RACING fan Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) links up with local expert Abdul Ahad (@abdahad007) to pinpoint the best horses to keep track of in Meydan/UAE this season.
Meydan/UAE horses to follow in 2019/20
For the vast majority within the racing public, the onset of winter months means the ending of the turf flat season and the beginning of the ‘proper' jumps season. Whilst I respect and enjoy the action both of those codes produce, for me October/November means the start of another five months of racing action in the UAE, and especially at Meydan.
I've felt that way since first setting my eye on the racing from Dubai in 2010 and now every year I look forward to the new season with more excitement and interest, anticipating watching and finding out which horses will excel in the domestic season and then which stars will appear for the Dubai Carnival.
The racing season at Meydan is truly fascinating as it provides variety and develops in quality as the season progresses; the first two months are the platform for the domestic trained horses to show what they've got and then from January onwards the Dubai Carnival kicks into top gear with the best from around the world battling for millions of dollars with an incredible $35m+ available on Dubai World Cup day, a sensational days racing.
Throughout this season I'll be doing my best to do updated pieces with views on horses that have impressed and potential targets. But right now here's my initial list of Meydan/UAE horses to follow:
220,000 AED was the sales price that connections had to go to secure the purchase of Drummore and this former Andre Fabre trained four-year-old Dubawi colt is clearly a very exciting recruit to the Meydan/UAE scene for trainer Helal Al Alawi.
Ten career starts including wins on both turf and the all-weather in France, means Drummore starts off in the UAE with a rating of 95 giving connections genuine Carnival hopes and plenty of options to consider.
Dark Of Night
Another interesting Dark Angel offspring to keep an eye on here as connections secured the former Saeed Bin Suroor trained two-year-old for 100,000 AED, experience of three all-weather tracks and a turf run gives connections options and his opening rating of 75 allows the opportunity to compete and progress.
Mass Media new connections had to go all the way to 280,000 AED at the recent Dubai Sales to secure this two-year-old by Exceed And Excel, five career runs when with John Gosden and experience of both turf and all-weather to build upon make him an exciting prospect to follow now in the care of Sateesh Seemar, a rating of 78 should allow him to do well.
Formerly owned by Al Shaqab Racing and trained by Hugo Palmer, this four-year-old gelding by Teofilo is a very interesting contender for the Meydan/UAE racing scene with proven winning form on the all-weather at Chelmsford over one mile and on turf over one mile two furlong at Newbury.
Dukhan is rated 90 for both turf and dirt and so will have plenty of options when ready to race for new trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash.
Autumn Pride being formerly trained by Mark Johnston should mean this three-year-old colt by Teofilo will be well prepared to race and new connections were certainly excited to buy him at the recent Dubai Sales.
An opening rating of 75 should give him plenty of scope to do well in Meydan/UAE and with experience of both all-weather and turf racing connections will be hoping he can become a Carnival horse in time for new trainer Helal Al Alawi.
New connections were delighted to attain this four-year-old son of Shamardal from trainer Mick Appleby and he's another hope for trainer Helal Al Alawi to have plenty of fun with.
Three wins in ninw career starts for Mick Appleby, all at Southwell with two over one mile and the other over seven furlongs gives Space Bandit the right kind of profile for Meydan whilst his rating of 87 gives him plenty of scope to do very well.
Watching Phoenix Thoroughbreds get into the Meydan racing scene has been great to see and this former Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sea The Stars colt is a fascinating recruit for new trainer Salem Bin Ghadayer.
Only being a three-year-old and having just four runs on the board gives Dilmun Dynasty plenty of scope for improvement, he has experience of all-weather and turf racing so gives connections options and an opening rating of 73 should give him the chance to go well in Meydan.
Phoenix Thoroughbreds and Salem Bin Ghadayer team up again here with another fascinating recruit to the UAE in the shape of this three-year-old colt by Scat Daddy.
Trained by Martyn Meade in the UK, King Ademar didn't win in seven starts on the flat but he was second four times and showed more than enough to believe he can win races in Meydan, as long as he adapts to his new surroundings a rating of 90 should mean connections can aim for Carnival races.
Top Meydan/UAE trainer Sateesh Seemar made one his big moves at the Dubai Sales via a 160,00 AED cheque to purchase this son of Dubawi.
Sateesh Seemar knows what it takes to turn former Godolphin horses into Meydan stars and he'll be hoping a rating of 73 gives Meqdam real scope to improve on what he showed in three runs for Saeed Bin Suroor.
Spirit Of Light
To date only one career start on the all-weather at Kempton for this two year old son of Dark Angel but new connections were very excited to get him at the sales and talked of him being ready to go when the Meydan season starts, very much everything ahead of him and will be fascinating to watch how he adapts to racing in the UAE.
Now here are the thoughts of Meydan enthusiast Abdul Ahad:
Beachcomber Bay progressed very nicely at the end of the last season and looks like will develop into a nice sprinter for a yard that have dominated sprint divisions at Meydan with the likes of ReynaldoTheWizard and Raven's Corner.
Rated 90, he is not far away from running into Group races in the Carnival and will surely be a factor in those early season handicaps.
Doug Watson always shows dominance when it comes to Meydan and has a nice bunch of horses at competitive marks. Big Brown Bear shaped promisingly in his runs last year and improvement looks on the card. Galvanize produced some excellent runs last year and one would think that with a good low draw, he could be very good and goes well fresh.
Obviously, Muntazah and Kimbear could once again prove vital in the mile division whereas it would be interesting to see Drafted after a pretty successful season last year. Martial Art just ran once at Meydan in a maiden finishing a close second behind Superior but unfortunately was ruled out due to an issue. It could be worth keeping an eye on him on his return back.
Some other horses to consider from his yard would be Illusional rated 81 and Mightily rated 73 and 77 on dirt and turf respectively.
Phoenix Ladies Syndicate enjoyed a prolific season last time out and have a handful of very interesting two-year-olds. Now Now Ladies seems a well bred filly boasting a US Pedigree.
Also, the unraced Jukebox King looks a smart colt by First Samurai and would seemingly go well on dirt. It wouldn't be a surprise to see these two-year-olds contesting their maidens on the opening night of Meydan and would have UAE Derby as their long term target.
Lady Parma trained by Satish Seemar ran creditably in her races as a three-year-old and relished the dirt surface. She could be an even better four-year-old and could pretty much progress through the ranks to get into those Carnival races.
One to note would be Inverleigh, an Irish import who is under the care of Salem Bin Ghadayer. Rated 104, connections would be keen to try him on the dirt before considering the turf options later in the season.
Galaxy Road trained by Musabeh Al Muhairi was very lightly raced but showed a lot of potential in his two runs. Yet to win, he would be winning his race very soon before getting into those handicap races.
Phoenix Thoroughbred's Pocket Dynamo is another exciting prospect and could well be given the green light to race on dirt especially due to his US dirt pedigree. Already rated 103, the listed Garhoud Sprint could well be on the agenda.
Other horses to watch out for would be Magic Illusion, Loughmore, Blockchain, Welsh Lord and Rio Angie.
So with the starts of the Meydan/UAE racing season just a few days away, I hope you find these thoughts to be useful and interesting. Here's hoping for another fascinating and interesting season.