x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Raeaa W'rsan carries Wickham's weight of expectation

Racing returns to the capital tonight after last Sunday's meeting was abandoned for the first time since its inception in 1992 due to the waterlogged track.

ABU DHABI // Racing returns to the capital tonight after last Sunday's meeting was abandoned for the first time since its inception in 1992 due to the waterlogged track. The highlight of tonight's meeting is the ninth running of the Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic for three-year-old UAE-bred Purebred Arabians, the fourth race on the card starting at 6.30pm. It is a wide open contest with a host of newcomers in the 15-runner field. However, the renewal of rivalries between Jaci Wickham's Raeaa W'rsan, and the Rod Simpson pair, Lujian and Jowharat Al Asayl, should make for an interesting contest.

Raeaa W'rsan won by a length-and-a-quarter from Lujian two weeks ago in a seven-furlong encounter. With a furlong more to travel and with the jockey Daragh O'Donohoe in the saddle, Lujian carries Simpson's hopes. Simpson has the best record in the event, having won the prize three times, including Men Abu Dhabi's victory 12 months ago. Tadhg O'Shea retains the ride on Raeaa W'rsan, who has to concede a two-kilogramme all-round penalty as the only winner of a race.

The jockey said: "She is a nice filly. Obviously the penalty makes things more difficult but she should go well." The Emirati trainer, Ali Rashid al Raihe, on the back of a treble at Jebel Ali on Friday, sends out Monte Alto. The five-year-old gelded son of Danehill Dancer looks ready to break his duck from his seven UAE starts in the concluding race for thoroughbreds, a tricky handicap rated 75-100 run over 11 furlongs, which has drawn a maximum 14 runners. Envisage, Weald, Book Of Music and Detonator should also be considered.

Eric Lemartinel has some fancied entries with Albar Lotois setting the ball rolling in the opener, a maiden run over eight furlongs. The Akbar colt has not won in 18 starts but has finished second in his last three races in France before being brought over to the UAE. Raneet and AS Raid in the next two races and Ricardo in the fifth, could also provide the Frenchman with an early Christmas present.

apassela@thenational.ae