Kilt Rocks On With Fifth Jebel Ali Win

Course specialist Kilt Rock registered his fifth Jebel Ali victory on Friday afternoon when winning the featured 1200m handicap, generously sponsored by Shadwell, the UK arm of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum`s breeding empire.

Trained by Doug Watson for his ever enthusiastic syndicate owners, Emirates Entertainment Racing Club (EERC), Kilt Rock won his first four starts last season, including two over this course and distance before arguably running his best races in defeat, highlighted by a third to his nemesis Russian Rock in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint.

He had finished behind Russian Rock in each of his five most recent outings, four of which were won by his old rival who was not in opposition this time and he took full advantage of his absence, making all under Pat Dobbs.

Watson said: "The horse just loves this track and surface and really deserved a win after some great runs in defeat. It is brilliant for the owners who have really enjoyed some fun with him and hopefully will continue to do so.

"He was third in last year`s Jebel Ali Sprint and that has to be the target, probably via the trial, but we will look at Meydan as a possibility if we can find the right race."

Front-runners prospered throughout the card and Adrie De Vries rode a double for his main employer, Mubarak bin Shafya, leading from start to finish on both occasions.

Only four went to post in the concluding 1800m handicap and it was De Vries who took the early initiative on rank outsider Izaaj who was never headed before storming clear in the final 200m.

De Vries said: "He was a course and distance winner just over a year ago so conditions clearly suit him and I was happy to go on when nobody else wanted to. He then quickened and ran on strongly to score comfortably."
Identical tactics had earlier worked on Periphery in a 1600m handicap, winning at Jebel Ali for the second meeting in succession having won a similar race over 1800m two weeks ago.

The jockey explained: "He took really well to this surface last time on his dirt debut and I was keen to utilise his stamina. He kept finding more when challenged and was always going to win from about 300m out."

Periphery was not the only horse to win at consecutive Jebel Ali meetings with Latkhaf following up his 1400m maiden victory a fortnight ago by winning a handicap over the same course and distance.

Ridden by Royston Ffrench, he is trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and was chased home last time by stable companion Qannaas who opened his account 30 minutes later in a 1600m maiden. Paul Hanagan was in the saddle for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the opening 1600m conditions contest, was won by AF Kamaash, trained by Ibrahim Al Hadhrami and ridden by Godolphin jockey Silvestre De Sousa, fresh from his win on Hunter`s Light in Thursday`s Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge II at Meydan.