Classic contenders they are unlikely to prove but the 3yos take centre stage this afternoon with a 1000m conditions race which follows hot on the hooves of two races, over 1400m on turf and 1600m on dirt, at Meydan on Thursday. So the Classic generation are certainly not devoid of opportunities this weekend. Given the plethora of opportunities, it looks significant Satish Seemar, who won this race last year with debutant The New Maharaja, runs three. Oya and Refulgence Star, who were only entered in this race, as well as Tammam Boss who was also given the Meydan turf option but takes this one.A 3yo gelded son of Fast Company, Refulgence Star ran three times in Ireland for Willie McCreery, his most recent effort, in September, his best when a close third over 1600m at Listowel.
Meanwhile, Oya, a filly by Farhh, has also run three times, all at Meydan, finishing well beaten twice over 1400m and on one 1600m attempt, her second outing when she did show plenty of early speed. For racecourse patron, Sheikh Ahmed, Nicholas Bachalard entered three, all of whom had Meydan options, electing to run both Eyelool and Salayel in this. The latter, a daughter of Bated Breath, is the choice of Chris Hayes and surely better than able to show on her debut, at Meydan, in December. Eyelool, meanwhile, a Dragon Pulse gelding, was formerly trained in Newmarket by William Haggas for whom he won twice from five starts, once on turf, the other on the Kempton all-weather.
Having scored with both their first ever two runners at Meydan, fledgling owners, Phoenix Ladies Syndicate, will be hoping to achieve the same at Jebel Ali. They are represented by Golden Jaguar and Lady Winslow, the presence of Connor Beasley on the former suggesting he is the main hope. The best of the handicaps on the card is over 1950m, the longest distance over which Jebel Ali race these days, although there is a 2200m start, in which Galles heads the weights for Sandeep Jadhav. Second, over the same course and distance on his most recent outing a fortnight ago, in a race he won last season, the 5yo Bernardini entire followed that victory by chasing home stable companion, Montsarrat, in the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, also over 1950m.
That latest outing suggests he is about to hit peak form seeking a third career victory having also won over 1800m on what appears his favourite course in November 2017. Speaking of the Jebel Ali Stakes, the 2014 winner, the veteran 11yo Interpret, is among the opposition seeking a sixth success and fifth on this track. Trained then by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, the gelded son of Distorted Humor was always likely to live in the shadow of his half-brother, Sheikh Hamdan’s 2007 Dubai World Cup winner Invasor, but has been a great servant to connections since making a belated racecourse debut in November 2012. To be ridden by Bernardo Pinheiro, this will be his first start for Khalifa Al Neyadi who both owns and trains him.
Noticeably, Doug Watson only entered Tradesman in this and, equally significantly, it was the only nomination made on his behalf on a weekend most horses had multiple options. A 7yo Street Sense gelding, he has only had the one outing this season, when a distant third behind runaway winner Litigation in a 2000m Meydan handicap at the beginning of November. A model of consistency, he has proved a fun horse for his owners EERC (Emirates Enntertainment Racing Club) and should certainly give a good account of himself. Formerly in the same ownership but trained by Fawzi Nass, Cape Of Eagles has taken a real shine to the Jebel Ali conditions for new connections, winning two of his three course starts this season, over 1800m and 1950m, for Helal Al Alawi. He certainly merits respect in what could develop into a real tactical affair with Saafarr, another for Sheikh Ahmed, Hayes and Bachalard also worthy of a second glance on just his second UAE outing.
Race 1: Kanz Al Reef
Race 2: Yabrave
Race 3: Trenchard
Race 4: Shanaghai City
Race 5: Gavroche
Race 6: Padlock
Race 7: Compliance