Al Mheiri Doubles up as Jebel Ali Racecourse Kicks Off New Season

Racing Moves to Sharjah Saturday

Racing returned to the UAE on Friday afternoon with Jebel Ali staging a six-race card, highlighted by a 1000m handicap, sponsored by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum via his US breeding base, Shadwell Farm.

Responsible for three of the 12 runners, it was his blue and white colours worn by apprentice, George Buckell that were carried to victory by Mushir. Mushir was recording a first local success at the 12th attempt.

Riding for his main employer, Musabbeh Al Mheiri, Buckell was happy to stalk the pace until committing for home just after halfway.

In front with 300m to run, it soon became clear they had the race in safe keeping, landing an impressive victory in what had appeared a competitive contest.

“He has so much natural speed and burst out of the gates,” said Buckell. “He had so many problems last season we could not really get him spot on and he did most of his training on the treadmill.
“Even with a troubled preparation he was fifth in the Jebel Ali Sprint and he is like a new horse this season.
“He should be capable of progressing from this and is a nice sprinter.”
The trainer was celebrating a quick double after the picture changed dramatically in the final 50m of the preceding 1600m handicap.
Richard Mullen and Pupil entered the closing stages in the lead, but eventually finished third, with the Al Mheiri-trained Enery digging deep for Fernando Jara to land the spoils with Almohtaseb, who had led under Sam Hitchcott until headed by Pupil 500m out, snatching second close home.

“He is so consistent and always tries his best,” said Jara. “He ran plenty of good races in defeat last season and really deserved to get his head back in front.”

It was a first victory for Enery since landing a 1400m Jebel Ali handicap in December 2013, his only previous UAE success but he did win five times in England.

The opening race of the UAE season was a 1950m handicap and Erwan Charpy and new stable jockey, Antonio Fresu, made the ideal beginning to their fledgling alliance with the smooth success of Tadmir.

It was a second consecutive win for Charpy’s charge, victorious on the turf at Jinma Lake, in China, over 2418m on his previous outing in April.

Settled well off the speed by Fresu, Tadmir was asked to close halfway up the long straight and responded well, closing the gap on the leaders before hitting the front 200m out and winning going away from his toiling rivals.

Fresu said: “We knew the horse stays well and they went pretty quick up front so his stamina was a key.
“I had two rides at Abu Dhabi as an apprentice but this is my first visit to Jebel Ali and the perfect start.”

Satish Seemar has plenty of new horses in his yard this season and it was one of them, local and dirt debutant Secret Ambition, who opened the trainer’s account for the new campaign.

Elected by stable jockey, Richard Mullen, over Seemar’s second runner, Mountain Lion, he justified that faith in a 1400m handicap, hanging on grimly to deny Qannaas.

A winner once in England, also over 1400m, he clearly handles this dirt surface well and, as a three-year-old having only his 11th start, he could be the type to build on this effort.

Mullen said: “He did a few decent pieces of work about a month ago but had not been showing so much lately so it is great he has done it today.
“He is a new horse from the ERA sales which are a great initiative to encourage new owners and that is exactly what has happened here; this is a first horse and runner for Nasir Askar.
“Hopefully he is a horse with plenty more to offer and will give Nasir lots more fun.”

Champion Trainer Doug Watson, rarely leaves Jebel Ali empty handed but had to wait until the concluding 1200m handicap to get on the scoreboard.

Pat Dobbs was atop Fast Enough who proved exactly that under a patient ride with the pair biding their time in midfield before closing after halfway.

They led in the final 100m to win with seemingly a bit in hand.
“He does not show a lot at home so it is nice he has won today,” said Watson. “He is a new horse from the ERA sale and we are still learning about him.” Second place in that race, Long Water trained by Helal Al Alawi and ridden by Royston Ffrench, is also an ERA Racing in Dubai Sale graduate.

Without a winner from 62 runners last season, Rashed Bouresly had earlier saddled his first winner since January 2015 when Salvadori and Bruno Reis led close home in a 1000m maiden.

Unraced outside the UAE, Bouresly’s charge was opening his account at the tenth attempt but first at the minimum trip. He showed good resolution to pass Logistics and was actually running away from his rivals in the final 50m.

Reis, riding in the UAE for the first time since February 2011, rode two winners during that campaign - one at Meydan and one at Sharjah.