Ziyadd, trained by Jean de Roualle, winning Al Maktoum Challenge (Round 3) in tandem with Richard Mullen. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: It looks a highly competitive renewal of the Group 1 Kahayla Classic, which is the only contest on the night for Purebred Arabians. A tight field sees them rated within just within pounds of each other in what must be the highest quality race we have seen.

The top-rated horse is Ziyaad, trained by Jean de Roualle in Abu Dhabi. This six-year-old bay horse arrives in smoking hot form having seen off a great field here at Meydan in Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge and he looks to be the one to beat.

Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, is the most successful owner in this race with eight wins and he comes here with two really strong chances as he tries to win it for the fourth time in five years. In his first colours and the choice of Jim Crowley is Barnamaj, who was seen off by Ziyaad in his previous race, but prior to that won Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge and was narrowly beaten by Paddy’s Day in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge.

 The ten furlongs (2,000m) of the Kahayla Classic will be perfect for him and his rest will be good for him. He’s well within himself and he loves this track.”

 - Doug Watson | Trainer, Paddy’s Day

It would not have been an easy decision for Crowley as Al Zahir also arrives in great form having won the His Highness The Presidents Cup and the Emirates Championship on his last two starts both in Group 1 company and if he can translate that turf form on the dirt he is also sure to serve up a bold challenge.

Champion Trainer Doug Watson is represented by the aforementioned Paddy’s Day, who is sure to put up a big run again. Mutlaq Bin Mashref brings the unbeaten Tallaab Al Khalediah over from Saudi Arabia and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on and you can ignore that one at your peril.

Charles Gourdain trains in France and his horse Nafees is owned by the Royal Cavalry Oman and he represents some top form in Europe having taken the big Group 1 race at Doncaster before showing his well-being for this race with a decent second at Pau in February. Another horse owned by Omani connections is Chaddad, who is actually trained in Muscat by Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Hajiri. He is highly consistent and on his day presents a very real danger.

President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has a good record in the race and he is doubly represented by Mawahib and Darious Du Paon and both are trained by Eric Lemartinel.

Despite being rated the same, Mawahib goes in the first colours under Gerard Avranche and he has had what one might describe as a colourful season. When he is going he is very good and capable of having a big say tonight, but he has also unseated his rider once and also refused to race once so we must hope it is a going day for him.

 He is the winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3 which is always an important race and a pointer to the Kahayla Classic.”

 - Richard Mullen | Jockey, Ziyadd

Darious Du Paon has run some nice races but will have to find a lot after his previous race to turn the tables on Ziyaad.

Ernst Oertel has had another excellent season and he is represented tonight by the only two horses bred in the UAE. Bred by his principal owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, AF Marrah and AF Al Sajanjle look to have a decent chance of running into a place with AF Sajanjle looking the more likely.

It promises to be a really exciting race but our vote has to go to Ziyaad based on his fabulous win in the Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge and we expect him to confirm the form in that race seeing off Barnamaj and Paddy’s Day. Tallaab Al Khalediah and Nafees are our likely ideas of the wild cards to break them up though.

(Harry Tregoning is a horse racing expert and Managing Partner, Tregoning Property)

GN Selections

1 Ziyaad
2 Tallaab Al Khalediah
3 Barnamaj