HORSE RACING UAE interest high at St Leger Festival
Maureen has strong claims in Group 3 Sceptre Stakes on day two
Dubai: Richard Hannon’s high-class filly Maureen heads a strong challenge from UAE-owned horses in Thursday’s Group 3 Sceptre Stakes, one of the highlights on day two of Doncaster’s St Leger Festival.
A three-year-old by Coolmore Stud’s ‘shuttle stallion’ Holy Roman Emperor, Maureen is the leading fancy to land the 1,400m contest open to fillies and mares aged three years or older.
Raced by Emirati owner Ahmad Alkhallafi, Hannon’s would-be star looks the class act in the ten-runner event judged by her encouraging performances in some of the summer’s top races for her generation.
She was sixth to Sky Lantern in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May and showing further improvement to take fourth place behind the same rival in the Coronation Stakes. On her most recent start in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville, Maureen finished seventh, beaten by just four lengths by Elusive Kate.
Other hopefuls with UAE connections include Ghasabah, who runs in the colours of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance; Shaikh Mohammad Obaid Al Maktoum’s Nargys; Zurigha, who is owned by Saeed Al Tayer, Chairman and CEO of the Meydan Group; and The Gold Cheongsam, who represents Sharjah-based businessman Arashan Ali.
On his last start, The Gold Cheongsam was beaten by two lengths by Annecdote, who also lines up on Thursday, with Nargys looking to improve upon his sixth-place effort on that day.
The card also features the Group Two Park Hill Stakes over 2,800m and the 1,200m Hamilton Insurance 300,000 2-Y-O Stakes.
Jathabah, trained by Clive Brittain for Mohammad Al Naboudh and the Saeed Manana-owned Wadaa, trained by Jason Tate, are the two runners with UAE connections in the Park Hill Stakes. Michael Bell’s The Lark looks to have serious claims despite not running up to expectations in a Group Two event at Saint-Cloud towards the end of June.
The Lark’s best effort came when she was a staying-on third behind Talent in the Epsom Oaks (G1) at Epsom.