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Prep Winner Haatheq Throws Down Gauntlet Ahead of Jebel Ali Stakes

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Muarrab Grinds Out 1200m Victory Over Local Runner United Colour



Haatheq set out his claim to the Jebel Ali Stakes today (Friday) with a gritty win over Jutland in the official prep race for the track`s Listed highlight, which is to be staged in two weeks` time.

The race, the official feature on the Emirates Airline-sponsored card, was contested over 1800m of Jebel Ali`s dirt.

The Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Haatheq, second in the 2013 Godolphin Mile was made to work for his spot in the winner`s enclosure after sustained pressure from trainer Doug Watson`s Jutland, another runner who performed well on Dubai World Cup day, finishing fourth in the Dubai Gold Cup.

As has so often been the case at Jebel Ali in recent seasons, trainer Musabah Al Muhairi led the way with a treble.

Haatheq was one of three victories for prominent owner, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Connections will be hoping Haatheq can now emulate Treble Jig, the winner of the Jebel Ali Stakes and Mile for the last two seasons and win the Listed Jebel Ali Stakes itself, a race held over the longer trip of 1950m.

He was ridden by Paul Hanagan, Sheikh Hamdan`s retained jockey, and the horse is clearly a favourite. “He has such a great attitude,” said the jockey. “This is probably his optimum conditions but he has won on the Meydan all-weather as well, and on turf in the UK, so we have plenty of options.

“He has opportunities at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, as well as the Jebel Ali Stakes and Mile – without Treble Jig this season the Jebel Ali races look wide open.”

Hanagan then wore the same famous blue and white silks to victory in a 1200m Conditions race, scoring on Muarrab who has now won all three starts this season for Musabah Al Muhairi.
The trainer`s yard is in great form at Jebel Ali, and this afternoon`s racing proved no different with Al Muhairi`s landing a winning treble.

After two easy handicap victories Muarrab had to work a lot harder on this occasion but showed a very winning attitude to fight back having been headed by United Color who finished second in this race last year also.

Hanagan said: “He loves it here at Jebel Ali and that was a good win against some proven and seasoned sprinters. He seems to be improving and we would like to think the Jebel Ali Sprint is a reasonable target.”

Sheikh Hamdan`s Kanaf, like Muarrab trained by Al Muhairi, then returned to winning ways in the following 1400m handicap but Hanagan missed out this time with second jockey, Dane O’Neill, in the saddle.

The jockey said: “We were hoping he could bounce back after a better run last time and he has finally scored again.”

His previous victory was recorded at Jebel Ali in January 2012.

British Champion Jockey, Richard Hughes made his first Jebel Ali start a winning one when partnering Al Muhairi’s Colmar Kid to a comfortable victory in the opening 1600m handicap.

“I rode a winner at Meydan last Thursday and was asked to come here today with Wayne Smith injured,” said Hughes. “I obviously could not have made a better start here and am grateful for the chance.”

Racing concluded with a 1400m maiden which proved a momentous occasion for owner HE Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, his main trainer, Majed Al Jahouri and jockey, Manuel Chaves.

They combined to land the spoils with Fiscal and provide owner and trainer with their first ever Thoroughbred winners, and a first win in the UAE for the jockey.

Assuming Haatheq does take his chance in the Jebel Ali Stakes, he is likely to clash again with the 2011 winner Emmrooz whom he chased home on that occasion.

Emmrooz, trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam for HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, won for the first time since with a polished performance in the 1800m handicap.

James Doyle was in the saddle.