Forjatt For Another Mile

Forjatt powers home
Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Jebel Ali springs a big surprise

LOCAL FAVOURITE FORJATT kept up his winning ways by landing the featured Jebel Ali Mile Prep (1600m) at the track after which the race is named on Friday afternoon.

The eight-year-old is owned by racecourse patron HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and trained on the unique course by Dhruba Selvaratnam.

The Irish-bred gelding made it three wins from as many runs this season adding to victories at Abu Dhabi in the National Day Cup Prep (1600m) in November and the Listed National Day Cup (1600m) in December.

The success laid the foundation for another attempt at the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile (1600m) which he won in 2014 and was then first past the post again last year before losing the race by disqualification following a positive test for a prohibited substance in his system on raceday.

Success did not come without hard work however.

Forced by the conditions of the race to concede weight to his seven rivals Forjatt had to dig deep after looking in trouble 500 metres out.

The eight times previous winner answered every question posed by jockey Chris Hayes, running on strongly to collar Jayed Jidan, winner of last years edition of the contest, close home.

“He was quite keen early on,” said Hayes. “He has a great attitude as he has shown here and it was a brave effort as the runner-up and third were on the other side of the track.”
“It is up to Dhruba but I imagine the Jebel Ali Mile will be next and hopefully we can try him on turf at Meydan during the Carnival at some stage.”

Thirty minutes later, Art Wave emulated Forjatt, maintaining his clean sheet from three starts this season, winning the Romeo Interiors (1200m), a conditions race.

Art Wave’s attitude has been questioned in the past but Dubai World Cup winning rider Fernando Jara, first jockey to celebrating trainer Musabah Al Muhairi, has really forged an understanding with the five-year-old who produced a career best effort.

“He loves it here at Jebel Ali,” said Al Muhairi. “We have tried him at Meydan but he seems to much prefer here. He has been winning over 1400m but I was looking for a Jebel Ali Sprint runner so wanted to try him over this shorter trip.
“Hopefully the Jebel Ali Sprint will be his target and you have to credit Fernando who gets on really well with him.”

Ostaad is another galloper who may not always appear the most straightforward, sometimes particularly at the start, but the Doug Watson-trained Irish-bred is more than useful in his grade, as he showed when winning the Cairo Contracting Company Handicap (1950m).

The six-year-old, attempting the trip for the first time, arrived for the race with strong credentials. His previous effort had produced a third placing, albeit it a distant one, behind stable companion One Man Band who franked the form winning impressively at the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s opening meeting at Meydan on Thursday.

Not the fastest to vacate the starting stalls, Ostaad was handled patiently in the early part of the race by jockey Paul Hanagan until throwing down his challenge in the final 400 metres , drawing away to score by a length-and-a quarter.

The win completed a quick double for his trainer who had already won the opener with Hakim.

“Ostaad loves this track,” said Watson. “Paul has given him a great ride as we were slightly worried about the trip.
“He is a good horse but has his quirks and he was not easy to saddle today so well done to the whole team.”

Hakim won the HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Breeders Society Challenge (1600m) sponsored by Beam Group Companies, the only Purebred Arabian race on the card.

It was a first UAE success and second career win for the local-bred who began his racing career with a debut win in France in 2014.

Stable jockey Pat Hobbs settled the five-year-old, who was having his first try at the journey, behind the early speed, and he was clearly going best of all when staking his claim for the lead at the 300 metres pole, then staying on strongly to record a comfortable success.

Owners, the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club celebrated another winner.

“He works so well at home we knew he would win us a race but it has been a case of getting to know him, said spokesman Justin Byrne.
“We hoped this step up to 1600m would help him and Pat Dobbs has given him a great ride as he waited to make his challenge and did not go for home too early.”

Meanwhile trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe was not going to be left out of the action after saddling a remarkable Meydan four timer on Thursday.

His Meydan-based Grandstand Stables posted a winning double on the day, initiated by Beachy Head in the penultimate race, the S.I.S.Handicap (1400M).

It was back-to-back course and distance wins in the space of a month for the Tadhg O`Shea ridden five-year-old.

“He is progressive, said O’Shea, who partnered three of the stable`s winners the previous evening. “He seems to relish the Jebel Ali track, the hill and the drop back to 1400m.
“It has been a great couple of days.”

The Al Raihe bandwagon thundered on, though before the last race it may have been thought of as only a slight rumble.

The veteran trainer pulled a rabbit out of a hat saddling seven-year-old Lake Hawk, previously a 27 start maiden in four seasons of racing, with only two placings to his name, both earlier this term, to win the Ardmore Trading Handicap (1400m) by an astonishing seven-and a half lengths.

In the process maximum claiming apprentice jockey Manuel Fernandes was presented with his second win of the campaign.

Heads were shaking, Al Raihe`s smile reflected the winning margin.