Sholaan captures the Jebel Ali Sprint Prep to deny Russian Rock a third win in the contest

Sholaan (IRE)
Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Sholaan, trained on the track by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, was the easy winner of the Jebel Ali Sprint Prep, the 1000m highlight of Friday’s card at Jebel Ali.

He was chased home by Russian Rock, seeking a third consecutive win in the race but, having gone to the front 400m out, had no answer to Sholaan, given a confident ride by James Doyle, who swept past 200m from home.

A 1200m course winner at the previous meeting, this was Sholaan’s second UAE victory and Selvaratnam said: “That was a good performance and he was also very impressive over 1200m at the last meeting. That is probably his optimum trip but he has a lot of speed and they went fast today which helped him.

“We will bring him back for the Sprint itself in two weeks and are hoping he will be able to run on Dubai World Cup night in the Al Quoz Sprint.”

Champion Trainer, Ernst Oertel saddled Touch Gold to win the opening 1600 handicap, making virtually every yard of the running under apprentice Daniel Muscutt.

It was a second win on the horse for Muscutt, who also scored on him at Meydan two starts previously, and the young jockey had a most willing partner who fought off determined challenges from Art Wave, Hacienda and finally runner-up Kahruman.

Muscutt said: “This horse is so brave and really fought hard to win that. I was able to get a reasonably easy lead and was always pretty happy. A few tried to pass but he was not going to be headed.”

Satish Seemar provided three of the eight runners in a second 1600m handicap and the trio promptly filled the first three places with stable jockey, Richard Mullen, landing the spoils on Tiz Now Tiz Then. He was chased home by Pat Cosgrave, on Warsaw, with apprentice Marc Monaghan aboard the third, Royal Revival.

Mullen said: “We thought all three could run well and luckily I picked the right one. He won over this course and distance at the last meeting and goes really well on this surface.

“It is a great result for the yard.”

The 1200m handicap was won by Firstknight, landing his third course handicap of the season but first at the trip having twice won over 1400m for trainer Doug Watson and stable jockey, Pat Dobbs.

Never far off the pace, Dobbs was able to open up a decisive lead 300m out and they were just able to hold on from a fast finishing Gobooll.

Dobbs said: “He loves it here and I was keen to get to that far rail as he seems to prefer having it to run against. The runner-up was closing but he stuck his head out and fought bravely.”

Kanaf went one better than Firstknight, landing his fourth Jebel Ali course and distance victory of the season when landing the 1400m handicap under Paul Hanagan, riding for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, Kanaf had to fight hard to deny Kaiss, with Hanagan explaining: “We hit the front going well but the runner-up definitely headed us 100m out and my fellow has had to really battle back. It was a very game effort and to win four this season is some feat.”

The finale, a second 1400m handicap, produced a thrilling finish with Dohasa making a gallant effort to make all under Tadhg O’Shea, only to be headed 50m out by Enery, himself denied in the last stride by Need To Know.

Royston Ffrench rode the winner for Ali Rashid Al Raihe.