ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi has played a lead role in promoting Purebred Arabian racing. The capital's racecourse is the unofficial headquarters for Purebred flat racing and they have also taken an active role in staging races around the world.
Now the focus and ambition is a little closer to home at the Dubai World Cup.
Boasting six of the 14 entries for the US$250,000 (Dh918,250) Kahayla Classic over the 2,000-metre distance, it would be fitting to see an Emirati trainer from Abu Dhabi leading a horse owned and trained in the capital to the winner's enclosure in the Arabian showpiece and traditional opener of the Dubai World Cup.
Salem al Ketbi, saddling Fryvolous, and Majed al Jahouri, sending out Shadiya are two contenders.
"He has been prepared for this one race and will come out fresh," said al Ketbi. "He is well exposed and doesn't need a prep race. It is the race any trainer for the Purebred Arabian would love to have in their CV. It is a very open race and Fryvolous will be among the leading contenders."
Fryvolous is one of the two entries in the silks of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. Seraphin Du Paon, the President's Cup and the 2010 UAE Arabian Derby winner, trained by Philippe Barbe is the other.
Al Jahouri's Shadiyda is one of the two entries for Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed. Saifaldin Deeb saddles the other, Dariya, a winner of two of his three races in his first season in the Emirates.
Fryvolous has run twice this season; the first time he trailed last in the National Day Cup in Abu Dhabi in December and ran an encouraging second to Kanda Du Falgas in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge at Meydan.
The eight-year-old was trained by Barbe on his reappearance and has since moved out to the adjoining stable of al Ketbi, the former Emirati jockey and racing manager at the Al Asayl Stables.