Ajraam expected to dominate the feature race at Meydan today
Dubai - Daher gelding return to Meydan in a couple of weeks to take on a strong field of six runners in the 7.35pm TB Handicap Sprint.
Champion trainer Musabah Al Muhairi looked confident that the big jump in rate will not stop Ajraam, Dane O'Neil up, from striking again when the home-bred Daher gelding return to Meydan in a couple of weeks to take on a strong field of six runners in the 7.35pm TB Handicap Sprint, the highlight of the second meeting at Meydan, on Thursday.
Half of the field is dominated by the blue colours of the leading international breeder and owner Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance.
"He returned in a very good condition from his seasonal debut and has been training well since then," Al Muhairi said.
Regarding the big jump of weight, Al Muhairi believes it's a promotion rather than a punishment because his sprinter, as he says, deserves to be considered during the Carnival.
"He's an honest performer and has a good turn of foot. O'Neill gave him a great ride last time out and hopefully Ajraam will continue to impress on Thursday," he added.
Al Muhairi's other runner Ebn Arab is a decent performer and should do well in the race. "Fernando Jara will be onboard and the brilliant Panamanian jockey knows how to add to the horse's capabilities," the ex-police officer noted. Completing the line-up of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the eight-year-old Tamaathul, representing Ali Rashid Al Raihe's yard. Tamaathul will be ridden by the Grand Stables' new recruit Tadhg O'Shea.
Heading the weights is Merhee, formerly trained by Mike De Kock on behalf of Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum before being shifted to Satish Seemar's Zabeel Stables and will be mounted by the champion jockey Richard Mullen.
Merhee's best achievement since arriving in the UAE was when he finished close second to Jameise on the AW track. But he has never figured in the placings since January last year and didn't show any potential on the dirt at Meydan and Jebel Ali.
Not A Given, the second runner of Ali Rashid Al Raihe, has won a small handicap over seven furlongs last season, and narrowly beaten by Pit Stop over a mile, but he doesn't look to trouble Ajraam in this trip.
Leading trainer Doug Watson saddles My Catch under the Red Stables' retained jockey Patrick Dobbs. He's a brilliant performer on turf, but he could find the dirt test too difficult.