Feature Story



The last of the Group Ones at the penultimate fixture of the season at the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and, as you would expect, a strong turnout for the 2200m Emirates Championship, the race carrying a prize fund of Dh1 million, of which the winner will scoop Dh600,000.

Last year’s winner Harrab has not been seen in public since and no longer appears to be in training but Somoud, victorious in both 2020 and 2021 is back to try and take the prize for a third time. The amazing Alanudd, who won the race five times in six years, is the only previous horse to reclaim the crown, or perhaps tiara in her case, or win it more than twice.

Fourth last year seeking a third consecutive title, the 9yo homebred entire, trained by Jean de Roualle for Yas Racing did win the course and distance prep for HH The President Cup on his penultimate start before finding only Mujeeb too strong in the big race itself.

The latter, a 6yo Al Asayl homebred, was gaining revenge for a narrow defeat in the prep and will again be partnered by Richard Mullen for Salem Al Ketbi. Chasing home Mujeeb and Somoud was course specialist Hameem who undoubtedly saves his best for this Abu Dhabi turf track but perhaps finds this 2200m slightly pushing him beyond his comfort zone regarding stamina.

That said, he did win the prep for the Jewel Crown over course and distance in November before finishing third in the real thing. Runner-up to Hameem in that November prep was Ashton Tourettes, not seen since finishing ninth in the Jewel Crown. He was runner-up, by just a neck, to Somoud in the 2022 HH The President Cup, failing to snatch the prize when finishing fast but just too late.

His absence since the beginning of December has to be a concern though. Izadi Star, fourth behind Mujeeb, Somoud and Hameem, stays further and should be keeping on at the death. He may well collect a cheque for connections but probably not the main one. At his best, AF Al Bairaq would merit a positive mention but he has appeared mostly out of sorts since denied by Somoud in the Jewel Crown prep of early November 2020.


Race 1: Khalaf Al Wathba
Race 2: Bant Al Emarat
Race 3: Es Sudani
Race 4: AF Kayed
Race 5: Somoud (Nap)
Race 6: Mount Kosciuszko (NB)