Abu Dhabi kicks off the weekend’s racing on Thursday with a six-race card that includes the listed Abu Dhabi Championship for thoroughbreds, in which Away He Goes is poised to lead the charge.
The 2,200-metre race has drawn only seven but a quality field that sees Ismail Mohammed's six-year-old gelded son of Farhh taking a drop in class, having been campaigned against some of the top stayers in Europe over the last two summers.
Away He Goes’ penultimate start was in the Group 1 Goodwood Cup, in which he was runner up in 2021. His previous race was in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and the third and final outing over the summer was in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.
This will be his first UAE appearance since he was third in the 2021 Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup over 3,200m at Meydan which was won by Subjectivist.
Trainer Mohammed will be hoping Away He Goes, with Antonio Fresu on top, has a class edge on his six rivals but Ursa Minor, ridden by Ray Dawson for Ahmad bin Harmash, at least on official ratings, is his equal, sharing an official mark of 107.
The five-year-old Sea The Stars gelding won a 1,900m turf Dubai World Cup Carnival handicap at Meydan in February and then contested Group 1 races on both Super Saturday, finishing third in the 1,800m Jebel Hatta, and well beaten in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on the Dubai World Cup card.
Also in the line-up are Mordin, Violent Justice and Wickywickywheels. Mordin won over the track and trip five weeks ago and returns with the advantage of a run this season. Royston Ffrench again rides for Salem bin Ghadayer.
The only three year old among the septet, Violent Justice is making his turf debut, Pat Dobbs aboard for Doug Watson, while Wickywickywheels, as the sole filly, is saddled for the first time by Bhupat Seemar.
The four-year-old daughter of The Carbon Unit won five times between late May and the end of August for Jim Goldie. On three of those occasions she was partnered by Tadhg O’Shea, who is in the saddle here.
The field is completed by El Patriota and New Comedy, for Julio Olascoaga and Ahmed Al Shemaili, respectively, both with a run under their belt already this campaign.
The Abu Dhabi Championship for the Arabians has drawn a capacity field of 16, with eight previous winners among them, including Samurai Alzaman, the most experienced runner in the race and seeking a third success on his fifth start when he will be making his local and turf debut.
A Prestige contest for four year olds, the 2,200m UAE Arabian Derby will also be contested by a maximum field, in this case 14, and looks very competitive, Suny Du Loup and Izmir De Carrere the pair standing out on official ratings.
Meydan host the second meeting on Friday, highlighted by the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial, and Sharjah stages Saturday’s meeting which is highlighted by the GCC Cup for the Arabians.