Muarrab Makes Mark on Jebel Ali Again

Photo: Cedric Lane (

Al Muhairi Sprinter Looks Class Act

or the second Jebel Ali meeting running, the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Muarrab stole the show with an emphatic victory, this time in a 1200m handicap having won a similar race over 1000m a fortnight ago.

Dane O’Neill, retained by the horse’s owner, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was always travelling particularly strongly on the eventual winner, behind a decent early pace originally set by Mujaazef and then by Sholaan.

The latter, third in last season’s Jebel Ali Sprint, is a proven classy sprinter but he had no answer as O’Neill’s mount swept past about 500m out and Sholaan lost second close home to the Doug Watson-trained Oasis Dancer.

O’Neill was clearly impressed and said: “They were going pretty quick up front but not really quick enough for us. I wanted to take my time and produce him late but my hand was forced so strongly was he travelling.

“Wayne Smith won on him last time and told me I would be amazed how quickly I was going without the horse seeming to be exerting himself and he was right! I am not sure where he goes next – he clearly loves Jebel Ali but the Dubai World Cup Carnival has to be a consideration.

“His next task will surely be a tougher one but he merits a step up in grade and he could be exciting.”

The official feature was a 1400m conditions race, generously sponsored by Derrinstown Stud, the Irish arm of Sheikh Hamdan’s breeding operation and won by Mashaaref. Trained by Al Muhairi, for the race sponsor, he initiated a big race double for both with stable jockey Smith aboard.

Smith said: “He had the advantage of race fitness after an excellent run at Meydan last week and that has probably proven the key. There was plenty of early pace on with some proper speedsters in the race and that has really helped us.”

Smith was himself completing a double having steered Safina Ghantoot to victory in the opening 1200m maiden, the only Purebred Arabian race on the card. The winner is trained by rookie handler Helal Al Alawi, who saddled a double at Sharjah last week.

He said: “I am very lucky to have Rod Simpson as part of the team – he has trained winners of the biggest races – and his involvement is massive. He is not so much an assistant – more our teacher!”

Ismail Mohammed has enjoyed a good summer in the UK and wasted little time opening his UAE account for the season with Encipher, his third runner of the local campaign, proving far too good for seven rivals in the 1400m handicap. Harry Bentley was in the saddle.

Champion Jockey Tadgh O’Shea rarely leaves any UAE meeting empty handed and made virtually all on Firstknight for Doug Watson and the Emirates
Entertainment Racing Club in a second 1400m handicap.

Local apprentice Saeed Al Mazrooei took a leaf out of O’Shea’s book and led from start to finish on Mutajare in the concluding 1800m handicap, supplying owner Sheikh Hamdan a third winner on the card.

Ali Rashid Al Raihe trained this one.