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Trinity to Force the pace at Jebel Ali

2016-17 UAE Racing Season Gets Underway Friday

Racing returns to the UAE on Friday afternoon with a six race Jebel Ali card, highlighted by a 1000m handicap before racing moves on to Sharjah on Saturday.

Thirteen are declared for the Jebel Ali feature, including Trinity Force ridden by Champion Jockey, Tadhg O’Shea.

O’Shea has been booked for all 12 races scheduled between Jebel Ali and Sharjah.

Trinity Force, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, is set to make his third start locally and his first at Jebel Ali. The six year old’s two career wins came in Ireland when trained by Dubai World Cup Carnival regular, Ger Lyons.

According to his jockey Trinity Force is a horse to look out for, however he fares on Friday.

“He is a nice horse who has been working well,” said O’Shea. “He will improve for the run but it is an ideal race to get him going and to try the Jebel Ali surface.

“He might prefer a bit further in time but he goes there in good heart.”

The race is sponsored by Shadwell Farm, the American arm of the breeding empire of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose world famous blue and white silks are to be carried by four of the 13 runners.

Dane O’Neill would normally be on the owner’s main hope at this early stage of the season but he is required in England with Sheikh Hamdan’s retained jockey, Paul Hanagan, suspended.

Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddles three for the UAE’s perennial Champion Owner with stable jockey, Fernando Jara electing to ride Rafeej. Rafeej was a 1200m course winner in March 2015 and on that occasion beat one of the top threats he will face on Friday, Kilt Rock.

Trained by Doug Watson, who is also responsible for Sheikh Hamdan’s fourth runner, Greeb, Kilt Rock has five Jebel Ali victories to his name, two over 1000m, and was second in this race last year when Rafeej was third.

He is owned by EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) whose spokesman, Justin Byrne, said: “He is nine now and, as he has aged, he has tended to need his first run but he has been an absolute star for the syndicate and owes us nothing.

“He has also won at Meydan on both turf and the dirt and is so versatile with regards to surface and trip. Hopefully he can win again for us at some point this season.”

He will be ridden by Pat Dobbs with Sam Hitchcott aboard Greeb and stable apprentice Adam McLean will have his first UAE ride on Gobooll for Dhruba Selvaratnam.

Selvaratnam, who trains on the track for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, saddles two for the owner as they seek to emulate their victory in the race of 12 months ago when subsequent Jebel Ali Sprint winner, Morawij, landed the spoils.

Connections enjoyed a double on that card when stable jockey, Chris Hayes, made his local debut. He is back this season and rides Sholaan who appears more suited by this trip than the aforementioned Gobooll.

“My horses will improve for a run this season, I think,” said Selvaratnam. “They are both ready for an outing but may just need it to put them spot on.”

Satish Seemar is another with two declared with the 2011 Jebel Ali Sprint winner Spin Cycle joined by Midlander, the choice of Richard Mullen. Cameron Noble, the new apprentice in the yard, makes his local debut when he rides Spin Cycle, second to Morawij in the Jebel Ali Sprint on his penultimate start of last season.