Dubai: Racing draws to an end at Dubai’s marquee Meydan racecourse this Thursday with an eight-race card, which has a tough Rated Conditions contest for a feature in the form of the Zabeel Trophy.
It is the penultimate meeting of the 2020-21 UAE season, with the curtains coming down at Al Ain on Friday.
Godolphin’s Charlie Appleby-schooled Velorum appears the one to beat in the 1600m affair for horses rated 85 kgs and above and carries a lofty rating of 103, but he is still not the top rated name in the field - that honour being kept for Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Royal Dornoch, who won the Group 3 Desmond Stakes over 1600m at Leopardstown last August.
As a juvenile, Royal Dornoch won the 2019 Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes by a neck from Andrew Balding’s mighty Kameko, who went on to win two Group 1 affairs after that defeat in the form of Newcastle’s Futurity Trophy Stakes and the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
The four-year-old Gleneagles colt goes into the race on the back of two 10th place finishes in the stc 1351 Turf Sprint on the Saudi Cup card and then the G3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday.
A five-year-old gelded son of Sea The Stars, Velorum ran twice at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival and was eighth in both the 1400m Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort and 1600m Group 2 Zabeel Mile. He has a 1400m turf handicap win on last season’s Carnival programme to show for his efforts at Meydan on what turned out to be his only run that year and in a marginal drop in class here, he should really have a chance of collecting a second win at the venue.
Richard Mullen, who rides him, said: “It looks like a nice spare ride to pick up and he has plenty of good form in the book. It is a good spot for him, but it is a strong race. Hopefully, we will be thereabouts.”
Rashed Bouresly owned-and-trained Ajwad, who won in 2019, is also part of the field but appears to have left that winning form behind as he failed to place in three starts this term.
UAE Champion Jockey elect Tadhg O’Shea rides the Satish Seemar-trained Seniority, who is being returned to 1600m having after his fourth in the 2200m Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship three weeks ago.
Doug Watson lines up two interesting prospects in Gabr and Mount Pelion. The former has shown he can switch surfaces and ran to a second here over 1800m in February, but Sam Hitchcott has opted to ride the latter and leave Gabr for Adrie de Vries.
Salem Bin Ghadayer sends out a trio, with course and distance winner Mailshot carrying Royston Ffrench, Mordin the ride of Xavier Ziani and Jose Santiago taking the reins of Vale Of Kent, who could spice up the action.
Gulf News sponsors the 1400m Gulf News Handicap on the dirt track, which on paper appears a testing contest. Seemar has strong hands with two-time Jebel Ali 1400m winner Karaginsky preferred over Bochart, while Al Mheiri saddles Alkaamel - who has been placed in four of five starts at Meydan this term. Fawzi Nass’ Madkhal could be the one to watch out for and runs in the experienced hands of Dutchman De Vries.
Race 1: Zero To A Hundred, Animal Life, Great Image
Race 2: Cocobai, Takuendo, Vasari
Race 3: Karaginsky, Alkaamel, Madkhal
Race 4: Mutaraffa, Lavaspin, Shanaghai City
Race 5: Endifaa, Al Maroom, Faithful Soldier
Race 6: Lucius Tiberius, Vale Of Kent, Gabr
Race 7: Irish Freedom, Book Review, Remorse
Race 8: Deep Intrigue, Dolmen, Al Mureib