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Encipher Scores on Seasonal Debut for Second Consecutive Year

Photo: Cedric Lane (UAEracingpics@gmail.com)

Friday`s official feature at Jebel Ali, a 1400m conditions race, provided the ideal opportunity for Encipher to make a winning seasonal debut, just as he had done 12 months earlier on the same card.

Winner of a course and distance handicap last year for Ismail Mohammed, Encipher is now with Ali Rashid Al Raihe and made all the running under stable jockey, Royston Ffrench.

“He is a nice, smart horse,” said Ffrench. “We were very hopeful coming into this race and keen to be positive on him and the tactics worked well."

“We have had a great start to the season and long may it continue."

The Satish Seemar-trained Spin Cycle, winner of the 2011 Jebel Ali Sprint but winless since, remedied that statistic when making nearly all in the 1200m handicap. Well away, the pair led until halfway before they were headed for about 200m by Sholaan.

However, that rival, giving weight to his six rivals, weakened in the final 200m, eventually finishing fourth, and Mullen’s mount regained the initiative with about 10m to run.

“He ran really well last week at Meydan under Marc Monaghan", said Mullen. “Marc suggested we make more use of him in his races so we were positive from the off today. Fair play to Marc for that tactical insight and he has been proved right."

“We are a team and Marc is a real team player."

"This horse was a very good juvenile in the UK and has always had ability. It is nice to see him back to winning ways.”

Trainer and jockey went on to complete a double with the smooth success of Mawhub in the concluding 1800m handicap.

Champion UK Apprentice Jockey Oisin Murphy opened his UAE account in the second 1400m handicap, driving home Momaris for Dhruba Selvaratnam and racecourse patron, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

It was a third career and course and distance win for the horse who has only ever won in November and at Jebel Ali.

Murphy said: “Obviously it is great to get that first winner on the board and this is a great opportunity for me. Dhruba has some really nice horses this season and I am really looking forward to the rest of the campaign and, obviously, the Dubai World Cup Carnival.”

The Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Art Wave looked certain to make all under apprentice George Buckell in the first of two 1400m handicaps, only to throw the race away by hanging right, then left in the closing stages.

Pat Dobbs and Ostaad, trained by Doug Watson, were the beneficiaries of Art Wave’s errant passage, leading close home.
“He will have needed every yard of that trip,” said Watson. “He is a big horse who disappointed us last week but has bounced back here."

“We will probably step him up in trip next time.”

The only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the opening 1200m maiden, was won by Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea aboard the Helal Al Alawi-trained five-year-old debutant Shojaa’Algharbia.

The pair broke well and led virtually all the way before running out a comfortable winner from six toiling rivals. He was the only runner without previous experience.

“It is never easy to win first time out,” said O’Shea. “For a Purebred Arabian to make a winning debut, especially here up the hill, is some achievement for the trainer and bodes well for the future.”