Despite the pandemic, Dubai has managed to buck the trend in both quality of horses and prize money. The Al Maktoum Challenge (R1) has always been a toll bell heralding the start of the journey towards World Cup night. Trainers prepare in earnest for their best horses to race on Al Maktoum Challenge night. The 2021 racecard is no less. It features horses from leading local and international trainers such as Saeed bin Suroor, Satish Seemar, Salem bin Ghayader, Doug Watson, Roger Varian and many others.
Here we take a closer look at the field for each race and marking the titans in each along with their significant competitors:
Race1 - Al Furjan By Azizi: Salem bin Ghadayer trained- Important Mission goes head to head against Satish Seemar's in-form Behavioral Bias in the AED 65,000 Thoroughbred Handicap which will be contested by seven other (almost) equally matched contenders.
Race 2 - Dubai Racing Club Classic (Listed Handicap): Dublin Pharoah from the first crop of American Pharaohs, makes his season's debut at Meydan. Trained by Roger Varian the Sh. Hamdan Al Maktoum owned Communique and Lucius Tiberius owned by local owner Sayed Hashish and the particularly in strong Charlie Appleby trained American Graffiti who will be returning to the track after almost a year-long hiatus.
Race 3 - Gr.3 Dubawi Stakes: UAE Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Doug Watson-trained’s Waady goes up against old foe Gr.1 Golden Shaheen hopeful Gladiator King. Other contenders for the race include Musabbeh Al Mheiri trained-Alkaraama, Satish Seemar trained Rodaini and Switzerland among others. The 102 rated bay is a wild card who could throw punches at the last moment and steal the moment away from his peers.
Race 4 - Gr.2 Singspiel Stakes: The horse on a winning streak in this line-up, Charlie Appleby trained-Zakouski goes up against the best in the world including Saeed bin Suroor's Dream Castle and David O'Meara's Gr.1 Queen Anne winning-Lord Glitters.
Race 5: Gr.2 Al Maktoum Challenge: The headline race for this evening is a match of equals with titans such as Doug Watson trained Thegreatcollection who defeated Capezzano during a heated match in the Dubai Creek Mile (L) last month. The popular son of Bernardini will be looking for retribution. Other in-form contenders in the line-up include Doug Watson's Kimbear and Satish Seemar's Roman Rosso.
Race 6 - Gr.2 Al Fahidi Fort: Antonio Cintra trained in-form Almoradi is Gr.3 winner and a Gr.1 placed on his home turf. The son of the top hat will be hoping to secure his Dubai World Cup berth through a series of wins in the DWCC. While Godolphin owned Final Song will make his seasonal debut at Meydan alongside stablemate Land Of Legends and Charlie Appleby trained-D'bai.
Race 7 - Dubai Dash (Limited Handicap): Charlie Hills-trained Equilateral makes his season debut at Meydan defending his 2020 win. The Juddmonte owned gelding cruised to victory against his elders and the connections are hoping for a repeat performance this year as well. Doug Watson's stable star Ekhtiyaar along with Irish Raider Dream Today are the biggest threats to Hills' ambitions.
Click HERE for the complete racecard and race info
|LAST RACE VIDEO|
The Al Maktoum Challenge, Round 1, is a horse race run over a distance of 1,600 metres (1 mile) in January on dirt at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai. It is the first of three races in the Al Maktoum Challenge series which serve as trial races for the Dubai World Cup.