x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

From Dubai to Doncaster

Eight jockeys, including Richard Hills, make their exit from Meydan Racecourse and will race in the United Kingdom.

London // Richard Hills is one of eight jockeys engaged at the Doncaster racecourse this afternoon who rode on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan last Saturday.

Hills rides Taqleed, the favourite for the Lincoln Handicap, the first big race of the British flat turf season, which started officially at a low-key event at Catterick on Wednesday.

Hills, who finished third in the jockey standings behind Wayne Smith and Tadhg O'Shea during his stay in Dubai in the winter, arrived in England only five days ago.

"I got back from Dubai on Monday where I've been for four months," Hills said. "I got off the plane and was riding at Wolverhampton on Wednesday, so it's been a bit hectic. It's no problem, though; it's what we do."

Hills rode Wiqaaya to victory in a maiden on his first ride back in Britain and will be joined in the 1,600m contest by his brother, Michael, who rides Gunner Lindley.

Jamie Spencer, Ryan Moore, Tom Queally, Adrian Nicholls and Johnny Murtagh, who rode in Ireland the day after the World Cup, also have mounts in the race. George Baker, who rode Premio Loco in the Godolphin Mile at Meydan, has a ride earlier on the card.

Taqleed, trained by John Gosden, is a product of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's prolific Shadwell Stud. The gelding is by Shamardal, Godolphin's French Derby-winning colt, out of Thakafaat, a broodmare owned by Sheikh Hamdan which was formerly trained by John Dunlop.

The four-year-old improved with every run last season, culminating in a solid sixth in the competitive 35-runner Cambridgeshire handicap over 1,800m on soft ground at Newmarket in October.

The Lincoln has a maximum field of 22 horses and, as a result, it is often run at a furious pace. Gosden won the contest two years ago with Expresso Star, owned by Princess Haya of Jordan.

Hills said: "It's a fantastic race, but we need more rain. He's coming back a furlong, so I think the trip is a little on the sharp side for him." On the other side of the world, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, sees his Sepoy start favourite this morning for the Golden Slipper, the world's richest two-year-old contest.

The Group 1 race, run over six furlongs in Sydney, has attracted 15 other runners, including Sheikh Mohammed's second string, Altar, also trained by Peter Snowden.