Champion Trainer Doug Watson, who celebrated five winners last weekend at jebel Ali when UAE racing returned, pins hopes on Verboten for the 1400m conditions race, the Graduate Stakes.
Racing at Meydan returns on Thursday evening with a seven race card commencing at 7pm, highlighted by a 1400m conditions race, the Graduate Stakes sponsored by Emirates Airlines.
The state-of-the-art Meydan Racecourse will host 22 meetings in their new season.
Meanwhile, Graduate Stakes, a new race this season, is restricted to horses purchased at the Emirates Racing Authority’s Dubai Sales staged in September 2020 or 2021, as well as April 2021, and has attracted a select field of five.
Champion Trainer Doug Watson celebrated five winners last weekend when UAE racing returned and relies on Verboten in this, the mount of Pat Dobbs. The horse had three local outings last season having won once for Godolphin and John Gosden in the UK.
Watson said: “We have gelded him since last season and are hoping that will make a big difference as he was not always the easiest. Hopefully he can at least go close.”
Heading the weights is Melicertes, to be partnered by Tadhg O’Shea in his new role of stable jockey for Satish Seemar at Zabeel Stables. He won twice in France but, like Verboten, was out of luck in three local starts last season.
Arguably the most competitive contest on the card is a 1600m handicap, the emirates com, in which 13 are due to face the starter.
For Watson and Dobbs, local debutant Celtic Striker will attempt to concede weight to his 12 rivals which include his stable companions Double Orb, the mounts of Sam Hitchcott and apprentice Sean Kirrane respectively.
Watson said: “Celtic Striker is a nice new horse this season and one we are looking forward to. He should improve for the outing having been off over a year but we like him.
“Double Orb only ran twice for us last season and showed plenty of promise. He should be capable of a big effort and Sendeed gets in with a nice low weight.
“Hopefully all three can run well in a competitive race.”
The O’Shea and Seemar combination are represented by Miller’s House who would certainly appear to hold decent claims, while Monoski and Royston Ffrench appear the main hope of a Salem bin Ghadayer duo.
The card, for which some members of the public will be present, is sponsored in its entirety by Emirates and all races are on the Meydan dirt surface.
Now an 8-year-old, after 20 starts he has won just once, his final appearance in his native France, over 1,700m on turf, in July 2018. He joined Mohd Ramadan, making a very pleasing local debut in a conditions race over the same 2,000m as Friday’s race.
The Abu Dhabi turf played host to six races on Sunday and UAE champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea landed four consecutive races for a memorable four-timer, including doubles for both Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda and Ernst Oertel.
Racing at Meydan on Thursday features a Stakes race apiece for both the Purebred Arabians and the Thoroughbreds, the latter, the Listed Dubai Creek Mile the most valuable race on the card and attracting a field of 11, including last year’s winner, Thegreatcollection.
Over 1200m on dirt, the surface on which the whole card was staged due to issues with the turf track caused by inclement weather, it was contested by a select sextet but, having raced in the rear, O’Shea took aim at the other five leaving the home turn and found a willing partner.
The committee directed the referees to allow any Muslim player to break the fast during the evening matches during the month of Ramadan.
Lions Led by Upul Tharanga and Tillakaratne Dilshan's breezy half-centuries Asian Lions scored an emphatic seven-wicket victory with 23 balls to spare.
The Team Games Co. in Hatta Sports Club organizes the championship, held annually during the Holy Month of Ramadan, with the support of Dubai Sports Council.