Meydan magic takes place once again on Sunday with a seven race card featuring some classy types knocking on the door for their shot in the World Cup Carnival.
The card gets underway at 6pm with four races on the turf track, and four worth AED95,000 in prizemoney, with big fields throughout the evening and a maiden The Lincoln Corsair Race for those yet to taste sweet victory.
Off the back of his sixth Zabeel Mile victory Charlie Appleby will prepare his 4YO Sense of Wisdom in the Lincoln Navigator handicap over 1800m.
He is the top rated hope in this one and William Buick gets the ride after the gelded son of Shamardal finished eighth last start over the mile last week. In his fourth start he will look to return to the winners yard after his only other win from three starts being at Newmarket in June last year.
The Ahmad Bin Harmash trained hope Gareth will be freshened after winning two weeks ago at the track under Ray Dawson, who retains the ride in this start. Dawson continues to show his class in the saddle sitting fourth on the jockeys championship ladder but in pursuit of fellow Irish hoop Pat Dobbs who is only two wins clear of Dawson.
“Gareth is a good horse, he wasn’t beaten far last year on the turf and then this time, first time on Meydan turf [this season] he won, so we think he’s a horse to follow,” said Bin Harmash.
Former Australian based trainer Michael Costa will be hoping to continue his rise through up the trainers championship ladder preparing the single runner this week in Tahdeed.
The 5YO gelded son of Tamarkuz lines up in the Lincoln Handicap over 1600m on dirt with Jean Van Overmeire returning to the saddle since last partnering the mount in November last year for a second placing by the shortest of margins.
Tahdeed returns 20 days after finishing seventh at Jebel Ali but before that won on the dirt at the track and distance in the Minya Hamriya handicap race.
“Back to Meydan is a plus for him,” said Costa.
“He over-raced a little bit in the run last time at Jebel Ali. If he can carry [top] weight and get a good run in transit then we expect him to be back to his best.”
Bin Harmash and Ray Dawson partner again with the well-bred Vasilakos, a half-brother to UK 2000 Guineas winner Coreobus, in the Al Tayer Motors Handicap over 2000metres on dirt. The 5YO gelded son of Dubawi is stepping out for his Meydan debut, having made a winning start to UAE life at Al Ain in November by a neck with Dawson onboard for the victory also.
“Vasilakos is more of a turf horse but I don’t want to run him against Gareth and First Winter,” said the trainer.
“He’s been off since he won at Al Ain, with some small problems such as tying up. He has been working well but the Al Ain track is different than the Meydan track. We’ll give him a run here and then go to the turf in two weeks. He has a good pedigree but it’s all turf horses.”
Champion ladder leading trainer Doug Watson prepares four hopes in this race who are sure to throw down a challenge to Vasilakos in Verboten, Violent Justice, Carpe Momentum and Mulfit.
Bin Harmash trains two chances in the Lincoln Corsair Maiden, race two, over 1600metres on turf. Al Hajaj, fifth last time out over 1400metres, is the pick of hoop Ray Dawson, while Power Solution makes his debut under Al Balushi.
“Al Hajaj ran good first time out here but he doesn’t show anything in training, so he follows another horse,” said the trainer. “Power Solution we don’t know as it’s first time out. He’s now showing a bit more at home but Ray chose Al Hajaj because he has more experience.”
The best hope for Bin Harmash comes in race four, the Lincoln Nautilus handicap over 2000m with Zucchini. The 8YO gelding will aim to make it two wins in just over a week, having won by 1.25 lengths at Jebel Ali last Saturday.
“It’s a big question mark as he doesn’t go as well left-handed,” said the trainer. “He goes well at Al Ain and Jebel Ali but we’ve decided to run him here as he will have too much weight in a 0-80 at Jebel Ali up the hill.”
Racing starts at 6PM on Sunday.