The third and final leg of the Triple Crown rounds out the season at Abu Dhabi and it could be a sense of déjà vu with the green silks of National Stables being carried to victory. Twelve months ago, it was Izadi Star, and this time around it could be another star in the making in the form of Joe Star who comfortably landed Round 2, over 2200m, on what was just his second local start for Helal Alalawi.
His first had also been a winning one, and whilst he carries a small penalty in this 2400m Group Three contest, it shouldn’t be enough to stop him. Even if it does, his stablemate, RB Kingmaker, could be well placed to swoop, particularly if running straighter than he did when third last time. He comfortably won Round 1 of the Triple Crown over 1600m and expect him to put up a bold show.
If one is to spoil the Alalawi party then it will undoubtedly be RB Stryngs Attached who has progressed with each run and arguably has more improvement in him after just the three starts. That extra experience when second to Joe Star last time shouldn’t be lost on him and he may well close the near three length gap that was between the pair on that occasion.
Bhupat Seemar will effectively need to win the Thoroughbred race to keep his title hopes alive but none of his charges make any particular appeal and it could be that Doug Watson’s One Idea seals the deal for the American. Both trainers are predictably well represented but One Idea has the most compelling claims having been given a couple of months off since finishing fifth to First Winter at Meydan Racecourse.
He possibly isn’t the easiest of rides but a first run at Abu Dhabi could prove to be the ideal motivator and this strong traveller should appreciate the tight nature of the track. Mudaarab could spoil both parties with the 9yo shaping as though back in some sort of form last time and a further drop in the weights has enabled him to drop into this class of race.
All talk of championships won’t go away until after the final meeting at Al Ain as Ernst Oertel could still have a say, winning five or six races out of the 17 available Purebred Arabian contests by no means out of the equation given the numerical fire power he will have over the last three meetings. That said, the three handicaps on this card are fiercely competitive.
A few of the Oertel runners in the 0-80 for UAE-breds will need to bounce back but not so AF Al Baher who has found some form despite his advancing years. He has been placed on his last two starts, albeit fairly well beaten last time, and a similar performance will see him involved again if a touch vulnerable to younger legs.
Those younger legs are supplied by Farah Al Wathba who has shown steady improvement in three outings and can make her handicap debut a winning one. She is no star, but represents a stable in fine form and gets to run here off a very low weight. Bshara should appreciate the ease in grade in the 1400m 60-95 handicap and can gain a deserved victory after a somewhat frustrating season.
She has hit the frame in four of her five starts with her only notable disappointment coming in a Group Two last time. This 1400m could stretch her but that really is the only negative. Also keep an eye on Barjah who has raised his game all season and may do so once again. The other handicap on the card is over 1600m and this can go to Qaiss Aboud who has ended the season with a flourish and his AF Heraqle has been the epitome of that. Having finished runner-up twice, he got his head in front last time and it would be no surprise if he defied a 7 lb rise.
Race 1: AF Alhazem
Race 2: Bshara
Race 3: AF Heraqle
Race 4: Farah Al Wathba
Race 5: Joe Star (Nap)
Race 6: One Idea (NB)