Dubai: This weekend the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club plays host to the Dh5 million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (PA Group 1), one of the richest Purebred Arabian races in the world.
Making its debut over a new distance of 2,200 metres (formerly 1,600m) the race has captured the attention of the world and has attracted 16 of the best middle-distance horses. Arguably the finest line-up in the event’s history, the race has all the ingredients to serve up an absolute thriller.
This year will mark the 12th anniversary finale of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival, which was launched in 2009 under the directives of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs in Europe to help promote Purebred Arabian racing around the world.
Our preview features horse-by-horse profiles as well as our selections.
SHEIKH ZAYED BIN SULTAN AL NAHYAN JEWEL CROWN (PA Group 1)
Post time: 5pm, Friday (For 4-year-olds & over) Prize Money: Dh5m. Distance: 2,200m Turf (11F)
Read as No / Handicap rating/ Horse / Weight/ Owner / Trainer / Jockey
1. 110 — AF AL BAIRAQ (AE) 57kg. Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, Ernst Oertel, Tadhg O’Shea
Bred and owned by prolific Purebred Arabian breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the six-year-old is looking for a third career victory. He was runner-up to Somoud in the Prep race for this even over course & distance on November 8. Holds strong claims.
2. 115 — AL ZAHIR (FR) 57kg. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ali Al Rayhi, Dane O’Neill
A five-time winner at Abu Dhabi including the HH The President Cup on February 10, 2019 the son of former champion Arabian Madjani is a classy seven-year-old but must improve on his recent form to make an impression in this contest.
3. 116 — BF MUGHADER (OM) 57kg. Alwarith Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, Ibrahim Al Hadhrami, Sandro Paiva
One of the most experienced horses in the race, the Omani-bred son of Falak has previously tasted success at Abu Dhabi having won the Group1 Emirates Championship in March 2019. However he could only finish fourth in his defence of that title this year, a year in which he has not visited the winner’s enclosure.
4. 113 — DARIUS DU PAON (FR) 57kg. HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Eric Lemartinel, Fabrice Veron
A son of the mighty No Risk Al Maury, the seven-year-old will be looking to roll back the years to November 2018 when he won the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan National Day Cup Prep. However, since then his form has been up-and-down with his best effort being a second-place finish in the same race in October last year. Needs to find more.
5. 115 — GOSHAWKE (US) 57kg. Al Ajban Stables, Andullah Al Hammadi, Szczepan Mazur.
An interesting challenger, the American bred has had five UAE starts this season with his best effort being a third place behind Rmmas in the Group 1 HH The President Cup in February. On his most recent start he finished third in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown Prep. He will be ridden by Poland’s Szczepan Mazur, which is an interesting booking.
6. 120 — HAJRES (TN) 57kg. Emadadein Alhtoushi, Elizabeth Bernard, Adrie de Vries
Hajres makes his UAE debut for French handler Elizabeth Bernard, the wife of the late, great Jean Francois Bernard, having already made history as the first Tunisian-bred winner of the Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup at Windsor, UK in 2019. A confirmed stayer he will be ridden by the Flying Dutchman, Adrie de Vries.
7. 112 — HARRAB (AE) 57kg. Al Wathba Racing, Majed Al Jahoori, Conor Beasley
One of the younger horses in the race, the five-year-old son of Bibi De Carrere represents Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Al Wathba Racing Stable. Trained by Majed Al Jahoori he was a competitive third in the Prep for this race last Month under Conor Beasely, who takes the ride again. Genuine claims.
8. 121 — HAYYAN (FR) 57kg. Yas Horse Racing Management LLC, Freddy Sanchez, Antonio Fresu
The French galloper returns to Abu Dhabi to challenge for the spoils a year after finishing 11th behind Saudi Arabia’s Mashhur Al Khalediah. A five-year-old by Munjiz he brings strong form to the race having won two of his last three starts in France. In-form French rider Antonio Fresu will be in the saddle.
9. 123 — MESSI (BE) 57kg. Vido Keersmaekers (Vic & Timo Keersmaekers), Timo Keersmaekers, Pat Dobbs
Experienced Messi only suffered a narrow defeat in the Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp, France but is a horse that is clearly improving with age. Prepared y Timo Keersmaekers the eight-year-old deserves a shot at the top prize and has the services of top Dubai-based rider Pat Dobbs.
10. 117 — MUBASHER AL KHALEDIAH (SA) 57kg. Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saad bin Mutlaq, Roberto Perez
Winner of the GCC Cup at Sharjah last year and most of Saudi Arabia’s top races, this son representing the powerful Khalediah breeding operation comes into the race with the strongest of claims and looks a horse that will take all the beating.
11. 117 — MUTWAKEL AL KHALEDIAH (SA) 57kg. Sons Of Prince Khaled bin Sultan Al Saud, Saad bin Mutlaq, Fernando Jara
Another multiple Group 1 winner from Saudi Arabia and the all-conquering stables of Sultan bin Mutlaq he will be ridden by Dubai World Cup winning Fernando Jara as he bids to steal the honours from his stablemate.
12. 115 — RASI (GB) 57kg. Musallam Ali Said Qatan, Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi Bernardo Pinheiro
An impressive winner of the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah at Meydan in February this year, the Omani raider will be bidding to secure victory in the world’s richest Purebred Arabian race for his handler Sulaiman Al Ghunaimi. The mount of Brazilian Bernardo Pinhero Rasi should be in the mix when the horses cross the finish.
13. 110 — RB FRYNCHH DUDE (US) 57kg. Byerley Racing, Helal Al Alawi, Pat Cosgrave
The youngest horse in the field, the four-year-old American bred son of Baseq Ak Khalediah has had just one start in the UAE but he did make a good impression on that day running on to finish fourth in the Prep for this race for Helal Al Alawi, who races out of The National Stables.
14. 119 — SOMOUD (FR) 57kg. Yas Racing, Jean de Roualle, Richard Mullen
Somoud needs no introduction. This French-bred galloper who is owned by YAS Racing has made a big name for himself winning all four of his most recent starts including the Prep for this race last month. Trained by Jean de Roualle, and to be partnered by former UAE champion Richard Mullen, he looks the horse to beat.
15. 111 — AMWAJ (FR) 55kg. HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Eric Lemartinel, Ryan Curatolo
Eric Lemartinel’s stable star has won three times at Al Ain Racecourse but is yet to fins success on Abu Dhabi’s turf in seven attempts. On his most recent start at the track he came home in eight place behind Somoud in the Prep race. Needs a big effort to break his Abu Dhabi jinx.
16. 108 — JAAZMAH ATHBAH (GB) 55kg. Athbah Racing, Elizabeth Bernard, Royston Ffrench 16
Elizabeth Bernand’s second runner has decent French form but must adapt quickly as he makes hi Abu Dhabi Racecourse debut. To help him in his task is experience British Royston Ffrench who has a way with coaxing horses to perform at the top of their game.
The following horses have been declared with Shadow Rolls: AF AL BAIRAQ (AE), BF MUGHADER (OM), RB FRYNCHH DUDE (US).
3. MUTWAKEL AL KHALEDIAH