x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Simpson colt back on his home turf

Jazeerat Alsadyaat failed in England, but his trainer is still confident

ABU DHABI // Rod Simpson, the UAE's leading trainer for Purebred Arabians, has strong claims in the featured Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Festival Zayed the First Arabian Cup with Jazeerat Alsadyaat in tonight's opening meeting in the capital. The Darike colt did not live up to his handler's expectations on his trip to England during the summer, unplaced at both Newbury and Ascot in Group 2 and Group 1 races. "He didn't acclimatise to those conditions and will be better at home in the sunshine," said Simpson.

"We'll try him with visors in this race. He has beaten most of the entries in this field and I don't see why he can't to do it again." Simpson is double handed with Jazeerat Alsadyaat, who will be ridden by the apprentice Charles Eddery, a nephew of the former British champion jockey Pat Eddery, and Le Gusta Baila, a winner of two races, ridden by the American Paul Devlin. The Gillian Duffield-trained Royal Class in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, is returning to a distance he has won over on this course, and will pose the greatest threat. However, the Kesberoy colt finished behind Jazeerat Alsadyaat in two starts over the 2,200 metres distance.

The opening two races will see first-time runners, and Simpson fancies Jowharat Al Asayl in the 5pm opener. He is also going for Mujtahid in the third race, a 0-60 handicap. "She [Jowharat Al Asayl] is a nice filly and should go well," he said. "Mujtahid is an interesting horse. He is top weight because he's the best in the field. He has improved over the summer and should run a good first race."

Rafed carries the hopes of the trainer Eric Lemartinel. The six-year-old by Tahar De Candelon, a winner over the course and distance, poses the main challenge to Mujtahid, along with Musabah al Muhairi's AF Qa'ed. "Rafed has run in stronger company and he is in good shape for his first race of the season," said Lemartinel. The Frenchman expects the newcomers Sharkasi and Naseem Al Reef to run well in the second race and Shaymaa to break her duck an hour later.

Mutanaseb looks the pick in the final race for the thoroughbreds. The return to the turf will suit the six-year-old gelded son of Mr Greeley, with Ibn Batutta and Simpson's Desert Streak the threats. @Email:apassela@thenational.ae