Friday, February 13, 2009

Watson takes Jebel Ali feature

A healthy crowd gathered at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon for the course’s seventh meeting of the season and the afternoon’s feature, kindly sponsored by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Farm, was an 1800m handicap.

It was won in exciting fashion by the Doug Watson-trained Call Me George who was last with 500m to run, but produced a devastating late burst to deny stable companion Tri Another Cat in the dying strides, with Blues Ballad a close third.

Burke explained: “Stamina was never going to be an issue but we were a long way back turning for home. They went quickly up front though and he has really picked up well in the final 400m. We have actually won going away in the end.”

Watson was then denied in similar circumstances when his Lord Ego was caught on the line by the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Palm Court in the 1200m handicap.

The winner was under pressure from the very start and still last with 300m to go before unleashing a terrific finish to lead on the line.

Ffrench said: “After 200m I thought we were more likely to come last than first! But he has really attacked the hill and we just snatched it.”

It was an afternoon of horses rattling home with William Buick able to put For Once’s head in front almost on the line in the 1400m handicap.

That winner was trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam, as was Alo Pura on whom Buick won the concluding 1000m handicap.

The opening 1600m Purebred Arabian conditions race was won by Wayne Smith on Musabah Al Muhairi’s Bareq who ran on bravely in the closing stages to earn a deserved win.

The following 1600m conditions race was a competitive affair and it was the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Esquire who landed the spoils under Matthew Henry who was recording his first winner of the season.

Arguably the most impressive winner of the afternoon was local debutant Amarna who won the 1400m conditions race very easily under apprentice Antioco Murgia who was riding his first winner in the UAE.

A horse with good form in the UK, he was making a winning return to action after almost 500 days off and trainer Mubarak Bin Shafya was clearly delighted.

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