Class Feature For Jebel Closer

Track regulars return for season’s final meeting.

JEBEL ALI RACECOURSE stage their final fixture of the campaign on Friday afternoon with six booked to go to post for the highlight, a fascinating 1800 metres conditions contest.

The race is sponsored by Shadwell Farm, the USA branch of the worldwide breeding empire of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The sponsor’s famous blue and white silks will be carried by both Tanfeeth and Haatheq with the latter, winner of this year’s Jebel Ali Stakes (1950m), the choice of the owner’s first retained jockey Paul Hanagan.

Victory in that Listed contest was a well deserved big race success for the Ali Rashid al Raihe-trained veteran who had previously gone close on numerous occasions in similar and stronger company.

He will appreciate this drop in class after a beaten effort in the Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 (2000m) at Meydan earlier in the month and is seeking an eighth Jebel Ali victory and a third over course and distance.

“He is just a great horse to have in the yard and a real favourite,” said Al Raihe. “He loves the Jebel Ali track and the 1800 metres trip suits him well so he should go very close.”

Haatheq is not the only Jebel Ali big race winner in the field, 2014 Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile winner, Forjatt, also lines up and will be ridden by stable jockey Chris Hayes.

Trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam Forjatt added December’s Listed National Day Cup (1600m) on the Abu Dhabi turf to his big race tally.

This will only be his second attempt beyond the metric mile with his first, on turf at Meydan in February 2014, producing a close third to Vercingetorix, subsequent winner of that year’s Group 1 Jebel Hatta.

“I think the slightly longer trip will actually suit him,” said Hayes. “He has been staying on well over 1600 metres so the extra 200 metres will hopefully be in our favour and Dhruba’s horses continue in great form.”

Selvaratnam added: “I think he will stay the extra 200 metres but if Haatheq runs to the level he showed winning the Jebel Ali Stakes, he will be hard to beat.”

With the Doug Watson team remaining in good form, his dual course and distance winner, Mizbah, who is receiving weight from the two main protagonists is worth a second glance .

“He won the very first race of the season, at Jebel Ali, both this campaign and the last,” said Justin Byrne, representing Mizbah’s owners, EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club).

“He has also won at Meydan, as well as again here at Jebel Ali two weeks ago and has had a great season.”

The following race, a 1400m conditions event could well be dominated by Musabah Al Muhairi who saddles two course and distance winners in Shaishee and Art Wave.

Hanagan rides Shaishee but Art Wave, to be handled by stable jockey Fernando Jara, may be the one to beat stepping back up in trip after a crack at the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint (1000m).

“He goes very well at Jebel Ali,” said Jara. “The 1400 metres is probably his best trip and he should go very close.”

Al Muhairi is also well represented in the finale, a 1200 metres conditions contest in which he supplies four of the 12 runners, each owned by Sheikh Hamdan and Hanagan sticking with Sahaafy on whom he won over 200 metres further at the previous Jebel Ali meeting.

The field includes 2011 Jebel Ali Sprint winner, Spin Cycle, as well as Krypton Factor, victorious in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen (1200m) of 2012 but a locally-trained galloper could hold the answer.

United Color, third in the Jebel Ali Sprint (1000m) a fortnight ago has posted his two biggest career wins over this distance.

A Group Three winner at the trip in Italy, he also won the Listed Dubawi Stakes (1200m) at Meydan in 2014 and was victorious on his penultimate start this season in the prep for the Jebel Ali Sprint (1000m) so is proven on this surface.

“United Color has been running well over 1000 metres but will appreciate the return to 1200,” said Hayes. “He looks sure to run a big race and should be thereabouts.

“Hopefully he can finish our Jebel Ali season in the best possible way; with a victory.”