A busy four-race meeting across four venues is set to mark the UAE’s 51st National Day celebrations.
A seven-race thoroughbred card at Meydan on Thursday kicks off the festival weekend followed by the meetings at Al Ain on Friday and Jebel Ali on Saturday and reaching a climax when Abu Dhabi stages their biggest meeting on Sunday.
The Dh5 million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown for the Purebred Arabians takes the spotlight in the capital’s meeting that also includes the National Day Cup for both the Arabians and thoroughbreds.
The opening meeting at the headquarters in Dubai is highlighted by the Listed Dubai Creek Mile and the Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah Joint Aviation Rated Conditions that has drawn the 2021 UAE 2000 Guineas winner Azure Coast.
The Russian raider won his first two starts at Meydan before being unplaced in the UAE Derby when stepping up in distance on the Dubai World Cup night.
The Pavel Vashchenko-trained Street Sense colt is returning with a similar preparation, with a win under his belt in Moscow in September. Myrzabek Kappushev, who was in the saddle in his last start, retains the ride.
Bhupat Seemar’s Bendoog, under UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea, leads the local challenge.
The Gun Runner colt made a winning debut over the track and trip, and was placed third and twice fourth in his next three starts, including in the UAE Derby over the 1,900-metre trip, well ahead of Azure Coast in his last start.
The Listed Dubai Creek Mile appears a very strong renewal with a case to be made for the majority of the 12 runners.
Doug Watson has a quartet entered with the stable jockey Pat Dobbs electing to ride Sheikh Mohammed Obaid’s Prince Eiji, a well-bred six-year-old gelding by Dubawi who was second and then fourth on his first two starts last season on the dirt surface in the UAE.
He was then well beaten on turf but has proved in the past that he is well capable of a big run on his return from a break, which he is doing here.
The stables' second jockey Sam Hitchcott rides the 2020 winner of the race Golden Goal, the 1,400m track record-holder on the dirt at Meydan and last season’s Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 winner over the track and trip.
Completing Watson’s quartet are Thegreatcollection with Adrie de Vries on board, and Pat Cosgrave atop Everfast.
Bhupat Seemar relies solely on Kafoo, a four-year-old son of the 2008 Dubai World Cup winner Curlin, in the silks of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and the mount of O’Shea.
Atletico El Culano, a 2,400m Group 1 winner in his native Uruguay, will be a first UAE runner for trainer Julio Olascoaga. Now a six year old, the entire son of Alcorano won his most recent start, over 2,000m in June, and adds further intrigue to what promises to be a cracking race.
Salem bin Ghadayer’s Capezzano has also won at the highest level, his moment of glory registered in the 2019 Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 on Super Saturday.