RB Money To Burn and AF Alwajel meet in a rematch in the Group 2 Baniyas, the first race for the Purebred Arabians at the Meydan Racecourse, in the mixed seven-race card on Thursday.
They hold a 1-1 record in their two meetings and have only finished out of the first three once each in their careers.
The Eric Lemartinel-trained RB Money To Burn has won five of her seven starts, including victory in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1, in which AF Alwajel finished fifth, in January.
Ernst Oertel’s five-year-old son of AF Al Buraq had to deal with a wide draw in gate 14 that day, and he avenged that defeat over Lemartinel’s mare in his next start in the Group 2 Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi in March.
AF Alwajel has to deal with a wide draw in gate 10 but it doesn’t appear to be as bad as on his previous meeting with RB Money To Burn who starts from gate 5.
RB Money To Burn is the highest rated (117) in the 15-runner field and carries a penalty (4kg) for her Group 1 success.
“She is doing very well in her training and has a penalty in a tough race, but should really have a nice chance,” Lemartinel said of the five-year-old daughter of Majd Al Arab.
AF Alwajel has a similar profile with four wins and runner up thrice in his eight starts. He is the choice of the Emirati owner-breeder Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda’s retained jockey Tadhg O’Shea.
“Our horses are on the whole in good form and running well which is obviously a positive sign,” said Oertel, who is double-handed in the race with AF Al Sajanjle.
“These are two good horses and it is exciting to have two good shots at a big race.”
The Rated Conditions stakes is the highlight of the remaining six races for the thoroughbreds.
Doug Watson is triple handed in the race. His stable jockey Pat Dobbs who returns from a leg injury has chosen Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Fanaar from the Red Stables trio.
Sam Hitchcock, the stables other jockey, rides Galvanize while Adrie de Vries is on board Thegreatcollection.
“It is good to have Pat back obviously and he picked Fanaar who has had a run whereas this looks a good spot to get the other pair going,” Watson said of his entries. “All three are in good form and go there with some kind of chance in an open race.”
Dane O’Neill, the retained jockey for Sheikh Hamdan has opted to ride Alkaamel, one of the first runners of the campaign for Musabah Al Muhairi.
Connor Beasley is atop Sheikh Hamdan’s third runner, Hakeem, trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe.
The UAE champion trainer Satish Seemar sends out George Villiers with O’Shea in the saddle.
“He was a carnival winner for us last year, but that was over 2,000m and this 1,600m is perhaps on the short side for him now,” assistant trainer Bhupat Seemar said. “However, he seems in good form, training well and it is a good chance to give him a race.”
Completing the eight-runner field is Salem bin Ghadayer’s Daily Bulletin, a former inmate of Al Raihe’s Grandstand Stables.
“We ran him at Jebel Ali [October 30] almost as a fact finding mission because he had not run for two years and we were pleased with him [finishing fourth],” he said.
“Thursday’s looks a hot race, but the horse has shown us plenty of ability at home, so will see how he goes.”