THE UAE’S iconic flagship racecourse, Meydan stage their second meeting of the new season with, unusually, the Purebred Arabians taking centre stage with the 1400m Group 2 Bani Yas in which the exciting AF Alwajel will attempt to concede weight to his 14 rivals. One of two in the field trained by Ernst Oertel for Champion Owner Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, the 5yo homebred entire finished last season, on the first day of March, with a victory on the Abu Dhabi turf in the 1400m Group 2 Liwa Oasis. He is the choice of Tadhg O’Shea leaving Antonio Fresu the spare ride aboard stable companion AF Al Sajanjle, also homebred by Al Nabooda.
A 7yo entire, he is seeking a first success since landing the 1600m Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah in February 2019. That said, he has run some good races in defeat, in top company, his only subsequent outing out of Group One races being when fourth attempting a repeat in the Mazrat Al Ruwayah. When landing the aforementioned Bani Yas, AF Alwajel defeated RB Money To Burn having finished third, two starts previously, to that same rival in the 1600m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1, both horses only previous trip to Meydan. Prepared by Eric Lemartinel for Sheikh Khalifa, RB Money To Burn is penalised for January’s big race victory and, thus, finds herself trying to give weight to all bar AF Alwajel. A 5yo mare, she, as her name almost suggests, has speed to burn and this 1400m may prove her optimum trip.
The other mare in the race, Yas Racing’s Rawaa, will be having just her fourth career start after two victories, over 1200m on debut at Sharjah and in a 1000m conditions race at Al Ain. She was then third in the 1200m Group 3 Al Ruwais Stakes at Abu Dhabi, finishing one place behind AF Alwajel. That third outing was her first start for current trainer Majed Al Jahoori, her previous victories achieved when in the care of Ana Mendez. For the same owner, Al Jahoori also saddles local and dirt debutant Taymour, thrice a Group Three winner in his native France. With Doug Watson in fine form, his Sauternes Al Maury and Bon Baiser De Faust, both owned by Sheikh Hamdan, merit a mention. The owner’s retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, rides the former. The best of the Thoroughbred action is a rated conditions stakes over 1600m and Watson looks to hold a particularly strong hand, saddling three of the eight runners. Top weight burdens are shared by his Fanaar, owned by Sheikh Hamdan, and Thegreatcollection, winner of the Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee) on his final start last season.
That was his first success since defeating the reoppsoing Galvanize in The Meydan Mile, also a rated conditions contest, over this 1600m course and distance. That was in April 2019 and the 6yo gelding had also won his previous start, beating George Villiers, again in opposition for Satish Seemar. Daily Bulletin will be having his first start for Salem bin Ghadayer having won over 1400m on his local debut last season for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi who relies on Hakeem, one of three Sheikh Hamdan runners. However, O’Neill opts to ride Alkaamel for Musabbeh Al Mheiri whose season finally starts after a frustrating first month for the trainer.
Race 1: RB Money To Burn (NB)
Race 2: Nayefah
Race 3: Far Sky (nap)
Race 4: Royal Sands
Race 5: Hakeem
Race 6: Kinver Edge
Race 7: Lady Snazz