First Features of UAE Season at Abu Dhabi

Featured will be a group I Arabian race and the National Day Cup for Thoroughbreds.

The first feature races of the United Arab Emirates season will be conducted Dec. 9 when Abu Dhabi stages its National Day Cup meeting.

Featured will be 1,600-meter (1 mile) racesone a group I race for purebred Arabians and the other a listed race for Thoroughbreds.

Jaasoos, trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam, again seeks his place in the record books as he tries to win the Thoroughbred version of the National Day Cup  for a third time. Victorious in both 2009 and 2010, he was denied an unprecedented hat-trick last year but did gain compensation by landing the Listed HH The President's Cup over 1,400 meters.

"He has been a great horse for us in recent years," said the trainer. "This year's renewal looks very strong though with the likes of Derbaas in there and it will be a hard race to win this time. We managed to get a run into him last week at Jebel Ali and he came out of that in good shape so should run his normal solid race."

Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddles Derbaas, who won the course and distance prep race three weeks ago when chased home by Finjaan and Marching Time, who had won the same race the previous year. All three are owned by Sheikh Hamdan, with Doug Watson training the other pair. The owner has a very strong hand in the race with Alazeyab, War Monger, and Yaseer all set to sport his famous blue and white silks.

The owner's retained jockey Dane O'Neill stays loyal to Derbaas after their prep win and said: "Derbaas has a touch of class which he showed in the prep and we are expecting another bold show. It is a stronger race than the prep but he looks the one they have to beat."

Treble Jig, who provided deceased stallion Gone West with his 100th stakes winner when he won Jebel Ali Stakes last year, is also part of a quality renewal.