Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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Super Bird can propel Daraj into the big time

Dubai: Emirati handler Mohammad Omar Daraj is hoping that TM Super Bird, a former Darley Champion in the United States, can help him break into the big time when she contests the Mazrat Al Ruwayah Prep at Meydan’s special Expo 2020 themed race meeting on Thursday.

Sharjah-based Daraj has not saddled a winner in four years but is confident that TM Super Bird can make amends by beating her ten rivals, including last year’s runner-up Thakif and the perennial danger Bigg N Richh, in the 1,600m event which kicks-off the six-race card at 6.30pm.

“I’m a patient individual, but even by my standards it has been a while since we got lucky at the racecourse,” he told Gulf News on Wednesday.

“I am confident that TM Super Bird can give us the success that is long overdue. She’s a very special horse and we are very lucky to have her.

“Obviously her UAE form has not been as good as it was when she was based in America, where she won ten times, but she’s coming into her own and we’re expecting a big run from her on Thursday.

“She had a few problems after her final race last season where she finished seventh in the Liwa Oasis (G1) at Abu Dhabi. But she’s recovered and is fit and ready to run. We are confident but it is a tough race as well with so many dangers, including Bigg N Richh, Thakif and Awam.”

Daraj also revealed that he harboured dreams of TM Super Bird running in the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the world’s richest Purebred Arabian horse race with prize money of $250,000 (Dh918,250).

“That’s the long-term plan, to be there on Dubai World Cup night,” he added. “But we’ll first have to see how she runs on Thursday, Till then it’s fingers-crossed.”

TM Super Bird swept the Best Older Mare title at the 25th Silver Anniversary of the Darley Awards in 2012.

Meanwhile, former endurance rider-turned-trainer Majed Al Jahouri is mob handed as he looks to spoil Daraj’s party in the Mazrat Al Ruwayah Prep.

The Emirati, who is yet to open his account for the season, saddles several leading chances led by Thakif, who chased home his 2012 winner Dariya, Laama, Awam and Duzar.

“We have been very patient this season and started their training regimes later than before so it has not been a surprise our runners have needed a run,” said Al Jahouri.

“This is an important weekend though and we have to be hoping for a good few days. Thakif needed his comeback run and we know these conditions suit. The penalty makes things more difficult but he is fit and well.

“Duzar also has improved from his return, whereas the other two are having their first starts this season but are as fit and well as we can get them without a run. I am looking forward to running them and to Abu Dhabi on Sunday.”

It would be foolish to overlook any contender from the championship winning yard of Ernst Oertel and in this regards Najm Alemarat commands respect in what has the makings of being a riveting contest.

The best thoroughbred race on the card’s looks to be the concluding Expo 2020 Handicap over 1,900m.

Satish Seemar, who was in red-hot form at last week’s Jebel Ali races where he saddled four winners, is well represented by Antinori, a course and distance winner a fortnight ago and the Thistle Bloodstock Limited-owned Hold The Line, who makes his UAE debut having previously been based with trainer John Patrick Shanahan in Ireland.

The dangers appear to be Musabah al Muhairi’s Ukrainian and the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Sharaayeen.

All six races are named in honour of Dubai’s successful Expo 2020 bid and feature attractive and quality fields.