Jutland Set To Give Battle Again

Old rivalries renewed in Jebel Ali feature

The Jebel Ali Stakes Prep (1800m) takes centre stage at tomorrow (Friday) afternoon`s meeting at Jebel Ali Racecourse.

Ten runners are booked to face the starter, including last season’s Jebel Ali Stakes (1950m) first and second, Jutland and Mawhub.

Jutland has been a great servant to Red Stables-based trainer Doug Watson since transferring to the UAE from the UK team of Mark Johnston back in 2012.

A winner five times for Johnston, he has won seven races under Watson`s care including the 2013 Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship (2200m) as well as the 2015 renewal of the Jebel Ali Stakes.

Jutland looked in need of the run three weeks ago when well beaten over tomorrow`s course and distance on his return to action after the Summer break.

The veteran eight-year-old will be fitter for the outing and can surely go close here.

Watson’s stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, though appears to disagree.

He has deserted Jutland, despite partnering him in each of his past 22 starts, to ride stable companion Grand Argentier.

A new recruit this season to Watson`s team, the rider`s pick showed plenty of promise, though ultimately well beaten, on his local and dirt debut at Meydan four weeks ago in a race won by the Dobbs ridden stablemate One Man Band.

Perhaps significantly for Dobbs Grand Argentier receives weight from Jutland, this time the mount of Sam Hitchcott, who rode Grand Argentier at Meydan.

“It was a tough choice for Pat,” said Watson. “He has enjoyed a lot of success on Jutland, so it must have been hard to choose against him but we all really like Grand Argentier.
“Both will have needed their one run so far this season and should strip a lot fitter this time.
“I would struggle to split them but Jutland is penalised for his big race win in January.
“It looks a decent little race and Farraaj could be hard to beat.”

Farraaj is trained on the Jebel Ali track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and will be having his first start on a dirt based surface and only his second in the UAE.

His only previous outing for Selvaratnam was in the Group 1 Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup night while just over a year ago the gelding was a close sixth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m).

Farraaj`s wins include the 2013 Group 3 Winter Derby (2000m) on the all-weather course at England`s Lingfield track but he has to concede weight to all his nine rivals tomorrow and is entitled to need the run having been off since March.

“We are looking at the turf Carnival races with him,” said Selvaratnam. “He is as fit as we can get him at home and this looks a good opportunity to get him back on the track.
“He will certainly improve for the run.”

When Jutland won the Jebel Ali Stakes in January, he was chased home by the Satish Seemar-trained Mawhub who looms as a big danger here.

Like Jutland he is a dual course and distance winner and similarly penalised but he was well ahead of his rival on their return to action.

Mawhub and apprentice jockey Hector Crouch actually looked like winning that race, only to be denied close home by stable companion Farrier (a Meydan runner on Thursday).

Stable jockey Richard Mullen, aboard Farrier then, makes the switch to Mawhub tomorrow.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum`s Shadwell organisation generously sponsor the race and the owner’s famous blue and white silks will be carried by both Sefri and Tanfeeth.

Sefri, trained by Erwan Charpy, is the choice of retained jockey Paul Hanagan and was third to Farrier and Mawhub, well in front of Jutland.