x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Jaasoos heads field for the President's Cup

Escape Route is closest challenger tonight, but has finished behind his rival twice.

Jaasoos, second left, will be ridden by William Buick in the President’s Cup tonight.
Jaasoos, second left, will be ridden by William Buick in the President’s Cup tonight.

ABU DHABI // The President's Cup race looks like being the highlight of today's six-race Boxing Day meeting at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

The Listed race for thoroughbreds looks wide open and is headed by Jaasoos, the National Day Cup winner three weeks ago.

The field also includes Escape Route, winner of the Prep race on December 12, and Musaafer, representing last year's winning stable.

The trio seem to hold the best chances for the Dh150,000 prize over the seven-furlong trip that has drawn the maximum 14 runners.

Jaasoos was an impressive winner, having to come around a wall of horses under Kieren Fallon in his first run for the season.

The six-year-old gelding by Noverre has an exemplary record in Abu Dhabi, winning three of his four starts and finishing third in the same race 12 months ago.

William Buick, the stable jockey who has ridden for Godolphin this season, has won three of his four races in the UAE and he has the mount on Jaasoos for trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam.

Escape Route won the Prep race two weeks ago but has finished behind Jaasoos twice in their previous meetings.

But with the Zabeel Stable of Satish Seemar in fine form, he is sure to go close under Richard Mullen.

Musabah al Muhairi, the Emirati trainer who won the Listed prize with Ibn Battuta last year, is optimistic about the chances of Musaafer after the three-year-old gelded son of Marju's eye-catching first outing in the UAE when finishing second behind Comradeship at Meydan last Thursday.

"He ran a good first race on the Tapeta and I would like to think he can handle the turf in Abu Dhabi as well as he did on the surface at Meydan," said al Muhairi.

"He is an exciting young horse and has impressed me with his work. He has come out very well from his first race and certainly has a chance to win this prize."

Musaafer carries the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid and will be ridden by Tadhg O'Shea, who rode him last week. They have also partnered him in his last run at Ascot, England, trained by Michael Jarvis.

The other two pattern races on the card are the Abu Dhabi Colts Classic and the Abu Dhabi Championship, both for the Purebred Arabians - one with prestige status and the other for a Listed prize.

Philippe Barbe, the Al Asayl trainer for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, the President of the UAE, can complete a double. His two entrants, Burkan Al Asayl and Frynchman, were both impressive winners on debut.

Burkan Al Asayl is up against the same rivals whom he disposed of in good style, and a repeat of that run could see him extend his unbeaten run to two.

Frynchman will have a similar task as he again opposes Aqmaar half-an-hour later.

Barbe also has two more-fancied entries with the debutante Fille De L'or in the opener, a maiden for fillies and mares, and with No Limit Del Ma in the last race.

Fallon is booked on all four and this partnership with Barbe could prove productive tonight.

Aqmaar, ridden by O'Shea, leads a quartet of entries in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan.

The Al Sakbe colt was back on the track to record a convincing win from the stable companion Musharref over the course and distance two weeks ago and should strip fitter from that last start to post a bigger threat to Frynchman.

apassela@thenational.ae