Jebel Ali is hosting the solitary race meeting this weekend as the country prepares to celebrate the UAE’s 48th National Day.
Friday’s highlight of the seven-race thoroughbred card is a couple of handicaps for horses rated 75-95, the fourth race over the 1,200m and the sixth over the 1,600m trip.
Sure to go well in the first of the two handicaps is Taamol, one of five entries in the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, and the choice of the owner’s retained jockey Dane O’Neill.
The Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained five-year-old Helmet gelding was a short head second to Night Castle over the course and distance four weeks ago and can improve for that run.
The field includes Doug Watson’s My Catch, third in the 1,000m Listed Jebel Ali Sprint on his only visit to this course.
His three local victories have all been achieved in stakes company – most recently the 2018 Group Three Al Shindagha Sprint over 1,200m at Meydan.
“We are very happy with him and he should run well,” said Watson, who also saddles Alfolk.
“It does look a very strong race, but we are certainly hopeful. Alfolk is a new horse for us this season and one we are still learning about, so this will tell us more.”
A dual course and distance winner earlier this year, as well as twice-successful here over 1,400m, Pinter will be having his third start of the campaign for Erwan Charpy who has his string in great form.
“He has had a couple of runs already, so hopefully should be spot on in what looks a very tough race,” the Frenchman said.
Nicholas Bachalard saddles both Call to War, who unfortunately unseated Tadhg O’Shea as the stalls opened on his seasonal return a month ago, and Yalawin, making a local debut having been off the track for 864 days.
“It looks a good race, but assuming he behaves in the gates, Call to War should run well,” the Jebel Ali Stables trainer said.
“Yalawin has been off a very long time and will certainly improve for the run, but we need to see how he fares back on the track.”
Chiefdom was an impressive winner over the course and distance on his reappearance two weeks ago.
Trained by Salem bin Ghadayer and stable jockey Royston Ffrench on board, the four-year-old The Factor gelding receives weight all-round and looks the one to beat on his handicap debut.