Stakes are high in the UAE capital considering today's races are a dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup.
Jarnin can handle 'sharp' distance
ABU DHABI // Saifaldeen Deeb would love to see Jarnin, the President's Cup winner, make up for his stable companion Rabah De Carrere's disappointment in Thursday's Maktoum Challenge Round Three, in tonight's Group One Liwa Oasis at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
These races in the capital are considered a dress rehearsal for the Arabian showpiece and traditional opener at the Dubai World Cup on March 27. Jarnin was an impressive winner of the Dh1million Group One prize on his local debut, with Rabah De Carrere in third, over 11 furlongs in Abu Dhabi a month ago, and the trainer said the latter's below-par run behind No Risk Al Maury at Meydan was not a yardstick of the President's Cup winner's abilities.
"Jarnin is a horse with a proven track record in Europe and is going into his second race in good shape," said Deeb, who saddles the seven-year-old gelded son of Akbar. "Rabah's effort the other night was a bit disappointing. He ran indifferently but still remains a Kahayla Classic hopeful for the stables. And Jarnin is the other, and I have a lot of hopes on both of them on the Dubai World Cup night."
Jarnin's second outing over the sharper seven-furlong trip in tonight's feature race should give a fair idea of his chances in the Kahayla Classic. Richard Mullen, who donned the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed for the owner's first win of the President's Cup, retains the ride. "Richard rode a well-judged race on him," said Deeb. "He was available and we didn't want to change a successful combination.
"The distance is a bit sharp but Richard and Jarnin should be able to handle it well." Jarnin has won six times and finished either second or third 10 times in his 20 career starts. He made an impressive local debut but will have another tough assignment against Quaolina, the defending champion of the race, the Omani raider Mutafani and the 2007 UAE Arabian Derby winner Shadiyda. Quaolina has come into the reckoning following her superb win in the Group Two Baniyas over six furlongs on Tapeta at Meydan on February 19 after a couple of defeats in the National Day Cup on reappearance and sixth behind Mutafani in the Al Ruwais Sprint.
The champion trainer Doug Watson's Kerbella, under Richard Hills, stands a good chance along with Mutafani and Shadiyda, the second entry in the silks of Sheikh Mansour. Deeb can enjoy a double on the night with Najem Al Khalij in the preceding race, the Emirates Colts Classic for four-year-old colts bred in the UAE. The bay colt by Bibi De Carrere was beaten for the first time in three career starts when he returned from more than two months after recovering from sore shins in the Group Three Arabian Triple Crown Round Two last week. Deeb added: "He has come out well from his last start and fancy his chances. He is a young horse with a lot of potential and with room for improvement." firstname.lastname@example.org