x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Lover Boy and Aamaaq look set to strike

Lover Boy is in a handy mark to strike for the trainer-jockey partnership of Doug Watson-Fernando Jara at the Nad Al Sheba racecourse.

Abu Dhabi // Lover Boy is in a handy mark to strike for the trainer-jockey partnership of Doug Watson-Fernando Jara in tonight's first of the two featured races at the Nad Al Sheba racecourse. The five-year-old gelded chestnut son of Alhaarth has run three times and improved in every start, finishing a good third behind Emirates Line over the 1,800-distance in his last start a fortnight ago.

He is in a good handicap mark and the longer trip would suit his style of running in the Al Leisureland Handicap rated 75-plus. The stable companion Arqaam, Pearly King and Marriaj are the others of note. Aamaaq too is in a favourable mark to complete a hat-trick half an hour later. The Ali Al Raihe trained five-year-old under Royston Ffrench is in great form, defeating Mannjal by more than four lengths on his reappearance and following up with an equally impressive two lengths win over Bold Glance over the course and distance three weeks ago.

He meets some stronger rivals in which Tasdeer, in the same silks of the owner Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the choice of the retained jockey Richard Hills, heads the challenge on his Emirates debut. Roman's Run, another from the Watson yard, and Abdulla bin Huzaim's entries, Street Talk and Upton Grey are also expected to mount a challenge in the Al Leisureland Mile. The stable jockey Ahmad Ajtebi has opted for Street Talk, who was an impressive winner of a maiden in only his second career start, which leaves out the more experienced Upton Grey as the stables second choice. Dhruba Selvaratnam's stable is in fine fettle and the Jebel Ali boss can score a double with Dig Gold and For Once.

Blues Ballad can bounce back for Satish Seemar after losing his chances of making two-out-of-two when he hung badly in the final furlong. Mike de Kock's Tayyab and bin Huzaim's Plavius are the dangers. Saifaldin Deeb's Nadir Du Bac can take the opener, a handicap for Purebred Arabians. apassela@thenational.ae