Sheikh Hamdan looking for his 16th winner of the season in Haatheq before deciding whether to run him in one of the remaining nine races at the Dubai International Racing Carnival.
Carnival run for Haatheq depends on Jebel Ali
JEBEL ALI // Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid will see how Haatheq performs at Jebel Ali Racecourse tonight before deciding with his trainer whether the four-year-old is ready for a Dubai International Carnival race.
Haatheq goes in the Jebel Ali Stakes, which carries a prize purse of Dh500,000, this afternoon and is in good form. He won the 1,800-metre Jebel Ali Stakes Prep race at the end of December and was first and second over a mile in his outings prior to that.
The step up in distance - the run today is 1,950m - could pose a problem for the Ali Rashid al Raihe-trained runner. But the jockey, Richard Hills, knows Haatheq well, having ridden the horse in all of his UAE races.
A good performance could see the bay colt pitched into one of the nine remaining Dubai International Carnival meetings.
"He has been doing everything that has been asked of him in training and his races so far," said Ali al Muhairi, Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager. "He's been very consistent and won well in the prep race, so we would have to look at him as having a good chance.
"This is the part of the season that we are most excited about. Sheikh Hamdan has some nice horses for the Carnival and Haatheq is one of the ones who will hopefully progress from the domestic season to the international season."
Sheikh Hamdan is leading the UAE owners' championship this season with 15 wins and 16 seconds from 130 runs.
His hopes of a 16th victory will be tested by Emmrooz, the runner from Dhruba Selvaratnam's yard which is based at Jebel Ali Racecourse. He beat Haatheq over a mile-long conditions race in December and, like his rival, is unproven over the longer distance. He will be ridden by Kieren Fallon, the six-time British champion jockey. William Buick, the regular rider of Emmrooz, is recovering from two falls at Meydan Racecourse two weeks ago.
Erwan Charpy, the trainer responsible for the last two Jebel Ali Stakes winners - Mashaahed and Rampallion - saddles Singing Poet, his 2006 winner. Singing Poet has little to recommend him on recent form but should never be discounted at this track.
Tony Manuel saddles Noisy Silence, a double-winner last season, who was also an honourable third in this race last year.
The new Emirati apprentice, Saeed al Mazrooei, takes the second and third rides of his professional career today when he partners Vito Corleone in the fifth race and the UAE debutant, Pirate's Song, in the last.
Vito Corleone may be ripe for some improvement in the 1,400m outing, a race which does not have a clear favourite.
Pirate's Song boasts some nice English form, including a win, and may be able to provide al Mazrooei with a chance for victory at the line as he takes on a number of runners who will be there or thereabouts at the finish.