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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Meydan prepares for Reynaldothewizard swansong as record fourth win in Dubawi Stakes beckons

The “Wizard”, as he is popularly known, will retire from racing, as racehorses on the flat are not permitted to race beyond the age of 12

Reynaldothewizard has won the Dubawi Stakes three times. Pawan Singh / The National
Reynaldothewizard has won the Dubawi Stakes three times. Pawan Singh / The National

Emotions will run high as the entire Zabeel Stables staff, including trainer Satish Seemar and his retained jockey Richard Mullen, will be kept on their toes when Reynaldothewizard steps on to the Meydan racetrack on Thursday night.

The “Wizard”, as he is popularly known, is bidding for a fourth Dubawi Stakes prize in his swansong year, as racehorses on the flat are not permitted to race beyond the age of 12.

The American-bred bay gelding by Speightstown has been sparingly raced, but the 12-year-old horse has proved he has not lost any of the zest to compete against his younger rivals.

Reynaldothewizard has won the Dubawi Stakes - elevated to Group 3 this year from Listed status - all three times since the race was constituted in 2015.

If he is successful for a fourth straight year, there could be wild celebrations at the venue.

Mullen, who has ridden the horse in all but one of his 10 victories in local 22 starts, has opted to ride Reynaldothewizard from the stables' second entry Raven’s Corner.

Reynadlothewizard is the senior citizen at the stables, which house more than 150 racehorses. He also happens to be an all-time favourite of the staff and his handler Seemar, who has kept the horse competitive.

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“He’s won this prize since it was first run in 2015,” Seemar said pointing to the three trophies occupying the top of his side-cabinet in his office.

“He doesn’t owe anything to anybody. He’s done it all and we are racing him because he still wants to race."

“You can’t force these equine athletes. They’ll race as long as they are happy and healthy. He’s always be a special horse in my life and for my team as well.

“Very rarely you get a horse that you spend so much time with, and Reynaldo is probably the only racehorse that has spent so much time [at the stables]. It’s easy to plan his races as we run only two to four races for a season.”

Reynaldothewizard takes on six younger opponents, including Muarrab, the Listed Garhoud Sprint winner over the course from Godolphin’s Comicas by six lengths and the UAE champion trainer Doug Watson’s My Catch.

It is Reynaldothewizard’s first run, but he usually does well when he is fresh. But Mullen seems to have chosen to ride him for sentimental reasons rather than form. After all, Raven’s Corner is in good nick.

The five-year-old chestnut gelding by Raven’s Pass won his last two starts after finishing runner up behind Shoreditch in his local debut, and Mullen was atop in all three starts.

He, too, is making his seasonal reappearance and his form suggests he goes well when fresh. Pat Cosgrave is booked on him.

Comicas and My Catch are expected to improve from their runs to reverse the form over Muarrab while success for an old fan favourite, Reynaldothewizard, can bring the roof down at Meydan.

The seven-race card opens with the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial that has drawn 14 runners.

Godolphin has three entered with Caring Touch, winner of her only start, Expressiy, winner of two of her five starts, and Winter Lightning, runner up in her only start.

The Watson-trained Rayya is an impressive winner by more than nine lengths in his racecourse debut over the course and distance, and he looks to be the one to beat.

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