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Just A Penny Bounces Back to Winning Ways in Style

Seven went to post for the featured 1800m conditions race at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday afternoon but only one mattered with Pat Dobbs going straight to the front on Just A Penny and the pair stayed there.

A winner on the same card last year, in a 1600m handicap and his fourth Jebel Ali victory of the season, he has struggled in this three outings during this campaign, not helped by tardy starts.

Trained by Doug Watson, he was well away on this occasion and always in control, he stayed the longest trip he has encountered to date with some style.

“I knew I had to get him out quickly as he has proved this season he does not like racing in behind,” said Dobbs. “It was a good enough race and we knew he would stay the trip so I was always going to be positive on him.

“He could be a really nice horse for next season, especially if we can make sure he continues to break well.”

Trainer and jockey were then denied a rapid double when their Dehbashi was caught almost right on the line by Colm O’Donoghue aboard the Ahmad bin Harmash-trained Tides Rise.

It was a third career victory for Bin Harmash’s charge, all this season and at Jebel Ali, twice over this trip and the other over 1600m.

“I was determined to challenge late on him,” said O’Donoghue. “I knew the runner-up stays well so would take me to the line. My fellow dug deep to lead where it mattered and gain another victory which he deserved as he has been very consistent.”

The main support race was the best of two 1400m handicaps and Dane O’Neill made all the running on the ultra-game Mushaakis, homebred by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Dropping in class having contested the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint and HH The President Cup at Abu Dhabi on his previous two outings, he looked likely to be swamped 400m out when challenged on both sides, by first Kilt Rock, then Encipher and Art Wave.

However, he fought them all off, actually pulling away close home to win cosily from stable companion Encipher.

Trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, it was a ninth career success and fifth in the UAE, fourth over 1400m and third over course and distance.

“He is so versatile regarding trip, having won over 1000m here at Jebel Ali but over as far as 2000m in England,” said O’Neill.
“Has taken him a while to get going this season after a great campaign last time but his last two runs had been good and it is nice to get his head back in front.”

Zain Empire is proving a real star for trainer Ahmed Al Shamsi and apprentice Ismail Koyuncu and made it two wins, from three outings, when landing his second 1400m Jebel Ali handicap.

When successful over course and distance on his stable and seasonal debut in January, he was making his first racecourse appearance since October 2014 and followed that with a second, also at Jebel Ali, over 1600m.

Never far off the pace here, he led just under halfway and kept on gamely to deny the persistent challenge of Pictograph and earn a hard fought victory.

Just denied in a 1200m handicap on the Meydan turf last Saturday, the Satish Seemar-trained Riflescope gained some compensation with victory in the concluding 1000m handicap.
With the majority of the nine runners in contention at the halfway point, it was then that Hyaline was kicked clear by Koyuncu and they soon had most of their rivals in trouble.

However, Richard Mullens till had not moved on Riflescope and when he asked him to quicken, his mount responded to hit the front just past the 200m pole.

They soon had the race in the big with Hyaline running on strongly to finish a comfortable second.

The 1200m maiden was won in the dying strides by Shillong, produced with a perfectly timed challenge by Pat Cosgrave who was riding for Helal Al Alawi.

Unraced before December last year, the winner was having his sixth career start and fulfilling the promise shown on his previous start when staying on strongly to take third in a 1200m maiden at Meydan.