Thursday, February 24, 2011


Jebel Ali Sprint prep race looks wide open


Friday's Jebel Ali meeting is highlighted by two Thoroughbred conditions races, both kindly sponsored by Derrinstown Stud, the Irish arm of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum's breeding operation.

The official feature is the 1000m Jebel Ali Sprint Prep and, with the sad defection of local handler Doug Watson’s Alsadeek, it appears wide open. Mannjal, trained on the course by Dhruba Selvaratnam, is seeking his ninth career win but has never won over this trip.


That said, he is the class performer left in the 13 strong field and the one time he tried it previously he was second in this race last year and he bounced back to winning ways last time.

He was chased home on that occasion by the Satish Seemar-trained Seachantach who re-opposes under Harry Bentley but is trying this trip for the very first time on his 21st career start.

Mubarak Bin Shafya saddles Golden Shaheen who was well in front of Seachantach last week. That was over 1200m but jockey Pat Cosgrave sounds hopeful: "Hopefully he can cope with the drop in trip as he shows plenty of speed and few of the runners have actually won at the trip."

One who has is Effort, trained by Abdulla bin Huzaim and a course and distance winner in December, while Thebes, trained by Ismail Mohammed, made a pleasing local debut in the race won by Golden Shaheen last week. He is another to consider under Tadhg O'Shea.

A 1400m conditions race follows and old rivals Otaared, Jet Express and Atlantic Brave all clash again. Trained by Selvaratnam, Otaared is looking for his fifth course win but does have to give weight all round. Ali Rashid Al Raihe's 2010 Jebel Ali Mile winner Jet Express has not managed to win yet this season but returns to a course and distance he has won over four times.

Musabah Al Muhairi trains Atlantic Brave who has a course and distance verdict to his name over Otaared this season but re-opposes on worse terms. He did run well at Meydan last week though and stable jockey Wayne Smith said: "He does go really well at Jebel Ali and remains in good form so we have to expect a good run.

Quartier Latin switches to dirt for trainer Doug Watson and cannot be ruled out, while Izaaj and Islail Mohammed duo Lowdown and Libertaion are others to consider.

Racing opens with the only Purebred Arabian event, a 1800m Prestige race in which the Gill Duffield-trained AF Alghabra seeks her eighth consecutive win. She won this last year and will be very hard to beat under Tadhg O'Shea.


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