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Friday`s Jebel Ali Classic Caps UAE Domestic Season

The final meeting of the UAE domestic season at Jebel Ali on Friday is highlighted by the second running of the 1400m Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee) sponsored by Shadwell Farm, the US arm of the breeding empire of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum

The world famous blue and white silks of the sponsor will be carried by both Taamool and Shaishee with Dane O’Neill, retained by the owner, opting to ride the former for Ali Rashid Al Rayhi. He made his local debut on the opening night of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival, finishing fifth in the 1600m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 and has run five times subsequently. Those efforts include finishing fourth in both the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint and the Group 3 Jebel Ali Mile, when he seemed perfectly at home on the surface and unique Jebel Ali undulations.

O’Neill said: “He has run well at Jebel Ali which is always a positive and this is a step down in grade for him so, hopefully, he will appreciate that and should run a big race.”

Meanwhile, Musabbeh Al Mheiri saddles Shaishee, the mount of apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei and still the 1400m Jebel Ali track record holder, a mark he set in January 2014. That was one of his two course and distance victories, the second achieved in the equivalent race to this, before it was renamed, in 2016. This will be just his fourth race of the season, the most recent of which was a fourth, over this track an trip, two weeks ago.

Doug Watson, confirmed last week as UAE Champion Trainer for the sixth time and third consecutive year, won the inaugural running of this race last year with Shamaal Nibras. He was set to defend his crown before receiving an invitation to contest the US $1 million Godolpin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One (G2) on the Dubai Word Cup card next Saturday, but the American expat still appears to have a strong hand with both Cosmo Charlie and Thegreatcollection among the 12 runners declared.

Winner of the 1900m Listed Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday last year, Cosmo Charlie made a winning return this season in a 1600m conditions race at Meydan in November. He has run some good races in defeat since and should appreciate this drop in grade.

He is the mount of Sam Hitchcott with Fernando Jara coming in for the ride on Thegreatcollection, a winner on the same November Meydan card as Cosmo Charlie.

Watson said: “Obviously, it is the last race of the season for both and neither have run at Jebel Ali so it is a good opportunity to try them there with regards to opening up options for next season. They seem in good form at home and, with luck, should both be thereabouts in a competitive little race.”

Ernst Oertel saddles Kitaaby, who would ensure Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda was UAE Champion Owner for a second year running with a win. He was not beaten far when fifth in this race last year and is making only his second outing of the season having only returned to action at the beginning of the month.

Trained on the track for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sholaan is thrice a Jebel Ali winner, twice over 1000m, the other two over 1200m and is running over this far for the first time since June 2012 but did win over 1400m at Wolverhampton in May of that year.

His trainer, Gopi Selvaratnam, who vacates the Jebel Ali post at the end of the month, said: “We are stepping him up in distance because we think it will suit him. He has been training very well and we expect a big run from him.”

Galesburg has won twice this season, once at Abu Dhabi and the other over this course and distance. The mount of Richard Mullen, he is trained by Satish Seemar whose assistant, Bhupat, said: “He has been performing well all season and is in good form but this does look the strongest race he has contested.”