Tryster on Hunt for Group 1 Turf Spoils in Jebel Hatta

Tryster will contest the Group 1 Jebel Hatta on Super Saturday
Photo: Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins

Godolphin’s Tryster will be gunning for a first Group 1 victory on Super Saturday when he contests the 1800m Jebel Hatta, the official prep race for the US$6m Dubai Turf.

The best of the turf action comes at the end of the seven-race card and promises to be an interesting renewal of the race.
The remarkable Ipi Tombe in 2003 and Godolphin’s Sajjhaa in 2013, both won the Jebel Hatta before going on to win the Dubai Turf feature on the big night and connections of Tryster will be hoping he can emulate his predecessors.

Tryster looks the one to beat after his breathtaking victory in the Group 3 Dubai Millennium Stakes over 2000m, which proved he is as good on turf as he is on synthetic surfaces.

Unbeaten after six starts on the all-weather, all last year in the UK, he has now won two of five turf outings but could not have been more impressive on his Dubai debut, producing a scintillating turn of foot to move from virtually last to a clear lead in what seemed a matter of strides.

That was just over two weeks ago and, with the slight drop in trip not likely to inconvenience him, he looks sure to run another big race with William Buick again riding for Godolphin trainer, Charlie Appleby.

“We were delighted he ran so well on turf,” said Appleby. “He showed his trademark turn of foot which is such a potent weapon. It is a stronger race this week as you would expect but they went very slowly in the Dubai Millennium Stakes which probably was not in his favour.

“The stronger field will, hopefully, actually help him as they should go a stronger gallop. A big run from him here should guarantee an invitation for the Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup night.”

Tryster will face a severe test with nine opponents including four representing South African trainers. Among these is Harry’s Son, trained by Paul Lafferty and runner-up to Godolphin’s Safety Check, a stablemate of Tryster, in the Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over 1400m on turf.

That was a very pleasing UAE debut from this South African Group 1 winner but he was only fourth to the same rival in the Zabeel Mile last Thursday and seemingly needs this step up in trip.

Mike de Kock who has won the Jebel Hatta three times with Surveyor (2004), Master Of Hounds (2012) and Vercingetorix (2014) and is responsible for four of the runners this year. Top Belgian jockey, Christophe Soumillon will partner Johann Strauss who was denied a clear run on his seasonal return in last week’s Zabeel Mile.

He was fourth in that same race last year, when it was his second start of the campaign, before finishing third in this on his only subsequent start last year.

This will be the five-year-old’s 12th career start and he only has one win to his name, which came on the Dundalk Polytrack.
Stable companion, Zahee, was second in the Listed HH The President’s Cup (as was Johann Strauss last year) on his penultimate start before a close third in the Zabeel Mile well ahead of his badly-hampered stable companion.

Wayne Smith rides him, with Ryan Moore picking up the spare ride on Prayer For Relief, having his fourth Meydan run of 2016 and, after 41 career starts, making his turf debut at the age of eight.

However, it could be the trainer’s fourth representative, Group 1 winner Ertijaal, who gives Tryster the most to worry about. Tried on dirt on his most recent outing, he failed to fire but his only other UAE appearance was an excellent second to another De Kock inmate, Forries Waltz, in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya over this 1800m on turf.

Reportedly in need of the run on that occasion, he is seeking a second win at the highest level having landed the Grade 1 Cape Derby in January of last year.

Homebred by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he is the choice of the owner’s first jockey, Paul Hanagan.
“If forced, of our four runners I would probably side with Ertijaal,” said De Kock. “But all four are fit, well and have plenty of ability.
“The dirt just did not suit Ertijaal last time and he will be much happier back on turf. Hopefully he can show his real worth.
“Johann Strauss has loads of ability. Nothing went right last week and he needs a big performance if he is to get into the Dubai Turf on Dubai World Cup day.

“Zahee has been busy in recent weeks but this will likely be his last start of the year.

“Prayer For Relief should find this trip ideal and is interesting switched to turf. His style of running suggests it could suit him.”
With Hanagan aboard Ertijaal, Sheikh Hamdan’s other retained jockey, Dane O’Neill, partners his second runner, the Erwan Charpy-trained Sefri who was a close third in the Jebel Ali Stakes on his most recent start, just over two weeks ago.

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