ABU DHABI // Mizzna will be the focus of attention when she returns for her first run in the National Day Cup Prep at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club. The six-year-old mare is taking the same path she took last season when she recorded five smashing victories, culminating in her main target of winning the Kahayla Classic - the Arabian showpiece in the Dubai World Cup card.
The opener of the world's richest race meeting remains the target for the daughter of the champion mare Alanudd (Unchained Melody). And her trainer Eric Lemartinel said: "She is in good order and has retained her abilities and with more racing experience now." The Frenchman has planned a similar campaign to last season for her, and may give her an extra race. "She had a break of more than two months from December to March last season, and we may look at a race in that window. But then it all depends on how she comes out of each race."
Mizzna faces a dozen others but only Rod Simpson's Fryvolous and Gillian Duffield's Tashreefat look like having a chance to put a fight. Fryvolous finished more than eight lengths in fifth behind Mizzna in the Kahayla Classic. Tashreefat was half-a-length second to her in the Group-1 Liwa Oasis, run over 1,400 metres. Among the thoroughbreds, Ans Bach, Fenice and Emirates Gold hold decent form on this track.
Ans Bach was a close fifth in the National Day Cup and later won the President's Cup on his two visits to last season. But his trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam felt his horses were in need of a first run. "They are blowing up and I don't want to squeeze them so early in the season," said the Jebel Ali boss. "Ans Bach is ready to race and he has a pretty decent record to win first time out. So fingers crossed."
The Satish Seemar-trained Fenice ran a close second behind Selvaratnam's Mulaqaat in the Emirates Championship and Erwan Charpy's Emirates Gold is the winner of the National Day Cup, last season. Racing begins with a maiden in which the Al Reef Stables' Royal and RS Saqr fight it out for the top honours and Duffield's Waadi is the pick half-an-hour later. firstname.lastname@example.org