President Cup Prep headlines Abu Dhabi’s six-race card - GulfToday

President Cup Prep headlines Abu Dhabi’s six-race card


13 are in the fray for the prestigious The President Cup Prep, a 2200m race scheduled to be held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Four consecutive days of racing in the UAE will conclude at Abu Dhabi on Sunday with a six-race card highlighted by the HH The President Cup Prep, over the same 2200m as the Group 1 highlight itself and won last year by Jaser for Ibrahim Al Hadhrami.

The 7-year-old entire is back to attempt a repeat, but will be ridden by apprentice Abdul Aziz Al Balushi with stable jockey Szczepan Mazur, in the saddle last year, deserting him in favour of stable companion BF Mughader. Also a 7-year-old, Mazur’s choice will attempt to concede weight to his 13 rivals, the maximum allowed field, as he is penalised for his victory in the Group 1 Emirates Championship over this 2200m in the capital last March.

“Both horses are in good form, but it would be hard to get off a horse you have won a Group 1 on,” Mazur said.

 “He ran well enough on his return over 1600m and the return to 2200m will suit him, but he does have that penalty.”

Chasing home Mazur’s mount on the Emirates Championship was Abu Alabyad, a regular in this race he first contested when winning it in 2015 before following up in HH The President Cup itself. One of three in the race to be saddled by Eric Lemartinel for UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the 10-year-old is the choice of Fabrice Veron and is seeking a first success since that big win in February 2015.This prep was not staged in 2016, but Veron’s mount has finished second in each of the last three renewals.

His stable companions, Nashmee and Darius Du Paon, are also proven Group 1 performers under these conditions and give the Al Asayl team a strong hand.

Fifth in this last year for Abdallah Al Hammadi and Al Ajban Stables, Goshawke then went to Meydan to land the 2200m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on the dirt for which he escapes a penalty.

Trained by Eva Mendez for Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Harrab is another penalised runner, albeit less so than BF Mughader, courtesy of his Group 3 Arabian Triple Crown success, over this 2200m, in the middle of March when saddled by Mohamed Ali.

Others who certainly should not be ruled out include Rmmas, the mount of Tadhg O’Shea for Jean de Roualle and Yas Horse Racing Management, but seemingly overlooked by Richie Mullen, who had the choice of five and has opted for the aforementioned Harrab.

Jim Crowley had four options for Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, in the only Thoroughbred race, a 1600m handicap, opting to partner Tahreek for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi with the owner’s second jockey, Dane O’Neill, choosing stable companion Tafaakhor on whom he won a handicap over 1800m at Jebel Ali on his seasonal debut.

A course and distance winner in December 2018, he should go well for O’Neill, while Crowley’s mount is having just a second local start having won twice for Sir Michael Stoute in Britain, including for Crowley over 1600m at Leicester in September 2018, his latest success.

For owner Sultan Ali, Simon Crisford saddles both Craving and Trolius, the mounts of Connor Beasley and Pat Cosgrave respectively, the latter appearing the yard’s first string.

Mullen, from three Satish Seemar contenders, is aboard King’s Shadow leaving O’Shea to partner local debutant Train To Georgia, winner and second of his two previous career starts in Britain, with Antonio Fresu picking up the spare ride on stablemate Galesburg.

All six races have attracted maximum fields.

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