Forjatt takes on fresh faces in Friday feature - GulfToday

Forjatt takes on fresh faces in Friday feature

Horse-5-4

Forjatt is favourite in the strong field of sixteen for the Zabeel Trophy.

Racing at Meydan this week, a rare Friday meeting at the UAE’s flagship racecourse, as well as the very first post Dubai World Cup meeting at the track, is officially highlighted by a 1600m conditions race but also includes a quality 1200m handicap. Both the races are on turf and would have not been out of place at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Sixteen, the maximum number allowed, have been declared for the feature, the Zabeel Trophy sponsored by Emirates Airline, a fascinating 1600m conditions race and including Forjatt, winner of the Listed National Day at Abu Dhabi in December on his first start for Nicholas Bachalard.

An 11-year-old gelded son of Iffraaj, he has been a great servant to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, winning 12 times, a quarter of his 48 career outings.

December’s National Day Cup victory was a second in that 1600m turf feature and he is also a dual winner of the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, the biggest race of the season on the track on which he is trained and in which he was fourth this year. With Chris Hayes in Ireland, Tadhg O’Shea picks up the ride.

“I am really looking forward to getting on a horse who is basically a local legend and must have a decent chance in an open race,” O’Shea said.

South African Mike de Kock saddles the classy duo of Yakeen and Royal Crusade, both making their local debuts and returning having been off the track for an identical 272 days. Yakeen is a Group 3 winner over 1800m in his native country, while Royal Crusade is Group 2-placed over 1600m.

Above N Beyond performed with honour on his three most recent appearances, all at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

Trained by Ahmad Bin Harmash for Sheikh Juma Dalmook Al Maktoum, the 6-year-old Exceed And Excel gelding has not won after ten attempts in the UAE or since September 2016.

Rashed Bouresly is enjoying a good campaign and saddles Ajwad, responsible for a pair of the trainer’s ten victories this season, including over course and distance on his penultimate start before, unsurprisingly, finishing well beaten by Blue Point over 1200m on Super Saturday.

From three Erwan Charpy contenders, Antonio Fresu has opted to ride Mujeeb, one of five in the race set to sport the famous blue and white silks of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, has chosen to partner Royal Crusade for De Kock.

The 1200m turf handicap is a high-quality affair with six of the 14 runners rated highly enough, on turf, to have competed at the Carnival.

The weights are headed by Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Lansky, the mount of Xavier Ziani with Royston Ffrench preferring to ride stablemate High on Life from the Salem bin Ghadayer-trained pair.

A 4-year-old Dark Angel gelding, both Lansky’s career victories have been registered over 1200m and he made a very pleasing local debut when third in the 1400m Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort.

He has not run to that level in four subsequent outings, the two most recent on dirt, but the drop to 1200m looks a good move.

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