Hayes-trained Faatinah set for Dubai debut

Regan Bayliss wins onboard Faatinah
Faatinah ridden by Regan Bayliss wins Bobbie Lewis Quality at Flemington in 2016. (Pat Scala/Racing Photos)
An accomplished sprinter in Australia, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Faatinah will make his Dubai debut on Thursday for trainer David Hayes in a US$135,000 1200m handicap, the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi World Class Healthcare Cup.

The two-time Group 2 winner appears ready to roll for his formidable connections, blowing out down the stretch of Meydan’s turf training course on Tuesday morning.

Rated 112, the son of Nicconi will be ridden by Jim Crowley in Thursday’s sixth race and drew the three-hole in the declared field of 14.

“I’m really pleased with his condition,” said Ben Hayes, who shares training duties with his father at their Lindsay Park yard in Euroa, Victoria. “He looks well. We were really pleased before we traveled him over and his work was excellent back home. From what I’ve seen, he’s been working the same over here. He’s a horse with a fantastic fresh record.”

The 5-year-old homebred has not raced since finishing second in the Listed MSS Security Sprint on Nov. 7. Overall, he has a record 4-5-2 from 22 lifetime starts, including a victory on another straight 1200m course in Flemington’s Bobby Lewis Quality (G2) and a runner-up effort in last February’s Oakleigh Plate (G1) at Caulfield. The major objective is the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) over this course and distance in late March.

“It’s all depending on how he runs and if is he hitting the line strong,” Hayes said. “The form is good and we are definitely aiming for that.

“The horse is very special to me,” Hayes continued. “When I first got my training license, he was in Adelaide with me. He was my first Group winner and I used to ride him all the time. If he can win over here, it would be very special.”