Al Raihe nabs Jebel Ali Stakes prep

Yirga, ridden by Royston Ffrench for Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe, won the featured 1800m Jebel Ali Stakes prep race on Friday afternoon.

Kindly sponsored by Derrinstown Stud, the Irish arm of the breeding empire of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the race attracted a competitive field of eight but it was Al Raihe`s runner, who had been second in a 1600m race on his seasonal return a fortnight ago, who posted a reasonably comfortable victory to the delight of Ffrench.

The jockey said: "We were very pleased with that comeback run and hoped that had put him spot on for today. We probably hit the front soon enough but he has run on gamely and won nicely.

"He is a horse we always liked and has rarely run a bad race so it is nice he has put his head back in front. I will have to talk to the trainer who I am sure will be discussing plans with the owner but I would imagine he will be back in a fortnight for the Jebel Ali Stakes."

Al Raihe`s Mujaazef was seeking his fourth win of the season when facing seven rivals in the concluding 1200m conditions race but he had to settle for second behind seasonal debutante Alo Pura.

James Doyle was in the saddle on the seven-year-old mare who is trained on the course by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse owner and his main patron, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Doyle was impressed: "I was very hopeful as she was working nicely. She has some very good form to her name, including a 1200m track record at Meydan and has run well fresh in the past so she had a lot in her favour.

"It rode like a decent little contest so she has done well. I would think it is the Dubai World Cup Carnival for her now."

Owner/trainer/jockey were completing a double having earlier combined with Tesslam to win a 1600m handicap, one of two on the card.

The second of them was won by Secretive for trainer Mubarak bin Shafya with jockey Pat Cosgrave in the saddle.

Cosgrave said: "I was struggling for racing room at one stage but that probably helped in the end. He had been running well without winning so it is nice has won one."

The 1400m handicap was won by Mutajammel with Yohann Bourgois in the saddle for trainer Rashed Bouresly.

Unusually, racing opened with two races for Purebred Arabians and Almajd carried the colours of race sponsor His Highness Sheikh Hamdan to victory in the opening 1400m handicap with the owner`s retained jockey Richard Hills aboard.

Almajd is trained by Doug Watson who then saw his MH Al Wadi just denied in the following 1600m conditions race by Knife, ridden by Jesus Rosales for trainer Tony Manuel.