Horse racing: Sheikh Hamdan’s pair all set for Meydan race
There are three conditions races at Meydan Thursday evening with the most competitive being the first - the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, and a 1600m prep race for the Mazrat Al Ruwayah.
Eleven have been declared and a strong case can be made for at least seven of them, headed by the Doug Watson duo of Paris Gagner and Kandar Du Falgas. Both are owned by Sheikh Hamdan whose first jockey Richard Hills has chosen the latter.
Watson agrees with him and said: “Of the two I definitely feel Kandar has the best chance and a very good one. He was slowly away last time which compromised his chances. We expect him to go close and Paris is in good form also.”
Time Out would appear to hold the strongest claims of three runners for Ernst Oertel who said: “We are looking forward to running Time Out and hopefully he has a big chance.
“We also have Frysk Me Now who was behind Time Out when they clashed before and the 4yo Frynchman who can hopefully improve on what he achieved last season.” Jinad, Rakes, Jarnin and Badad are others who should not be ruled out.
The official feature is a 1600m Thoroughbred conditions race and Watson’s Famous Warrior, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea, looks one of the main protagonists having won over course and distance at the Carnival earlier this year.
Watson said: “He does not have the best of draws but the trip is perfect and he is ready for a race. His work is good and we think he will go well.”
Happy Today is a fascinating new recruit to the UAE after winning one of his five starts in the UK for Brian Meehan. He is now with Musabah Al Muhairi and will be ridden by Wayne Smith.
He has not been seen since beating only one home in the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot. Prior to that, he was sixth, at 100/1, behind Frankel in the 2000 Guineas!
Dhruba Selvaratnam’s Canwinn and Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s Zain Shamardal have won already at Meydan this season and cannot be discounted.
Al Raihe will be hoping for big things from Happy Dubai this season and he returns in the 1200m conditions race where he has to concede weight to his 11 rivals.
The 4yo has not been seen since finishing last in the Krisflyer International at Kranji in Singapore but was a revelation at the 2011 Carnival when winning three times.
All those wins were on turf but he did run well on his sole Tapeta start, back in 2010 and assistant trainer Jilani Siddiqui said: “He was one of our stars last season and seems in good form for this comeback. He trains well on the surface so that should not be an issue.
“He failed to handle the track in Singapore and we are hoping for a big Carnival with him in 2012. This is the obvious place to bring him back.”
Watson’s Barbecue Eddie, the mount of Richard Hills, is a big danger and the trainer said: “He is probably best over 1400m but there is no race for him over that trip so this looks a nice spot for him. He is going nicely at home so we expect a good run.”