x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

High regard for Siyaadah

The form of the 1,000 Guineas two weeks ago suggests Godolphin have the pick of the field in the UAE Oaks in their runner, Siyaadah.

Race horses are given their evening walk at the Godolphin stables in Dubai.
Race horses are given their evening walk at the Godolphin stables in Dubai.

DUBAI // Two names have dominated the International Racing Carnival so far - Godolphin and Mike de Kock - and tonight the superpower stables go head-to-head in the UAE Oaks. History says Godolphin, who have 15 wins at Meydan Racecourse this season compared to de Kock's eight, hold the upper hand. Godolphin's Saeed bin Suroor has won the fillies' race - the third Classic of the season - seven times, while de Kock is yet to claim victory.

The form of the 1,000 Guineas two weeks ago suggests Godolphin have the pick of the field in their runner, Siyaadah. Jockey selections in that contest indicated Siyaadah, ridden as she was by Ahmed Ajtebi, while Frankie Dettori opted for Ishitaki, was very much second string. The result, however, which saw the filly pick up during the race to come from the rear and win by two lengths, ensures she is now viewed in a different light.

Ajtebi, seeking his fourth win of the Carnival keeps the ride tonight and bin Suroor said his charge pulled up well from her surprise win. "Siyaadah came back well from the Guineas," he said. "She's in good form, working well and I'm pleased with her. It's a tough contest with some nice fillies in the race. I'm looking for a big run." One of the tough fillies that Siyaadah will face in the extended nine furlongs race is de Kock's Raihana. She won the 1,000 Guineas Trial in fine style on Meydan Racecourse's opening night, but was beaten into fourth by Siyaadah two weeks ago.

On that occasion the filly proved her own worst enemy, fighting for her head from jockey Christophe Soumillon and running out of steam when asked for a final effort in the home stretch. Even so she was just two lengths from the winner and her handler says she has come on since that experience. "She ran a bit free in the Guineas. She has done very well since and I'm very happy with her. It will test her stamina but I'm confident she'll stay," he said.

Another de Kock filly, Zirconeum, takes to the turf in the Group Three 1m 1f Balanchine race for fillies and mares. She was held up in running on her last outing in the Group Three Cape Verdi and the jockey, Kevin Shea will be hoping for a clearer run tonight. stregoning@thenational.ae