK.

Dhruba Selvaratnam’s Kal Barg, the top weight, will be another fancied one in this Dh 75,000 race.

Three other races, including the Wathba Stud Farm Cup race, complete the six-race meeting, which starts at 5pm at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

GN Selections:

First race: 1. AF Sanadek; 2. Aqmaar.

Second race: 1. Jawhar; 2. Kal Barg.

Third race: 1. Nieshan; 2. Versac PY.

Fourth race: 1. Monawer; 2. Al Arous.

Fifth race: 1. Al Muntaser; 2. Al Waqqad.

Sixrh race: 1. Munsef; 2. Tarf Alseba.