Naseem eyes Triple

The middle round of the Dh150,000 Arabian Triple Crown is the highlight at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening with seven set to face the starter in 2200m feature, restricted to four-year-olds and sponsored by Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.

The weights are headed by Naseem who has already won the first leg of the Triple Crown as well as the UAE Derby but has to give weight to his six rivals.

Trained by Majed Al Jahouri, he protects his unbeaten UAE record with last season’s champion jockey Wayne Smith, who was in double form at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon, in the saddle again.

He said: “I was very impressed with his first win over 1600m and he coped brilliantly with the step up to 2200m last time. He has a lot of class and would be potentially one of the best Purebred Arabians I have sat on. He has to give weight away but I am very hopeful he can pass this next test.”

He was chased home in the UAE Derby by stable companion Areem who will again be ridden by Harry Bentley.

The Al Jahouri pair both have to concede weight to Daffagh Al Asayl who chased them home in third time in that UAE Derby.

His trainer Ernst Oertel will be hoping his charge can reverse form in receipt of weight this time with Dubai World Cup winning jockey Mirco Demuro in the saddle.

The Emirates Colts Classic is also restricted to four-year-olds with the maximum field of 16 declared for the 1600m contest.

Mohammed Al Ketbi trains Okba who has won his two most recent starts, including over course and distance, and looks the one they have to beat despite carrying a penalty.

Pat Cosgrave takes the ride and will be hoping to confirm form with Af Sanadek, whom he beat last time and has since won a maiden for trainer Eric Lemartinel.

The penultimate race is a cracking 2200m conditions event with a plethora of horses who have been competing in Group 1 company such as Nirwan, Time Out and Frynchman clashing with the highly progressive Versac PY.

Erwan Charpy trains Versac PY who has been in great form this season and won over 2700m at Sharjah on his most recent start.

He is the choice of Richard Hills, the retained jockey of the owner Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The only Thoroughbred contest is the concluding 2200m prep for the Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship.

That end of season feature was won by Topclas last year for Mubarak bin Shafya and Pat Cosgrave and their six-year-old will be very hard to beat here, even though he is penalised for that big race win last year.

Jutland, trained by Doug Watson and the mount of Tadhg O’Shea could be the main danger after a very promising local debut in an all-weather handicap at Meydan’s Dubai World Cup Carnival.

His stable companion Udabaa, the mount of Richard Hills and Too Much Trouble, for Musabah Al Muhairi and Wayne Smith, look best of the rest.

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