x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

New trainer-jockey combo set to thrive at Meydan

Only Purebred Arabian race on card most valuable chase out of six

Richard Hughes, pictured aboard Chriselliam in the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships, is expected to ride on Thursday night at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Harry How / AFP
Richard Hughes, pictured aboard Chriselliam in the 2013 Breeders' Cup World Championships, is expected to ride on Thursday night at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. Harry How / AFP

ABU DHABI // The British champion jockey Richard Hughes and the Emirati trainer Majed Al Jahouri have struck a potentially fruitful partnership, particularly for the Purebred Arabian races.

Hughes is booked on the newcomer Mysterious Glow in the opener of Meydan’s fourth meeting on Thursday, a maiden race for the thoroughbreds, and he rides Rabbah De Carrere in the next, the featured Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah for Arabians.

“I was informed that Richard was in town and free to ride for anyone, and I had no hesitation in booking him,” Al Jahouri said.

Al Jahouri, who trains at Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed’s Al Wathba Stables in Abu Dhabi, has a solitary thoroughbred entry in the six-race card as well as four entered in the sole race for the Arabians.

“The thoroughbred is making his racecourse debut, and we’ll have to see how he comes out of his first test,” Al Jahouri said of the son of Greys Inn, who was the winner of six races, including three Group 1 prizes in South Africa and the Group 3 City Of Gold at Nad Al Sheba in 2005, when trained by Mike de Kock.

“He looks a pretty decent colt and has done nothing wrong where his work is concerned. I am fortunate to have Richard on board and he will be the best judge to provide me a report of his abilities.”

Of the Arabians, Rabbah De Carrere appears to be carrying the owner’s first colours, but the trainer insisted that all his four entries have an equal chance of winning the prize.

Al Jahouri’s other runners in the race, Thakif, last year’s runner-up, will be ridden by Harry Bentley, while Richard Mullen is booked on Laamma and Sam Hitchcock on Merzal.

“Rabbah likes to be held up at the back and I thought Richard would be the best man for the job,” the Emirati said.

“Harry is on Thakif because he’s been riding him in the majority of the races. He’s best over this distance and comes with the benefit of a run. Laamma and Merzal, too, come with runs under their belts and hold good chances.”

Rabbah De Carrere, the first progeny of the champion mare Mizzna, was runner-up to Sahib Du Clos in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup in Abu Dhabi’s curtain-raiser meeting on November 10, his first race in the UAE.

He was third to stable companion Areem in the Group 1 National Day Cup four weeks later, both run over 1,600 metres.

“The 1,600m trip is his minimum,” Al Jahouri said. “He’s run two decent races over this distance and the first time on the Tapeta. This is a good test to see how he handles the surface, because his long-term objective is the [2,000m] Dubai Kahayla Classic on the Dubai World Cup night. If he handles the surface, he will be back for the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 run over that distance.”

Eric Lemartinel’s Bigg N Rich was an impressive winner of the Prep race three weeks ago, but the stable jockey Gerald Avranche has opted for Albar Lotois, a multiple Group 1 winner.

Quite A Show, last year’s race winner, is among the 12 entries, but the seven year old trained by Doug Watson has been disappointing since then in his last four starts.

There is also a quality 1,200m Conditions race, but the only Purebred Arabian contest, the Group 2 Mazrat Al Ruwayah, is the most valuable race on the card and Watson nonetheless holds a major chance with Quite A Show.

Ernst Oertel, too, has four entered, with the filly Shayel Aldhabi under stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea spearheading the UAE champion trainer’s challenge.

Race card

6.30pm Maiden 2,000m

7.05pm Mazrat Al Ruwayah (Group 2) 1,600m

7.40pm Conditions 1,600m

8.15pm Conditions 1,200m

8.50pm Conditions 2,000m

9.25pm Handicap (rated 55-70) 1,200m