Unbeaten Bahar Muscat targets Abu Dhabi Championship and three wins on the spin

Local debutant RB Yas Sir poses main challenge to Omani raider

Antonio Fresu guides Bahar Muscat to victory in Abu Dhabi on December 5. Shutterstock

Antonio Fresu is confident that Bahar Muscat can replicate his victory on the capital’s racecourse in the listed Abu Dhabi Championship for three-year-old Purebred Arabians on Sunday.

The AF Albahar colt took the honours two weeks ago for Omani trainer Ibrahim Al Hadhrami in the Purebred Arabian Cup in Abu Dhabi. That was his second win after making a successful debut in Muscat on January 23.

“That was the first time I rode him and he impressed me with his attitude. This is a much stronger race but looks the obvious next step for him,” Fresu, who retains the ride, said.

The Listed race has been previously won by some good horses, most notably by a subsequent Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic winner, Nez d’Or, in 2000, and more recently, in 2018, by RB Money To Burn who won the 2020 Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1.

The one Bahar Muscat will have most to fear is the local debutant RB Yas Sir. A winner on his first career start for trainer Francis Rohaut in France, he was then second in the Group 2 French Arabian Breeders’ Challenge-Poulains at La Teste De Buch.

He was eighth in the Group 1 Qatar Arabian Stakes at Saint-Cloud in his last start before heading over to Abu Dhabi. He is now trained by Salem Al Ketbi and ridden by Richard Mullen.

“He is a nice, new, young horse in the yard and one we are looking forward to,” Mullen said. “He will improve for the run over a trip that may prove his minimum but we will find out more about him Sunday.”

Itchy De Nacre, a distant third to Bahar Muscat two weeks ago on his local debut for Helal Al Alawi was also behind RB Yas Sir in the aforementioned big race at Saint-Cloud.

With that run under his belt, following his switch from Europe, he might be able to build on that effort.

Abdallah Al Hammadi has three entered with Pat Cosgrave with Golden Years as his choice.

She is one of four fillies in the race, over Indy’s Day, the mount of Bernardo Pinheiro and Gracey, ridden by George Buckell and also a filly, is the only maiden among the Al Hamamdi trio.

The only thoroughbred contest is the concluding 1,400m rated conditions stakes, in which Spirit Of Light is making his third appearance in the capital of the season.

A course and distance winner on his seasonal debut, he was then caught close home over 1,600m in the Listed National Day Cup.

Trained by Erwan Charpy for Sayed Hashish, the Dark Angel gelding again has the assistance of Cosgrave in the saddle as he has on both previous starts this campaign.

Racecard

5pm Warsan Lake — Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Turf) 2,200m

5.30pm Al Quadra Lake — Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m

6pm Hatta Lake — Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m

6.30pm Wathba Stallions Cup — Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (T) 1,600m

7pm Abu Dhabi Championship — Listed (PA) Dh180,000 (T) 1,600m

7.30pm Zakher Lake — Rated Conditions (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,400m

Updated: December 18th 2021, 11:14 AM