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Featured Stakes Race Draws UAE Dirt Stars To Jebel Ali Friday

Prep Winner Haatheq Goes To Post For Grandstand Stables

The Listed Jebel Ali Stakes, the first of three feature races staged up the famous Jebel Ali hill is the highlight of Friday’s meeting with eight declared for the Dh500,000 contest held over 1950m.

Two of the eight won at the previous meeting, a fortnight ago, when the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Haatheq won the Jebel Ali Stakes Prep over 1800m. Owned by race sponsor, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum whose Shadwell breeding empire supports the vast majority of the track’s feature races, Haatheq is again the choice of retained jockey, Paul Hanagan.

“He goes so well at Jebel Ali,” said Hanagan. “He is very versatile and has also won on the all-weather and turf but he seems to save his very best for the Jebel Ali dirt.

“He has been second in some big races, both here and at Meydan and really deserves to win one. Hopefully this will be it.”

The same owner’s Tanfeeth, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, was third behind Haatheq two weeks ago and will again be ridden by Dane O’Neill.

Dividing the two Sheikh Hamdan runners in that prep was the Doug Watson-trained Jutland, second in this race last year behind Treble Jig but who again has to concede weight to his seven rivals after his victory in last season’s Group 3 Abu Dhabi Championship.

Watson said: “This is his third start of the season and it has always been his first main target. He is in good form at home and should run well but the penalty is not ideal.”

Jutland was also second on his first start of the campaign behind Farrier and the latter will be ridden by stable jockey, Richard Mullen, for his main employer, Satish Seemar. The least exposed runner in the field, he could be the one they all have to beat.

Mullen said: “He is a horse we have always liked and he goes particularly well at Jebel Ali. We tried him back at Meydan on the all-weather last time but he just does not seem the same horse on that surface.

“He is working well and we are hopeful of a big run.”

Haatheq was second in this race in 2011, when chasing home Emmrooz who came home a winner at a fortnight ago. Trained on the track for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he will be ridden by James Doyle.

“It was great he managed to get his head back in front last time and I was always travelling like the winner that day. We took the headgear off and it seemed to work. This is a better race but at least we know conditions are ideal.”

Haatheq was a winner on this card last year, claiming the 1600m Jebel Ali Mile Prep. There is a 1600m Conditions race on the card again this year with the Selvaratnam-trained Forjatt looking the most likely winner after his close third in the National Day Cup on the Abu Dhabi turf on his most recent outing.

He has twice won on the Jebel Ali dirt, both over 1400m, so the surface is not an issue and he will be hard to beat on an afternoon when Selvaratnam also has a big chance with Sholaan in the concluding 1200m handicap.