Meydan will stage its third meeting of the season – and the first of two meetings this weekend – with a seven-race card highlighted by an eight-runner 1,200-metre handicap, headed by the exciting Meshakel.
The Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Meshakel looked a talented prospect by easily winning two of his five starts over 1,400m and 1,600m, and was runner-up in the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas, all at Meydan.
Returning for his first race in more than 610 days, Meshakel showed plenty of early pace to finish sixth over the 1,400m distance two weeks ago, and should have benefited plenty for the outing.
The drop in distance should also go in his favour and once he gets to the front under Royston Ffrench, the pair could be hard to track down.
Musabah Al Muhairi saddles seasonal debutant Mutaraffa, to be ridden by Dane O’Neill, the retained jockey for the gelding’s owner Shadwelland, and Vasari.
Mutaraffa was the winner of January’s 1,000m Listed Dubai Dash on the Meydan turf, while Vasari, the mount of Antonio Fresu, has the benefit of a run already this season, finishing fourth in a handicap over this course and distance three weeks ago. He and Fresu won over this track and trip in November last year.
Tadhg O’Shea looks a significant jockey booking by Rashed Bouresly for Tabarak although he will need to bounce back from a tame seasonal return, over 1,400m, at Jebel Ali last Saturday.
Bouresly may have stronger claims with El Baareq, who three weeks ago beat three rivals in a 1,200m Jebel Ali handicap on his second appearance of the campaign. Richard Mullen maintains the partnership.
Doug Watson and Pat Dobbs combine with dirt debutant Wild Majesty in just his second start for the American following his debut for the trainer in February, failing to beat a rival in the 1,000m Group 2 Blue Point Sprint.
He had run twice prior to that in turf sprints during the 2022 Dubai World Cup Carnival, representing France when in the care of Henri-Francois Devin, and making his local debut in the Listed Dubai Dash won by Mutaraffa.
The Ahmad bin Harmash pair, Will To Win and Roulston Scar, complete the line-up, Ray Dawson seemingly choosing the latter with Saif Al Balushi aboard the stablemate.
Sharjah will host its third meeting of the season on Saturday, a six-race card highlighted by the Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Cup, a Dh200,000 handicap for the thoroughbreds run over the 1,700m distance.