Meydan, Dubai, Saturday 3/5 Preview

Profile Picture: Lauren Magill

Lauren Magill

March 4th, 2016

Laura King, a presenter for the Dubai Racing Channel, previews the card at Meydan, Dubai on Saturday.

Gerald Mosse has ridden more than 50 Group I winners, including in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Melbourne Cup, but he’s never won Meydan’s Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal, something which should change on Saturday – Meydan’s ‘Super Saturday,’ to be exact.

His horse, Rich Tapestry, has won it before though, being successful two years ago under Olivier Douleuze. Now he attempts to become the first horse to regain the title, and rivals stand in his way, three of whom he beat last time. Michael Chang’s charge is two from four at Meydan, and as equally at home on the dirt as he was on the previous Tapeta. What he doesn’t like, is turf.

“I rode him in Hong Kong when he was preparing for the international meeting there and he was nothing like he is here, he doesn’t seem comfortable on the turf,” said Mosse. “Here, he’s a totally different horse.”

If Saturday’s race proves a formality, is Rich Tapestry still good enough to win the Group I Golden Shaheen, at the age of eight? His jockey has reservations.

“I think so, against these horses, but we will definitely face some stronger ones on World Cup night,” says Mosse. “But he’s going well and is a happy horse, so hopefully he can keep on making us happy, too.”

Kifaah and Muarrab are no slouches, but it should be plain sailing for Rich Tapestry
[Meydan, 13.35] and he’s the pick.

The official feature, the Group I Maktoum Challenge, has been contested by the eventual World Cup winner five times, and Godolphin have used it well. Therefore their Watershed [Meydan, 14.55] must be respected, with the step up to ten furlongs looking sure to suit. Mubtaahij is “90 to 95 per cent fit,” this time according to Mike De Kock and he is sure to improve on a lacklustre return last time. Keen Ice, the Travers winner, should take all the beating on ratings, but the tempo of the race isn’t certain to suit this strong finisher, and this can stay closer to home.

Tryster’s impressive Group 3 win last time will make him all the rage for the Group I Jebel Hatta, over the extended mile on turf. His closing fractions were impressive, but he didn’t beat a great deal, so he’s worth taking on with Ertijaal [Meydan, 15.30]. De Kock’s Cape Derby winner hated dirt last time and was looked after by Paul Hanagan, so a return to the form that saw him run an excellent second in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya should see him go close here. Stablemate Johann Strauss, unlucky last time, is another for the shortlist.

The Group 2 City of Gold is a prep for the Sheema Classic, and is a strong race in its own right this year. King George winner Postponed is sure to go well for Roger Varian, although may not be fully wound up, having been off since winning the Prix Foy in September. Preference, therefore is for Alain de Royer Dupre’s Hong Kong Vase third Dariyan [Meydan,14.20] who has an impressive profile and might be able to cause a minor shock.

Doug Watson believes his Cool Cowboy would have beaten Maftool with a better draw last time, so he’ll have been pleased to gain the three post in the Group 3 Burj Nahaar, and Pat Dobbs’ mount has every chance. However, Le Bernardin [Meydan, 13.45] is back at level weights and didn’t run at all badly in a hot Firebreak Stakes last time, despite jockey Tadhg O’Shea’s belief that he “felt a little flat.” A Group 2 winner over course and distance, he should be too good here if back on song, which his jockey believes he is.

With Ertijaal (IRE) sitting out the Group 3 Meydan Sprint, Jungle Cat [Meydan, 13.10] can take advantage for Charlie Appleby, who has had an excellent Carnival. The selection was impressive over six furlongs on his Meydan debut, showing enough speed to suggest that this drop down in trip won’t inconvenience him. Dual Group I winner Goldream is feared, as is last year’s winner Sir Maximilian.

The opening Listed Al Bastakiya is the second leg of the UAE Triple Crown, which Market Rally could still complete if winning this and the UAE Derby. Dhruba Selvaratnam’s colt  is far superior on ratings, but it is worth taking a chance on Blue Creek [Meydan, 12.00], whose handicap defeat (against elders) looks better in light of winner Active Spirit’s progression since. Appleby’s well-bred colt doesn’t do anything very quickly, but can be ridden to arrive late on the scene and deny likely leader Market Rally.