ABU DHABI // Majed Al Jahouri, the Emirati trainer, has won all four Group 1 prizes for Purebred Arabians so far this season, all in the colours of his principal owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.
A fifth seems inevitable for the trainer/owner combination as they have the three top-rated runners entered in Sunday night’s Liwa Oasis at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
Heading his trio are the defending champion Rakha, the multiple Group 1 winner Areem and Sardan, a winner of three races in France, in the seven-runner field for the Dh250,000 prize run over 1,400 metres.
Al Jahouri said he thinks “all three” of his entries are in with a chance as he bids to clean sweep the Group 1 prizes for Arabians.
“Areem loves it around Abu Dhabi and it was always the plan to go for the National Day Cup, Al Maktoum Challenge 1 and the Liwa Oasis,” he said.
“He won the National Day Cup well, but things did not really go to plan in the Al Maktoum Challenge [when Areem was unplaced at Meydan].
“The return to Abu Dhabi and turf will suit him, and these are also Rakha’s ideal conditions, while Sardan will definitely appreciate the step up to 1,400m.”
Royston Ffrench, who rode Rakha to victory in the race last year, is reunited with the chestnut mare by Mahabb, while the Godolphin rider Silvestre de Sousa, who was aboard her in the last win, rides Areem.
The Ernst Oertel-trained Wycked, under the UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea, looks the best of the challengers on the evidence of her half-a-length, fourth-placed finish behind Rakha in the Al Ruwais sprint earlier this season.
“We had a bad draw last time and she did well to get as close as she did and, in a few more strides, we may well have won,” O’Shea said of the five-year-old chestnut mare by Burning Sand.
“This is a strong race obviously, but Ernst’s horses remain in good form and she should run a nice race.”
Nymphea Du Paon can complete back-to-back victories in the Arabian Triple Crown Round 3, the main support race, half an hour earlier for the Oertel/O’Shea combination.
She was first past the post in the opening round but subsequently disqualified. The Mahabb filly won last week’s middle round of the Triple Crown in style and will be hard to beat in this seven-runner field over the 2,400m.
“She stayed the 2,200m well last week and was not stopping at the line, so hopefully she will stay the extra 200m. Coming back, over slightly further, just a week later is perhaps a concern, but she is a very good filly,” O’Shea said.
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