Abu Dhabi: Trainer Jean de Roualle is upbeat of Ziyadd’s chances in the Kahayla Classic, the solitary race for purebred Arabians on the Dubai World Cup night. Ziyadd, who has beaten some of the best horses in the UAE in the prep race — the Maktoum Challenge Round-3 — was given a brilliant ride by the two-time UAE champion jockey Richard Mullen over the fancied Paddy’s Day and Barnamaj for a good two-and-a-three-quarter-length victory in the 2,000-metre contest.
“The horse likes the Meydan dirt and it showed that in the Maktoum Challenge. He has since then stayed in good condition and has remained fresh. So all the green lights are on,” said a confident de Roualle, who trains Ziyadd for Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of YAS Horse Racing Management.
Ziyadd, the well-bred six-year-old son of Bibi De Carrere, had been drawn on Gate 8 and de Roualle is pretty satisfied with it.
“It is in the middle, which is not bad. To my opinion there are four to five horses who are extremely strong. Barnamaj and Al Zahir, the two horses owned by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum [Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance], and Bandar, coming from France and has won a Group 1 race in England.”
They are well drawn in gate 2, 4 and 6.
“Then you also got Paddy’s Day. There is a little question mark on the Saudi horse [Tallaab Al Khalediah — undefeated in four starts]. We don’t know much about him,” said de Roualle, whose horse Ziyadd has got the best rating of the race — 123.
“It is a real classy Group 1 Dubai Kahayla Classic field, but having said that, I’m extremely confident my horse can run a big race,” added the Frenchman.
De Roualle has his own way of preparing his horses ahead of any Group 1 race and choose to keep his cards close to his heart.
“I have never worked a horse too hard before a race but we are happy with what we did on Sunday. We were working more on the mental aspect of the horse. He was happy to gallop and was feeling good. I don’t want my horses to win gallops in the morning, I want them to win gallops in the afternoon,” said De Roualle, busting into laughter, before adding that a little sprint before the race is what he has planned for Ziyadd to keep him fresh for the race.
With the ace jockey Mullen once again on-board Ziyadd, De Roualle is well aware that he has very little to worry about the race tactics.
“Richie has won with him and knows the horse perfectly well. You don’t give orders to champion jockey, they know exactly what they have to do. I have done my job and it is now for Richie to do his,” said De Roualle before signing off.
The one horse Mullen rides outside his stables is Ziyadd and speaking about the challenge he said: “He is the winner of the Al Maktoum Challenge Round-3, which is always an important race and a pointer to the Kahayla Classic.
“He was very impressive when winning over the Kahayla Classic course and distance and the horse that probably all have to beat in this race.”