Richard Mullen: rides Malthouse in Abu Dhabi ChampionshipPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Competitive field for Abu Dhabi Championship
Preview: UAE, Sunday
Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Championship (Group 3) 1m3f, turf, 3yo+
A FIELD of nine have been declared for Abu Dhabi's final big thoroughbred race of the season, including two previous winners, Mulaqat and Topclas.
Now aged ten, Mulaqat - a Group 3 winner for Marcus Tregoning when in Britain - won this race in 2008 for trainer Dhruba Selvaratnam who also saddles Dormello, the choice of James Doyle.
A Listed winner in France last year, Dormello will be having his fifth start locally and was an excellent third in a competitive 1m4f Carnival handicap on his penultimate start.
Selvaratnam said: "Obviously conditions suit Mulaqat and he ran well in the course and distance prep race but he is obviously not getting any younger and this is a stronger race with the likes of Jutland in there.
"Dormello stays well and showed some decent form at Meydan so hopefully he can go close in a competitive little race."
The prep race in which Mulaqat was second was won by the Satish Seemar-trained Malthouse with stable jockey Richard Mullen aboard.
He maintains the partnership and said: "He was impressive last time and handles the fast ground well. These are his ideal conditions and he should run another big race but this is a lot better race."
The 2011 winner Topclas has not won since that victory but his trainer Mubarak bin Shafya and jockey Adrie De Vries were in treble form at Meydan on Thursday and the horse was just in front of Dormello in a Carnival handicap two starts ago.
De Vries said: "It was a great evening on Thursday and the horses are in great form. Topclas has plenty of ability and we hope he will be competitive on Sunday with conditions to suit him."
Doug Watson saddles two with Dr Faustus joined by Jutland in the field with the booking of Pat Dobbs for the latter suggesting he is the main hope. Watson said: "Dr Faustus goes well at Abu Dhabi but has ground to make up on Malthouse who looks really progressive.
"Jutland is a really nice horse and we are hoping for a big run from him after two big runs at the Carnival."
If he stays, the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Derbaas will be a big threat defending his unbeaten Abu Dhabi record - having won the 1m National Day Cup in December and the course and distance prep for that race - on his other two visits.
However, this will be by far the longest trip he has tackled and Paul Hanagan will be hoping he stays because, if he does, his turn of foot could prove decisive.