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14 drawn for world’s richest Purebred Arabian race
November 09, 2018
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Abu Dhabi: The 1.2million Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (G1 PA), is the undoubted highlight of Friday’s six-race card at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

Fourteen have been declared, including RB Burn, who was first past the post in the two most recent renewals of the world’s most valuable Purebred Arabian horse race.

Contested in its current guise since 2015, the 1600m feature was previously the National Day Cup, which was inaugurated in 1992. Its valuable purse has gained the race much international interest, with only half of the 14 runners this year trained in the UAE. Local horses include RB Burn, owned by Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who won this race impressively in 2016 for Eric Lemartinel. The 6-year-old was then involved in a titanic struggle with Muraaqib last year when attempting to defend his crown with Gerald Avranche on board, eventually crossing the line a neck ahead. The pair bumped close to the line, necessitating a reversal of placing by the stewards.

Pat Cosgrave, who rode in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday on Godolphin’s Best Solution, takes over in the saddle and is clearly looking forward to it. He said: “Obviously conditions suit him and he seems in good nick at home. It looks a strong renewal, but you expect that with so much money on offer.”

RB Burn only ran once more locally last season and has had one start since, when well beaten in Bordeaux in September; a race won by Ahzar, fourth in this contest last year.

The mount of Francois-Xavier Bertras, the 5-year-old is trained in France by Damien De Watrigant, who said: “He won his prep race nicely in France and showed last year that he handles the Abu Dhabi track well.

He has thrived since arriving and he is a bigger, stronger horse than 12 months ago, so we are very hopeful.”

On his previous outing, at Newbury (UK), Azhar was second to Al Chammy in the Jebel Ali Racecourse Za’abeel International Stakes (G1 PA).

Chammy was one of four winners for Olivier Peslier on the prestigious Dubai International Arabian Races card primarily sponsored by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Owned by the Royal Cavalry of Oman, where he is trained by Said Al Badi, the 4-year-old will be ridden on this occasion by Pat Dobbs.

The cavalry’s supremo, Brigadier General Abdulrazak Al Shahwarzi, said: “This has been his target since his victory and Pat Dobbs won on him at Newbury in the summer so knows the horse well.”

Peslier, meanwhile, partners the filly Joudh, one of his four Newbury winners when they landed the Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes (G1 PA) for Yas Horse Racing Management and trainer Didier Guillemin.

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