High-class stayer Vazirabad returns to action at Meydan

Thu 1 Mar 2018

Multiple Group One winner Vazirabad graces Meydan on Thursday when he runs in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy.

Alain de Royer-Dupre's six-year-old was beaten in the Group Three last year before going on to win the Dubai Gold Cup a few weeks later.

Connections are using the race as a stepping stone towards that target again, with a trip to Royal Ascot on the cards later in the year.

The Aga Khan's racing manager Georges Rimaud said: "He's well. This is his seasonal debut so we'll just have to see how he behaves and how he does, and then we'll decide whether he runs in the Gold Cup afterwards.

"The trip might be a little short but it's more a question of getting him ready for the important day so I wouldn't be too worried about the trip. 

"If he wins, all is well. If he doesn't, it doesn't mean he's not going to run (in the Dubai Gold Cup), either. It's always a preparation race so anything can happen.

"Last year he was going to run at Ascot but injured himself, he would have gone otherwise.

"I think he's a hardy enough horse that he can handle good ground but if it's too fast, we would have to think about it. Ascot will certainly be part of the discussion.

"We have to see how this goes and then we'll go from there."

Vazirabad is one of 11 runners, with Charlie Fellowes' Prince Of Arran, the Charlie Appleby-trained Rare Rhythm and David Simcock's Meydan regular Sheikhzayedroad also involved.

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