RACING fan Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) pinpoints the best horses to keep track of in Meydan/UAE this season.
Meydan/UAE horses to follow in 2020/21
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 2020/21 season, primarily horses recently sold to race in the UAE:
600,000 AED was the final bid needed to secure the formerly Godolphi-owned and Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old Dubawi gelding to his new home at top UAE trainer Sateesh Seemar's yard.
600,000 AED is obviously a big fee but Discovery Island is a fascinating recruit to race in the UAE on the back of five runs in the UK, placed second twice and third twice from 7f to 1 mile 1 furlong with experience of turf and all-weather racing.
Discovery Island was held in quite high regard in his early days, including being 2/1 2nd favourite in a race won by Palace Pier, he clearly has talent and is with a trainer who can develop him to do well in the UAE.
BARBER OF SEVILLE
Trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash has a very interesting and exciting addition to his squad for the new UAE season with this former Godolphin owned and John Gosden trained two-year-old Kodiac gelding secured at the recent sales.
440,000 AED was the final price that sees the 7 furlong Catterick maiden winner move from the Gosden yard to the UAE and I think he's a horse who with a lot of potential to do well with his rating of 76 giving him plenty of scope for improvement over time.
Not many horses have been owned by both Coolmore and Godolphin but that is the scenario with this five-year-old gelding by Camelot and I think new connections can have fun with him at Meydan this season.
Lucius Tiberius already has experience of racing at Meydan and should be able to produce more this season, he finished last season with a solid 3rd in a good Meydan Carnival 1 mile 2 furlong handicap and rated on 102 he should be in the mix in plenty of the Carnival turf handicaps this season, on that his sales fee of 90,000 AED looks fair value.
Horses by Dubawi are always very popular at the Dubai sales and that was again the case with the formerly Charlie Appleby-trained three-year-old gelding Tolmount who went to Salem Bin Ghadayer for 380,000 AED.
Tolmount is something of an unknown quality given he's only had two career starts over 1 mile at Wolverhampton and Lingfield, that second start was back in January but the winner did win again next time and clearly only two runs means there has to be more to come in time.
Continuing the trend of formerly Godolphin owned Dubawi three-year-olds going for big money at the Sales top trainer Sateesh Seemar sealed the deal for Imperial Empire at 460,000 AED.
Imperial Empire hasn't raced since October 2019 but he did show promise in five runs as a two year old including finishing 2nd behind stablemate Al Suhail who went on to run in the Group 1 2000 Guineas and won a Listed race in July.
Sateesh Seemar clearly believes in him and it will be fascinating to watch him develop in the UAE and he should be able to go well past his current rating of 76.
Top UAE trainer Doug Watson has a history of excelling with recruits sent to him by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum and in Mutamaasik I believe he's got another exciting one to have fun with this UAE season.
Formerly trained by Roger Varian in the UK, Mutamaasik achieved four wins from nine career starts, eight of them over 7 furlongs + his final UK start in a top class 1 mile handicap at York that featured the likes of Sir Busker and Montatham.
Mutamaasik has experience of turf and all weather surfaces so should give Doug Watson plenty of options and good Carnival targets to aim at with his initial rating of 98.
Trainer Ali Rashid Al Rayhi will be delighted to have been sent the three-year-old Oasis Dream gelding Eshaasy by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum for this UAE racing season.
Eshaasy had seven starts over trips from 7f to 1 mile for John Gosden including two wins, one on turf and one on the all-weather, it was his turf win at Sandown that saw him be very well backed for a very strong Ascot handicap and he did very well to finish a solid 5th behind classy types like Blue Mist, Cliffs Of Capri and Chiefofchiefs.
Eshaasy will start life in the UAE off a rating of 92 and should have more improvement to come so could well be a solid Carnival race contender for connections to enjoy.
Salem Bin Ghadayer will be looking forward to getting to work with this three-year-old colt by Oasis Dream after showing promise in four runs for John Gosden in the UK.
Nova Roma had one run as two year over a mile and then three runs at 1 mile 2 furlongs as a three-year-old, he won a maiden at Windsor and finished off in England by running a fair third in a Class 4 handicap at Doncaster.
Starting off from a rating of 80 should give Salem Bin Ghadayer room to work with and improvement to bring out of him, will be fascinating to see how he takes to racing in the UAE.
Erwan Charpy knows how to train winners in the UAE and in Alkhat he's been sent a very interesting recruit from the John Gosden yard by owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Alkhat is a lightly raced three-year-old gelding by Oasis Dream, only three runs to date including a win over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton, his experience of the all weather and turf should serve him well in the UAE and he has every chance of being well above his initial 80 rating in time.
LAW OF PEACE
120,000 AED was the price that top trainer Sateesh Seemar had to go to to secure the former Godolphin owned three-year-old gelding by Shamardal and I think that could prove to be one of the best buys from the Dubai Sale.
Law Of Peace showed plenty of promise and talent in four runs for Charlie Appleby, made his debut in an Ascot maiden that has produced plenty of winners, ran second to the well regarded Highest Ground and had his last run in the UK when second in a 1 mile contest at Kempton that produced several winners.
Proven on both turf and all weather surfaces, Law Of Peace should be the type to excel in the UAE, a rating of 82 combined with the training skills of Sateesh Seemar should be a combination for improvement and success.
They are the 10 horses recruited from the UK to race in the UAE that I'm most interested in but other horses recruited from the UK to race in the UAE who should be interesting to watch progress include the likes of – Making History, Al Mureib, First Contact, Ice Cave, Verboten and Royal Castle.
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.