x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Mulaqat will look for a winning start

The race meeting that was cancelled last Friday following the death of Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmad Al Mualla, the ruler of Umm Al Quwain, has been rearranged for today.

DUBAI // The race meeting that was cancelled last Friday following the death of Sheikh Rashid Bin Ahmad Al Mualla, the ruler of Umm Al Quwain, has been rearranged for today. Mulaqat, trained on the course by Dhruba Selvaratnam, will have his first start of the season with Daragh O'Donohoe in the saddle along with 11 others in the mile handicap feature race. The six-year-old was last seen when winning the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship in March and the suspicion is that this trip is very much his minimum and on turf, his preferred surface.

However, this run should put him spot on for the Dubai International Racing Carnival which starts at Nad Al Sheba next Thursday. O'Donohoe said: "He is a nice horse and it is a nice spare ride." Doug Watson's Mostashaar has not run since Feb 2007 when he came a close fourth in a turf handicap at the carnival. A repeat of that would see him go closer, having been given a chance by the handicapper and his pedigree suggests the unique Jebel Ali dirt surface will not be a problem.

Watson said: "He has been off the track for a while and will improve for the run, but he is as fit as we can get him at home and is ready for the outing." Retained by the horse's owner, Sheikh Hamdan, Richard Hills chose to ride Watson's charge, leaving Erwan Charpy's Great Plains (in the same ownership) to be ridden by stable jockey Tadhg O'Shea. He too is arguably better on turf and ran a pleasing race on his return at Nad Al Sheba three weeks ago.

With the Ali Rashid Al Raihe string in great form, Jaffal cannot be ignored on his seasonal bow, but the lighty-raced Plavius could be the one to beat. A first winner for rookie trainer Abdulla bin Huzaim when losing his maiden tag on Boxing Day, he is a full-brother to Dijeerr. The following mile handicap is restricted to fillies and mares with Selvaratnam's Alo Pura the one to beat having won both her last two starts - albeit over a shorter trip.

@Email:jsullivan@thenational.ae