All eyes will be on Bhupat Seemar at Jebel Ali this Saturday after his ‘five for’ heroics at Meydan last Friday saw him romp to the top of the UAE trainers’ championship standings. Seemar took over from defending champion Doug Watson there and the Red Stables boss would have amassed an armada as he looks for a way to return to the winning enclosure after being unusually left out in the cold.
And that could very well be this week despite the form shown by Seemar who is in his rookie year as a professional handler. Watson fields plenty on the day Jebel Ali Racecourse begins its 30th anniversary celebrations and starts a new chapter in its long history by racing on Saturday.
After many a joyful Fridays in the past, Watson will be hoping this change of date and day will bring him the luck he so badly needs. With Meydan shifting its focus on to the international part of the season, quite a few interesting fields will be called into action during the course of the seven race afternoon that has for a feature a 1800m handicap for 4yo and older horses with a rating between 76 and 96.
Watson appears well equipped with Al Murqab, Exciting Days and American Dancer forming a rather solid trio for the American handler. Al Murqab seems to like the surface here and picked up his first career win in a 1600 maiden on his seasonal bow when victorious by a commanding eight lengths.
The 4yo Exaggerator gelding was last seen finishing a narrow second in a 1400m conditions event on Christmas eve, but 2022 could bring better luck both for him and his conditioner, who kicked off his campaign with a bang courtesy of Exciting Days, the winner of the season’s first race.
The 5yo Blame gelding’s form has dipped since, with his last run that yielded a fifth rather lukewarm in a course and distance affair. American Dancer, meanwhile, is an interesting well raced 6yo Bernardini gelding who marks his UAE debut here after being imported from America where he won thrice before in 19 starts.
Seemar’s biggest hope here could be three time Meydan winner George Villiers, who was five and a half lengths back in second on his only test at the venue in a longer 1950m run. The Zabeel trainer also saddles Miller’s House for the same owner, with Rakeez, a third runner for the handler.
Salem bin Ghadayer has some potent names running and Tenbury Wells will be expected to step up his game after narrowly missing out on his local debut in a 1600m event here. The same goes for stable companion Monoski, who was beaten by just over a length by Prevent on his last start.
Ahmad bin Harmash dispatches Prevent in this too and the 7yo Poet’s Voice is like a duck to water when it comes to the hill with his three runs delivering the aforementioned wins and two podium finishes, which further includes a runners up spot by a short head on his last start three weeks ago.
In the 1200m sprint handicap, Seemar sends out Stakes alumni Leading Spirit who has gone off the boil since claiming his only UAE victory here over 1000m two years ago. That season was perhaps the Exceed And Excel gelding’s best as he also featured in the photo of Super Saturday’s Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal with his trainer hoping he can have another super day this Saturday.
Rashed Bouresly’s Hawa Bilady won a rated conditions event over track and trip last March and could be tough, with Watson again having enough firepower in the form of Ababil and Eshtiraak. Ababil signed off last season with victory in a course and distance handicap and debuted this term with victory in another, but was last seen finishing a distant second at Meydan in November, while Eshtiraak was one of Watson’s winners on the opening day of the season when he easily nicked a 1400m handicap. Bin Ghadayer’s veteran Rich And Famous cannot be discounted either, having won twice this term already at meydan and was a close third behind Eshtiraak on his only run of the campaign here.
Race 1: AF Al Moreeb
Race 2: Practical Mischief
Race 3: Ababil (NB)
Race 4: Triple Venture
Race 5: Prevent (NAP)
Race 6: Capla Crusader
Race 7: Brontology