One of the three Thoroughbred features staged annually in the capital, the 1400m AED380,000 HH The President Cup (Listed) is the highlight at Abu Dhabi on Sunday and has attracted a competitive field of 13. Three horses have won Abu Dhabi’s 1600m Listed National Day Cup and followed up in this, something Hawkesbury will aim to emulate with Richard Mullen riding for Satish Seemar.
Ridden by Pat Cosgrave when recording that big race success in December, he has since been well beaten at Meydan’s Dubai World Cup Carnival but, back at Abu Dhabi, still appears to hold leading claims though it should be mentioned he was only 13th, in a full field of 16, behind stable companion Akeed Champion who was entered but not declared this time, 12 months ago.
“We have a nice low draw which should be advantageous and he goes well at Abu Dhabi as a rule. It looks competitive, but hopefully with our horses running well he should produce a good effort.”
Not many Thoroughbred Group 1 winners would have graced the Abu Dhabi turf, but trained by his owner, Fawzi Nass, Krypton Factor becomes the latest with Adrie de Vries in the saddle. The horse’s main claim to fame is winning the 2012 Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, over 1200m on the old Tapeta surface at Meydan, but won, over the same trip, on the Meydan turf last February.
Nass said: “Our horses have been in good form and this looks a good opportunity for him. We think the conditions at Abu Dhabi will suit him and are hoping for a big run.”
Farraaj, trained by Gopi Selvaratnam for Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has been off the track since February 2016.
Winner of the Group 3 Winter Derby, on the all-weather at Lingfield in 2013, he has not win since July 2014 but will be having just his fifth UAE outing, the first of which was in the Group 1 Dubai Turf of 2015.
Selvaratnam said: “Obviously he has been off a long time and is taking on race fit horses, but he has been training well and seems in good form.”
Salem bin Ghadayer saddles both Richard Pankhurst and Manahir, with Xavier Ziani, based with the trainer, aboard the latter, suggesting he is the first choice and finished sixth in a competitive 1400m turf handicap at Meydan’s Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting on Thursday.
The best of the Purebred Arabian action are a pair of Group 2 contests, the 1400m Liwa Oasis and the 2200m Arabian Triple Crown, restricted to four-year-olds. In the latter, Riyam, trained by Said Al Badi in Oman for their Royal Cavalry, carries a penalty after a big race win in England last July.
The return to turf, after four lacklustre outings on the Muscat dirt this season, looks very much in his favour. Goshawk, with Fernando Jara riding for Al Ajban Stables and Abdallah Al Hammadi, could be the main danger.
An hour earlier, the maximum field allowed of 16 are due to take their chances in the Liwa Oasis with Rmmas, trained by Jean de Roualle for Yas Horse Racing Management looking to hold major claims.
Having his fourth local start, the mount of Richard Mullen, he has won his two most recent outings, highlighted by the 1200m Group 3 Al Ruwais, over 1200m at Abu Dhabi, three weeks ago.
He was chased home on that occasion by RB Torch, representing the Al Asayl team of HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Eric Lemartinel. As he was then, he is the mount of Tadhg O’Shea and could well be the main danger on Sunday.