Thursday, March 18, 2010


Final Jebel Ali meeting of the season takes place this Friday


The Shadwell organisation of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been Jebel Ali's major sponsor at every meeting bar one this season and on Friday sponsor three races. It is the 14th and final fixture of the campaign on the course and features two intriguing conditions races, both sponsored by Sheikh Hamdan.

The feature is over 1200m and Mannjal, trained on the course by Dhruba Selvaratnam, will be a popular Pick Six selection after an excellent second to subsequent Jebel Ali Sprint winner Terrific Challenge. Jockey William Buick said: "He loves this track and that was a great run last time. Hopefully he can go close to sign-off another good season."


Terrific Challenge is trained by Satish Seemar who has both Thor's Echo and course specialist Escape Route in the field. The latter, under Ted Durcan, looks the more likely winner and Seemar said: "He is proven on the course and was in good form at the [Dubai International Racing] Carnival. This is a competitive race but he should run well."

With Ali Rashid Al Raihe and Tadhg O'Shea leading the trainer and jockey standings respectively, their representative Montpellier is respected but stable jockey Royston Ffrench has elected to ride Happy Dubai. Doug Watson is chasing Al Raihe hard and saddles three, of who So Will I and Classic Blade make most appeal.

The 1600m conditions race is the first on the card and South African Mike de Kock, who saddled a double on the track last week, will be hoping Art of War can build on last weeks' effort when second to stablemate Wonder Lawn.

Seemar and Durcan combine with Blues Ballad, a course and distance winner seeking a third course victory this season, while Al Raihe duo Derbaas and With Interest have to be respected. Selvaratnam's Emmrooz looks the most interesting of the remainder in an open contest.

The best of the handicaps is the penultimate race, over 1400m and De Kock's Warsaw makes a lot of appeal after a good run at Meydan last time. Bab Al Bahrain, trained by Rashed Bouresly, could emerge a big danger in a race few appeal. One who does, is Atlantic Brave, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi and to be ridden by stable jockey Wayne Smith.

With only 20 races left of the UAE racing season, including the eight on Dubai World Cup night, Tadhg O'Shea is in pole position in the race to become Champion Jockey. His 34 winners to date is four more than both Royston Ffrench and Wayne Smith.

The trainers' race is tighter with Ali Rashid Al Raihe on 26, two more than both Godolphin handler Saeed bin Suroor and reigning Champion Trainer Doug Watson.


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