Great Northern winner returning to jumping action

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  • June 19, 2023
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Abu Dhabi will be back doing what he does best when he steps out at Te Rapa on Saturday.

The seven-year-old has been extensively tried without success as a flat proposition, but last year he found fame and fortune over the smaller fences for Byerley Park trainers Shaun and Emma Clotworthy.

Abu Dhabi ended his campaign with a memorable victory in the Great Northern Hurdle (4200m) and will resume his jumping career this weekend in the Fairview Motors Waikato Hurdle (3200m).

“We’re pretty happy with the way he is coming up and he’s had a few flat runs now and seems to be as good as he was last year,” Shaun Clotworthy said.

The Haradasun gelding ran fifth in a Te Rapa maiden over 2100m two starts back before a midfield finish over 2200m at Avondale earlier this month.

“He will probably lack a little bit of fitness on Saturday and he will improve with the run, but he worked up nicely at the beach this (Tuesday) morning,” Clotworthy said.

“At this stage, we’ll head toward the Great Northern again. He’s seven, which isn’t old for a jumper, and he’s a bit more solid than last year and thickened up a bit.”

Abu Dhabi, who is part-owned by Clotworthy’s father Kim, began his hurdling career on an inglorious note at Hastings a year ago when he was pulled up, but quickly put that behind him.

He finished runner-up in his next two assignments before winning over Saturday’s course and distance and a fifth placing in an open hurdle preceded his Great Northern triumph.

Abu Dhabi has been the regular ride of Hamish McNeil, who was aboard in both jumping successes, and he will take the reins again on Saturday after also partnering him in his most recent flat outings.

“At this stage, he will probably head toward the Great Northern again unless he came up really well and we headed to Australia with him,” Clotworthy said.

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