x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Too close to call between Jaafer and No Risk Al Maury

After competing at Newmarket's July event, the pair will now face off at the Dubai International in Newbury.

The rivalry between Jaafer and No Risk Al Maury will gain another chapter today when the two star Arabians face off in the Dubai International at Newbury.

Jaafer and No Risk Al Maury lit up Newmarket's July meeting last week with a riveting duel in the 1,600m Abu Dhabi Harwood International Arabian Racing Stakes.

No Risk Al Maury bids for his third victory in the International, having picked up wins in 2007 and 2008 when he was crowned champion British purebred Arabian.

Having reached the age of nine, however, his trainer, Gill Duffield, believes that his effectiveness over today's trip of 2,000m has been blunted.

"Of course he stays; he's won the Dubai International before. It is just that as he has got older he has just started to lack the stamina over that distance," Duffield said.

"You saw it in Dubai over the past two seasons. Last year he won two Maktoum challenges at Meydan, but this year he failed to win the race over one mile two furlongs. It is unusual, but he is unusual and of course it depends on the competition."

The Group 1 contest is the centrepiece of Dubai International Arabian Day, an eight-race card of Arabian racing that showcases the breed to a wider audience.

No Risk Al Maury beat Jaafer twice in 2009, but his old rival gained revenge on the biggest stage of all when beating Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's horse in the Kahalya Classic at Meydan 12 months ago. It was a crushing victory, but on turf No Risk Al Maury maintains the upper hand.

Of Duffield's squad, Laafet would appear to hold the best chance in the final handicap, in which she is responsible for four of the nine runners.

"Laafet is a gorgeous horse and is in good form," she said. "I also like Moshahed, who runs in the penultimate handicap."