Feature Story

Plenty to watch out for as action hots up at Meydan

Plenty to watch out for as action hots up at Meydan Nov 24, 2022

By Duane Fonseca Heavyweights of their respective divisions will appear aplenty at Meydan Racecourse Friday night during a fascinating seven race programme sponsored by luxury Swiss watchmakers Longines. Racing gets underway with The Madjani Stakes, a Group Two affair for Purebred Arabians over a 1900m trip, while earmarked as the feature is a handicap that will be contested as a 1200m sprint.

Adding further spice to the evening is the Graduate Stakes, a conditions race over 1400m for horses purchased at the Emirates Racing Authority’s Racing in Dubai Sales. The feature event has attracted interest from connections of numerous Dubai World Cup Carnival scorers and Salem bin Ghadayer’s Meshakel will attempt to concede weight to his seven rivals.

A 4yo Dubawi colt, Meshakel has won twice at Meydan albeit over slightly longer trips and a sixth on his seasonal bow a fortnight ago should bring him up to speed for this assignment. Mutaraffa, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri for Shadwell, has run just twice on dirt, with a course and distance effort here in February 2020 yielding a third place finish.

He does have a penchant for the straight turf chute and scored on the carnival schedule last season when winning the Listed Dubai Dash over 1200m. Making his first appearance this season on dirt might just be a warm-up exercise for the 6yo Acclamation gelding. Al Mheiri has an interesting candidate in the Graduate Stakes in On The Warpath, who won a carnival handicap over this trip, but on turf, way back in 2019 when trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin.

He has failed to replicate that success on dirt, but has a few all-weather wins on his resume from which he could draw inspiration. UAE Champion Trainer Bhupat Seemar dispatches another Godolphin castaway in Royal Mews, the hero in one of his four starts in the UAE, while Ahmad bin Harmash fields Island Rule, who was second in a course and distance affair two weeks ago and will be looking to build upon the promise he showed on debut when posting a dominant win in a 1400m run at the gruelling Jebel Ali track.

Ahmed Al Mehairbi’s Kerless Del Roc will be looking to defend his title in the 1900m PA Group 2 Madjani Stakes, a race he won by five lengths 12 months ago. The 5yo Dahess entire carries the highest rating of 124 which was built courtesy of a narrow second in the $1m PA Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic on Dubai World Cup Day in March, a race in which he was denied in the final stages.

Kerless Del Roc won last year with Fernando Jara in the saddle and the Panamanian is to partner him yet again even as 2021 Dubai Kahayla Classic winner Deryan, trained by Majed Al Jahoori for Yas Racing, arrives for his first run since his seventh place finish in the 2022 renewal.

Al Mheiri’s Rajeh won the PA Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 commandingly in February but flopped a month later in the Kahayla, but the benefit of a run on the turf at Abu Dhabi when eighth in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown Prep two weeks ago should facilitate a much sharper performance here and he should run well.


Race 1: Deryan
Race 2: On The Warpath
Race 3: Hot Cloud (Nap)
Race 4: Made In Dubai
Race 5: Meshakel (NB)
Race 6: Gareth
Race 7: Tahdeed