Racing at Meydan returns on Thursday evening and features seven races, all on its dirt course. The evening is highlighted by a series of competitive handicaps, as well as a possible preview of the stars of tomorrow in the form of the Longines Ladies Master Collection, a 1600m maiden for 2-year-olds that opens the card.
Syndication is growing in the UAE and the exciting fledgling ownership Phoenix Ladies Syndicate will be defending a perfect 1-for-1 record when its Superior faces five rivals. Phoenix Ladies’ first runner, Walking Thunder, won a similar race over 1400m last week. A son of Majesticperfection, Superior is a half-brother to four winners and boasts the same partnership of trainer Ahmad bin Harmash and jockey Connor Beasley.
“We could not have hoped for a better start as owners and it was all very exciting, but we were pretty confident as our trainer said (Walking Thunder) was working well,” said Phoenix Ladies principal Pamela Cordina “He is similarly bullish about Superior, so fingers crossed (that) lightning can strike twice.”
Among the opposition is Luxor Temple, who is trained by Al Rayhi for the closely associated Phoenix Thoroughbreds. The mount of Fernando Jara and son of Cairo Prince was well beaten behind the aforementioned Walking Thunder last week.
Unraced Lahmoom, trained by Sandeep Jadhav for Alqemmah Racing Team, brings a sharp pedigree, being a son of late sire Exchange Rate out of multiple stakes-winning sprinter Mykindasaint. Xavier Ziani rides from the three post. Jadhav also starts Majed Ali Almarzooqui’s distance-bred Emdad, a $100,000 Ocala sale purchase and son of Kentucky Derby winner Orb from a deep Claiborne Farm female family. Royston Ffrench rides (barrier two).
For the Russian Racing Syndicate, trainer Doug Watson saddles Martial Art, a juvenile colt by Jimmy Creed who sold at Keeneland last year for $120,000. He is the first foal produced by Mag’s Holiday, an unraced Harlan’s Holiday mare. Pat Dobbs rides, but must do so from the disadvantageous rail barrier.
The co-feature of the night is the Longines V H P Collection over 1400m. The contentious handicap has attracted eight runners, including a trio to be saddled by Satish Seemar. The race will go to post at 8:15 p.m. as the evening’s fourth race.
Seemar’s first jockey at Zabeel Stables, Richard Mullen, has elected to ride Mazeed, who receives weight from all his rivals and is seeking a second career victory. Owned by Sheikh Mohd bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, the consistent sort has only twice failed to pick up a cheque from 11 tries.
Reigning UAE champion jockey Tadhg O’Shea is also based at Zabeel this season. He rides Pilgrim’s Treasure, a 1400m course handicap winner on his most recent start in March, which was his sole victory after 11 starts. A son of Dubawi, he is joined in the field by his new stable companion, Way of Wisdom (by Lonhro), who also happens to be his year younger half-brother. The mount of Beasley, he ran four times in England for Godolphin and Charlie Appleby, including a win on debut over 1000m at Newmarket.
Bhupat Seemar, assistant to his uncle, said: “All three are in good form and ready for a run. Mazeed won first time last year and was then very consistent. Way of Wisdom is a nice new horse and we hope he will handle the dirt as his half-brother relishes it.”
Watson, seeking to defend his champion trainer’s crown, supplied four of the seven Meydan winners last week and has two chances in this. His go-to rider Dobbs chose Lytham St Annes over UAE newcomer Lovell, the mount of Sam Hitchcott.
“Lovell, a new horse for new owners, has been working very well on dirt, so we hope he can transfer that to the racecourse,” Watson said. “Lytham St Annes has plenty in his favour and was a good third behind our Thegreatcollection on his first start last season, so we know he goes well fresh.”
Jockey Dane O’Neill, being retained by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had a choice between Shajjy, Mujeeb and Taamol. Ultimately, he chose Taamol, who is trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and has reportedly trained forwardly for this run.
A field of eight has also been confirmed for the night’s second fixture (7:05 p.m.), the Longines Gents Record Collection over 2000m. Watson is again well represented with three runners in the handicap affair. Dobbs will be aboard Tried and True, Sam Hitchott aboard Storm Belt and O’Neill picking up a seemingly nice spare ride on Grand Argentier, owned by EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club).
“Grand Argentier was entered last week in a similar race, but we already had Mizbah and Active Spirit in that,” said Justin Byrne, club spokesman. “Thus, we decided to wait a week, which looks a good decision as this contest does not look as strong.”
First race post time is 6:30 p.m. local time, with the seventh and final race slated for 10:00 p.m.
Photo Caption: Phoenix Ladies Syndicate will attempt to go 2-for-2, debuting another exciting 2-year-old on Thursday at Meydan (DRC/Erika Rasmussen)