World's best Purebred Arabians battle it out for Dh5m Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown

23 November, 10:26
The Dh5 million Group 1 Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown is undoubtedly the highlight of Abu Dhabi's third meeting of the racing season on Sunday.

The world's richest race for Purebred Arabians has attracted some of the best of the breed from around the world, including last year's winner Al Shamoos, Mashur Al Khalediah, the highest rated horse in the field on 121, and the dual Arabian derby winner, Hayyan.

Trained in France by Charles Gourdain for Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed, Al Shamoos impressed when winning last year.

However, she did not win again until last November and arrives in Abu Dhabi after finishing behind Bel'Izam in her latest start, at Toulouse, four weeks ago.

Julien Auge, as he was 12 months ago, and for her two most recent starts, is back in the saddle again.

"She is a very good mare and clearly goes well in Abu Dhabi," the French jockey said of the five-year-old grey daughter of No Risk Al Maury.

"It's a strong race, but one we are very much looking forward to. She's drawn in the same gate No 3 as last year, and hopefully we can make it again."

Mashhur Al Khalediah, trained in Britain by Philip Collington for Saudi Arabian owners Athbah Racing, arrives on the back of a close third in the Group 1 Arabian World Cup at Longchamp last October.

The mount of Jean-Bernard Eyquin has won five of his 11 starts but has failed to win in both his Group 1 races.

Bel'Izam, with Jim Crowley atop, is another French raider who will fancy their chances, and runs for his new Dubai owner Sheikh Rashid bin Hamdan.

"He's coming into the race in good form and on the back of a win, so we really fancy his chances," said his handler Damien de Watrigant.

Hayyan arrives as a dual Arabian Derby winner, having won the race in Doncaster in September, three months after winning the French equivalent.

Trained by Frederic Sanchez and with Ioritz Mendizabal in the silks of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's Yas Horse Racing Management, Hayyan looks the one to beat after back-to-back Group 1 victories.

"He's coming into this race in good shape and obviously to win," Sanchez said of the four-year-old Munjiz colt.

The Yas Horse Racing Management is double handed with Belqees, a lightly raced five-year-old mare in France by Thomas Demeaulte with the two-time UAE champion jockey Richard Mullen on the saddle.

Eric Lemartinel spearheads the local challenge with his undefeated filly RB Money To Burn and Darius Du Paon, runner-up in last month's Jewel Crown Trial.

RB Money To Burn is the choice of the stable's first jockey, Fabrice Veron, while Adrie de Vries is on board Darius De Paon.

Abdallah Al Hammadi's Goshawk was fourth in the Jewel Crown Trial and Ernst Oertel's local bred AF Al Sajanjle is returning for his first run after his last start in the Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic at the Dubai World Cup in March.

The main support races include both the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies and Apprentice Championships and a solitary prize for the thoroughbreds, which kicks off the mixed six-race card.