Dubai World Cup: Dubai Kahayla Classic set for Purebred Arabians

Dubai - The 10-furlong contest on dirt has assembled a solid field of 13 runners.

By James Jose

Published: Fri 26 Mar 2021, 11:03 PM

This is the biggest night for thoroughbred racing with five Group 1 affairs and three Group 2 contests to be run across the dirt and turf surfaces at the Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.

But the Purebred Arabians too holds a special place on the nine-race card on Dubai World Cup night with the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic.

The lone race for Purebred Arabians, the Dubai Kahayla Classic kicks things off with it being the first race in the afternoon.

And the 10-furlong contest on dirt has assembled a nice and solid field of 13 runners, headed by Saudi Arabian raiders Mubasher Al Khalediah and Mutawakel Al Khalediah.

The UAE, one of the leading lights when it comes to Purebred Arabian racing, too has a strong representation with AF Alwajel being one of them.

Trained by UAE-based handler Ernst Oertel, AF Alwajel is the mount of record eight-time UAE Champion Tadhg O’Shea, also a Purebred Arabian specialist.

And Oertel was pleased after AF Alwajel’s work during the past week.

"It’s going brilliant,” said the South African.

“He did his final work last week, nothing serious, but he was great. He’s been doing a lot of extra distance to put some stamina into him and hopefully he turns up on the day. He is in good form and I’m very happy. He has a great draw, and all things are looking good,” Oertel added of AF Alwajel, who has drawn stall one.

Meanwhile, RB Money To Burn, trained by another UAE-based conditioner Eric Lemartinel, is the only filly in this year’s renewal of the race.

"She worked last Sunday and since has just been ticking over nicely,” Lemartinel said on Friday morning

“She cantered yesterday (Thursday) and this morning (Friday) she just jogged. She will do another light jog tomorrow (Saturday) morning before leaving for the races. All is good,” the Frenchman added.

Elsewhere, on the card, the UAE Derby features 14 runners with the winner punching a ticket for the Kentucky Derby. And there are two fillies in the race in Mnasek, saddled by six-time UAE Champion Trainer Doug Watson and Godolphin’s Soft Whisper, the charge of Emirati Saeed bin Suroor.

"Mnasek came out of her UAE Oaks victory in flying form and has always been a nice filly. She broke on level terms for the first time that day so hopefully her issues with the stalls are behind her,” said Watson.

Meanwhile, bin Suroor noted that Soft Whisper had handled her trip to Saudi very well.

"She won two races here in Dubai and in England also. She came back well from Saudi.” bin Suroor said of the three-year-old, who finished fifth in the Saudi Derby.

“Sometimes when horses travel to races they can go backwards, especially the three-year-olds. But she handled the trip very well and it didn’t seem to take much out of her. She is in good form. She’s in here with the colts but she’s tough, we are not afraid to take them on. If she replicates her Guineas performance then we should go close," added the 54-year-old.

KT file photo
KT file photo

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