Pakistan Star in the spotlight on UAE debut at Meydan

Shamardal gelding running outside Hong Kong for the first time at Listed Entisar

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Race card

6.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (Dirt) 1.600m

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 2,000m

7.50pm: Handicap (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 1,600m

8.15pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 1,200m

8.50pm: The Entisar Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 2,000m

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh 120,000 (D) 1,400m

The aptly named Pakistan Star will be the centre of attention when he makes his UAE debut.

A dual Group 1 winner in Hong Kong and now with the Red Stables trainer Doug Watson in Dubai, he lines up with eight others in the Listed Entisar at Meydan on Thursday.

The seven-year old Shamardal gelding is also running outside Hong Kong for the first time in 27 career starts, and on dirt for the first time.

Watson is double handed in the race as he seeks a fifth win of the prize inaugurated in 2013.

“Pakistan Star has settled in really well and has been a pleasure to deal with," the American said.

“Obviously we need to find out if he handles the dirt in a race; he has worked very nicely on it, but a race is a different matter and we are looking forward to running him."

Pakistan Star is the preference of stable jockey Pat Dobbs while Sam Hitchcock gets on board Watson’s other runner Just A Penny.

Salem bin Ghadayer has a three-pronged attack for the prize, with For The Top the choice of stable jockey Royston Ffrench.

“For The Top is definitely one of our very best horses and ran very well against [Godolphin’s] Benbatl last season and then again in a very good race in Saudi Arabia. We hope he is going to have a very good season,” the Emirati said.

Firnas (Xavier Ziani) and Montsarrat (Ryan Curatolo) are the other two from his yard.

UAE champion trainer Satish Seemar is also double handed with George Villiers and Saltarin Dubai – the choice of stable jockey Richard Mullen.

“We obviously know conditions suit both our horses and Saltarin Dubai has a very good draw [gate 1] which we can hopefully take advantage of,” assistant trainer Bhupath Seemar said.

“George Villiers ran over a mile a fortnight ago and that was on the sharp side for him, so he will be much happier back at 2000m.”

Completing the lineup are Musabah Al Muhairi’s recent winner Casey Jones and Ahmad bin Harmash’s Zaman.

The Garhoud Sprint is the first of the two Listed prizes on offer in Meydan’s all-thoroughbred six-race card on the night.

Watson is again double handed with My Catch and Waady, who rounded off last season with back-to-back turf victories including the Group 2 Meydan Sprint.

However, they both have to deal with the widest draws in gate 9 and 8, respectively, in the nine-runner field over the 1,200m distance.

Dane O’Neill is on board Waady for his main employer Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid when he reverts to the dirt surface.

“The draw is far from ideal for My Catch because he loves racing on the rail, as does Bochart who is drawn much closer to it. He will need some luck, but is ready to run.

“Waady has a hefty penalty [3kg for his Group 2 win], but we need to start him somewhere ahead of the carnival and this is a good spot to do that.”

The aforementioned Bochart, the choice of Mullen from three Seemar runners, was a dual Dubai World Cup Carnival winner over this 1,200m run last season and is well drawn in stall 4.

Leading Spirit with UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea, Switzerland and Behavioral Bias complete Seemar’s challenge.

“All four are in good form and ready to start their campaigns,” Bhupath said.

“We have been very lucky with the draw with all drawn between 1-5. Bochart is going well at home, as is Switzerland [gate 1] who has the best of the draw.

“Leading Spirit seems to be improving as he gets older. Behavioral Bias is probably better over 1,400m, but this is a chance to get him going.”

Race card

6.30pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (Dirt) 1.600m

7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 2,000m

7.50pm: Handicap (TB) Dh 82,500 (D) 1,600m

8.15pm: The Garhoud Sprint Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 1,200m

8.50pm: The Entisar Listed (TB) Dh 132,500 (D) 2,000m

9.25pm: Conditions (TB) Dh 120,000 (D) 1,400m